Interview: YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley

ITP.net’s sister site Arabian Business sits down with video streaming site entrepreneur

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Interview: YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley Hurley, on YouTube’s rapid rise: It just took on a life of its own. (Getty Images)
By  Courtney Trenwith Published  November 16, 2014

As Chad Hurley and I prepare to sit down for our interview, an Arab woman interrupts to ask for a photograph. "It's for my daughter, who loves you," she says.

Hurley is no model and he has never graced the silver screen but at a science and technology conference in Qatar he is worshipped with the same fervour as an A-list celebrity.

The 37-year-old is idolised for helping to create one of the internet's greatest phenomena - video-sharing website YouTube. The website became one of the top ten in its first year of operation and is now among the three most used globally, with 2 billion hits a day. That is equivalent to one in every three people watching a video on YouTube every day.

"It just took on a life of its own," Hurley says when asked when he realised that he and two mates had created such a monster. "We were only tracking or preparing for our growth to top out at about 30 million views a day. We thought if we were to achieve that we would have created something phenomenal, but we easily blew through those numbers and ever since have been trying to [keep up].

"Even to this day I don't have a chance to reflect and maybe appreciate the full effects that YouTube has had."

YouTube's impact has been colossal in many ways. Not only can family, friends and businesses share content but it has been responsible for the discovery of musicians, including Canadian singer/songwriter Justin Bieber, who is now one of the world's top-selling artists.

Videos as simple as a cat going crazy or a catchy tune have gone viral to hundreds of millions of viewers globally - in as little as 24 hours.

Eventually, as millions of videos were uploaded onto YouTube each month, the immense popularity became almost uncontrollable for Hurley and partner Steve Chen (a third co-founder, Jawed Karim, had already departed). The pals sold their baby to another internet giant, Google, for $1.76bn, in June 2006.

Hurley took the largest cut, estimated to be $450m at the time.

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