Three Programmers Turned a Dating Website Right into a $1,650,000,000 Product in 2 Years Beating Google and Microsoft Chad Hurley starting What were his first days in California like? Confinity abandoned its initial idea Wanted to construct something What was the Web like in 2005? Bought a website that modified hundreds of thousands of lives A dating-focused video site Yahoo buying Flickr created a conflict Competition from big tech giants What did YouTube do to beat these tech corporations? Why did YouTube fail as a dating website? Disclosure Do you desire to read more such interesting stories? Level Up Coding



Back in 2005, the Web was not what it looks like today.

Before 2005, people had just began using the Web to:

  • Communicate with one another using Gmail.
  • Play basic browser-based games.
  • Share blogs, photos and music.

But an enormous component of what the web would seem like in the long run was missing.


The demand for videos was increasing.

Three friends desired to do something big with videos. They later ended up constructing the most important social media network on the earth, YouTube.

The history of just isn’t straightforward. It’s filled with ups and downs. Let’s see how three programming buddies built it.

Chad Hurley is born in Reading, Pennsylvania.

In his childhood, he was fascinated with the humanities.

When he went to highschool, his interest began to shift towards computers and electronics.

Still, he decided to pursue a level in arts in college.

In 1999, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in High-quality Arts from Indiana University in Pennsylvania.

After ending university, he took a wierd job.

Odd job results in decent design work

Immediately after completing his undergraduate degree, Hurley took a job where he used to assemble web pages.

He also did some design work for web sites.

During this time, Hurley used to live along with his parents. He wasn’t making the sum of money he desired to make.

He was on the lookout for a recent opportunity.

Someday while reading a magazine, he discovered an organization called Confinity. This company was on the lookout for a designer.

He sent in his resume and heard from them in only at some point. The corporate desperately needed a designer.

He was asked to come back for an interview the subsequent day.

Within the interview, Hurley was asked to design a logo for his or her recent payment service, PayPal. He designed a good logo. The people there liked his logo and hired him immediately.

Once I was reading Hurley’s story, I used to be really surprised at how he was hired by the corporate.

If this hiring was done in today’s time, he would should undergo an extended process.

First, you’ve got to do a phone interview. Within the phone interview, you’ve got to reply basic coding questions.

After you pass the phone interview, your actual interview can be scheduled.

This interview can be done in 4 rounds.

In the primary three rounds, you’ve got to unravel questions on data structures and within the last round, you’ve got to design a logo for a service.

Getting hired by tech corporations today is way different than it was.

Once he was hired by Confinity. He flew to Northern California.

His time in California was hard.

He needed to sleep on the ground.

He kept sleeping on the ground until he found a broker to assist him find an apartment where no referral was needed.

It wasn’t like only Hurley was in this case.

Almost every programmer who was hired for the primary time has to cope with this case.

In those days, programmers used to hustle hard initially. They don’t have any selection but to do that.

Today Web corporations have a whole lot of money.

They offer you a relocation bonus and other bonuses, but this was not true within the early 2000s.

Made a recent programmer friend named Steve Chen

After joining Confinity, he meets a young coder named Steve Chen.

Steve hadn’t even graduated from college. He had dropped out of faculty a semester before graduating.

Steve got here to the US on the age of 8.

He was born in Taipei, Taiwan. When he moved to the US, he didn’t know the right way to speak to others in English.

After moving, he spent most of his time learning English. Later, on the age of 15, he moved to a boarding school.

This school helped him turn out to be fluent in English.

How Chen got a job at Confinity

As Chen grew older, he became fascinated with computer science.

Later he joined the University of Illinois to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

But then he discovered that every one the pc classes were boring. He began to miss classes often.

He hated all his computer assignments.

All of the programmers he met at his university were non-spoiled coders, but Chen liked working with smart and bratty programmers.

When he was in college he was in touch with one among the founders of Confinity named Max Levchin.

Levchin desired to hire Chen to work at Confinity because he was a fairly smart guy.

When he joined Confinity, on the primary day he met other programmers who enjoyed playing video games. The entire time he was in college, he desired to be a component of that type of group.

He liked hanging out with programmers who used to work for Confinity.

Chen was the sort of programmer who used to work late with cappuccinos and cigarettes. He used to take programming shortcuts and used Python as his most important programming language.

He used Python since it was open source and maintained by programmers all around the world similar to him.

Jawed Karim

Jawed Karim was one other coder from the University of Illinois.

He was as smart as Chen.

Like Steve Chen, he dropped out of faculty before graduating.

On the University, Karim falls in love with the Web. For him, all the pieces was possible through the Web.

He spent a whole lot of time creating products at his university. He invented an MP3 Voyeur, a file-sharing service that students used to tear music online.

In college, he accomplished an internship at Silicon Graphics.

In those early years of the web, it was hard for any startup to survive.

Latest businesses were getting began and closed in a matter of months.

Every startup needed money to survive. Startups were able to do whatever it took to survive.

Confinity was like all other startup. They’ve to seek out a approach to make cash and attract users quickly.

Initially, when Confinity began, it was in the safety software. The safety software did not attract a lot of users.

They abandoned that concept and went straight to mobile payments.

The corporate by some means survived the dot com crash. The corporate name was modified from Confinity to PayPal.

Paypal’s business model was successful and so they went public. The whole company was later bought by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion.

A lot of the smart people left the corporate

After the eBay acquisition, many of the smart people in the corporate left.

A few of them began recent corporations and a few of them joined big investment firms.

You’ll have heard the term “the Paypal Mafia” referring to this group of individuals.

After the acquisition, Chad Hurley left the corporate right after the deal was closed.

Steve worked with Paypal for a number of months. But then, when the corporate began to expand, he began to hate the culture of the corporate.

The culture went from programming cool stuff to specializing in expanding and getting cash. This forced Steve to depart Paypal.

When Chad left PayPal, he wanted to construct something big.

He had no idea what he was going to construct.

This has also happened to me. A number of years ago, once I graduated from my university, I had no idea what to do. I used to be fascinated with various things equivalent to writing, programming, startups, disruptive technologies and entrepreneurship.

I had no idea what to do exactly.

I only knew one thing of course: I need to do something that may help me directly impact hundreds of thousands of lives.

After much thought, I select to jot down and program.

This was because writing would allow me to explore things like entrepreneurship, startups, and disruptive technologies. Programming would help me earn money through which I could write peacefully and without panicking.

Now let’s get back to the story.

The 12 months was 2005, and Chad desperately desired to do something.

With one among his friends, he began a laptop bag manufacturing business.

After spending a number of months in that business, he discovered that all the marketplace for physical products is extremely competitive. Becoming a longtime player in that market will take years.

Even after years of investment in case your product managed to turn out to be a well known brand, the margin in that business was low.

The seek for a big market began

He quickly realized that there just isn’t a whole lot of money in laptop bags.

He began on the lookout for something that will help him make good money.

Since he was already a graphic designer, he knew one thing of course: the large money was on the Web, not in physical products.

He had two friends, Jawed Karim and Steve Chen, who also desired to earn a whole lot of money.

For those who look back on the history of the Web.

Around 2005, the Web was in its early stages.

People have began using the web for entertainment purposes.

Things like online gaming began to grow. World of Warcraft had an enormous following and developers were attempting to create the subsequent great games.

Together with online games, people used the Web to download music. Many hackers used services like Napster to download free music.

People had also began using the Web for communication purposes.

Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail were used for official communication. More people were using Yahoo Messenger to speak with their friends.

Online communities were beginning to get big and mainstream.

In 2005 there was neither Twitter nor Facebook.

Google was there, but its search results were still not accurate. Google was growing rapidly and with each passing day, its dominance within the search industry was growing exponentially.

Massive discussions

As I discussed earlier, these three programmers wanted to construct something big.

But that they had no idea what to construct.

For months, these people brainstormed ideas about what Web business they need to start that will get huge user traction.

They used to have all these discussions at Chad’s house or a close-by cafe.

Their discussion revolved around three things.

The primary was about blogging web sites, social networks like Friendster, and dating web sites.

A specific dating website

These three friends used to have a whole lot of arguments.

They were at all times talking a few product called Hot or Not.

This website allows a user to upload photos of themselves or anyone else and other people can vote on the attractiveness of the photo.

Of those three programmers, Jawed Karim knew James Hong, one among the co-founders of the Hot or Not website. He knew that the founders of the web site were making decent money.

The three of them thought the thought was great.

The HotorNot website was a fantastic motivation for the three coders.

They decided to make an internet site allowing people to share their videos with others.

Their first goal was to determine on the name of the web site.

On Valentine’s Day, the three of them worked late to provide you with a reputation for his or her website. They desired to name their website which represented personal television.

If we take a look at the history of television, it was known by various names, equivalent to “televisor” or “telly”. As soon as television became popular, people began to make use of the word “boob tube” or just “tube” in slang to seek advice from television.

These programmers picked up the words “tube” and “you”, which represented personal television.

They combined each words in other ways. They finally got here up with the word YouTube.

After they googled this name, it returned no results. Ultimately, they purchased the domain name.

What were they attempting to do with

These three developers weren’t like me.

Three or 4 years ago I used to be hooked on big, perfect launches.

If I purchased a website name to launch an internet site.

I used to spend months launching essentially the most perfect website. Before launching the web site, I would love the web site to look skilled.

I’d invest as much as possible to get the appropriate domain name, color scheme, logo, etc.

But then I came upon that whether you’re an indie developer or a gaggle of three or 4 developers, it’s at all times higher to launch the web site as quickly as possible. This website must have all the fundamental features. Launching recent features and making the web site look perfect ought to be done at later stages.

These coders knew from the start that it just isn’t mandatory to make the web site more attractive for a launch. They wanted this website to seem like it was developed by a pair of fellows.

Web sites like hotornot and Friendster gave them the inspiration to begin These web sites didn’t look skilled in any respect and so they were all successful. This was the explanation why they wanted YouTube to not look skilled in any respect.

They thought that if the web site looks skilled, it is going to scare people away. They believed that individuals wouldn’t try an internet site if all the pieces on it looks perfect.

The one thing they focused on was the benefit of use. They desired to design the web site in a way that even their mom could easily use it without having any problems.

After they began constructing Youtube, they wanted it to be a dating site.

They were only focused on girls and boys who wanted to make use of an internet site that might help them get dates.

The HotorNot website, which was one among their inspirations, allowed people to rate one another based on how attractive their faces were. It was a secret dating website that doesn’t claim to be within the dating area of interest.

With YouTube, these three planned that in the event that they could create a dating-focused video site, it might get a whole lot of people’s attention.

A lot of the single guys and girls in those days were focused on finding the appropriate partner.

The role of the digital camera in videos

Entering the video area of interest was the appropriate decision in line with them.

It was due to the digital cameras.

Digital cameras from that era have only just begun to support digital video recording. Since people can easily record video with their cameras, it was exciting for corporations to speculate their resources within the video area of interest.

It wasn’t like they were the one people attempting to capture the video market. There have been other small web sites and huge corporations that desired to go after the video area of interest.

A web site called allowed people to host videos and viewers could rate them.

Three of them decided that YouTube’s focus can be on the dating segment.

After this, they began working to construct the primary version of YouTube.

Chad Hurley focused on the design of YouTube.

Steve Chen and Jawed Karim focused on writing the code.

While they were constructing YouTube, Yahoo announced that it might acquire Flickr. Flickr was an internet site created by Stewart Butterfield and his team.

In 2002, Stewart and his team were developing a game called Game Neverending. On account of the dotcom crash of 2000, his game failed to lift money from investors. This forced Stewart to pivot to something else.

With all of the resources available, Stewart built a recent website called Flickr.

This website allowed users to upload and store photos without cost.

To earn money, this website sold pro accounts. Some free users converted their accounts to pro accounts. With the professional account, a user could upload greater than 200 photos and it also had an analytics feature.

Yahoo bought the Flickr website for $20 Million.

What was the conflict?

Once these three came upon that Yahoo had bought Flickr for 20 million dollars.

They began to rethink their strategy.

Chad and Jawed began to think that their approach ought to be like Flickr.

They each wanted YouTube to be a set of various kinds of personal videos.

They began debating whether or not they should deal with dating or personal video collection.

In the event that they only goal the dating market, they may only goal the younger audience on the lookout for a date. With their deal with personal video collection, they may construct something like Flickr.

The Flickr website was utilized by creative professionals like artists, singers, photographers, and others. By targeting this market, they may reach a unique set of audiences.

Even after a whole lot of debating, they failed to achieve a conclusion.

Ultimately, they decided to figure this out later within the journey. On the time, they simply desired to deal with constructing YouTube for the audience that they had previously considered.

They built YouTube for young individuals who were trying to seek out their date through online services.

Google began as a search engine within the 12 months 1998.

Later, within the 12 months 2004, Google launched its own email service, Gmail. Also, Google announced a free digital map of the Earth.

Now the corporate desired to capture the video market.

What did Google do to capture this market early?

Google understood the importance of video early.

They desired to do something early to own a segment of the video market.

To do that, Google put out a call for individuals who wanted to indicate their videos to random people.

Google asked people to submit their amateur videos. The corporate told folks that it is going to host these videos somewhere for others to see.

Just by making this call, Google made its intent clear.

You could have to bear in mind that Google had a whole lot of money in comparison with these guys who were constructing YouTube on their very own. Not only this Google had sensible programmers on its team. These programmers could construct a YouTube in a matter of a number of months.

Nobody would have dared to compete against Google. In the event that they desired to crush any company, they may have easily done it.

Google had control over all of the searches that were done on the net.

Our three friends who were creating YouTube got scared and commenced excited about giving up on their dream.

Microsoft was also in the image

It wasn’t like Google was their only competitor.

Microsoft also had a video site.

Microsoft released the updated version of its Windows Media Player on September 2, 2004. This player was pre-installed on Windows.

Users didn’t even should download and install it.

With this update, Microsoft has simplified the user interface of its media player. Also, with Microsoft’s media player, you may buy and download music together with videos from sites like Napster and others.

On the time, Microsoft was the most important player in the pc software industry. They’d more cash than Google and had their very own operating system, Windows.

Just to offer you a transparent picture.

In 2004, Google’s revenue was $3.2 billion, while Microsoft’s revenue for a similar 12 months was about $36.8 billion.

For those who take a look at the web income, Microsoft’s revenue was $8.2 billion and Google only had $399 million.

Every major tech company in 2005 knew that video was going to be a giant market, whether it was Google or Microsoft. There have been 100 other startups that desired to make some type of video-based product.

There have been lots of of startups competing with one another.

Three friends knew early on that in the event that they were to separate YouTube from other services, that they had to do something different.

They investigated a lot of their competitors.

All of their competitors, be it Google or Microsoft, allowed the video to be shown on their web sites, but they don’t have any way of allowing these videos to be played on other web sites.

It signifies that if people hosted their videos using the services of those corporations, these videos can only be played on their company’s web sites. People should visit a selected website to observe a video.

The YouTube team did things in another way.

They found out a approach to allow videos to be played anywhere on the net.

For this they used Flash.

Flash was a software system used for rendering text, audio, and video. The small team at YouTube began using Flash, and with its support, the YouTube player can now be embedded on other web sites.

This was a fantastic victory for them.

Just through the use of this software rendering system, the trio outperformed all their competitors.

The trio should work hard to make the Flash work. Playing videos was the simple part in Flash, but getting them to sync with sound wasn’t easy.

They tweaked the code multiple times simply to be sure that that each the videos and the sound synced up accurately.

Once all the pieces was working properly and the code worked accurately, Jawed launched the primary video on

The primary video was released on April 23, 2005, titled “Me on the Zoo” by Jawed Karim.

What did they do for marketing the dating website?

Now as I write this story, I’m smiling once I see the word marketing related to the name

It’s quite strange.

When YouTube launched in 2005, nobody on the founding team would have thought that this thing we’re promoting on various web sites would at some point turn out to be the most important video marketing platform.

Currently, YouTube is the most important video marketing platform on the earth. People use YouTube to discuss literally all the pieces. Whether it’s space, cars or programming.

But you’ve got to keep in mind that YouTube was just like all other site that needed promotion in some unspecified time in the future.

When YouTube launched in 2005, its slogan was “Tune in, Hook Up”.

YouTube was launched as a dating site. For any dating website to work, you would like a whole lot of women’s profiles. Identical to every other site, YouTube also needed a ton of videos of girls on the lookout for romantic partners.

To advertise YouTube, Steve used Craigslist. He wrote in a Craigslist post that when you are a sexy woman or man between the ages of 18 and 45, post short videos to earn $20.

One pivot modified the entire game

On the post that Steve wrote asking for videos, nobody responded.

There was no growth and nobody was uploading short videos even to earn $20.

The trio knew something had to alter.

They’d a Plan B which I discussed above. They modified their slogan from “Tune In, Hook Up” to “Broadcast yourself”.

YouTube became an internet site where anyone can post videos of any kind.

These three friends kept adding recent features to the web site, like leaving comments and recent buttons to send links to others.

They introduced a system that showed people more videos on the appropriate side of the page. This manner, people watched more videos in total.

For those who take a look at the dating scene in 2005, there have been a whole lot of dating web sites.

These web sites were already helping people find romantic partners.

These web sites had matching algorithms and messaging systems together with profile pages.

Alternatively, YouTube was quite different from a dating website.

Yes, the founders called it a dating website. But was it really a dating website?

I don’t think YouTube has done anything to even be a dating website.

Ideally, a dating website must have a lower barrier to entry, especially for ladies. If a dating website has number of girls, the boys will mechanically come.

The issue with YouTube was that girls needed a digital camera to record their videos. Most young girls and boys didn’t have digital cameras because they were young and cameras were expensive.

For those who take a look at the value of a digital camera within the 12 months 2005, it was around $150–$250. This price range on the time was high for a young audience.

Also, other dating web sites allowed users to interact with one another by having features like private messages.

But YouTube didn’t have features that allow people talk over with one another.

Dating web sites used to match people based on their shared interests, but YouTube didn’t match individuals with one another.

These were a few of the the explanation why YouTube failed as a dating website.

Myspace as a marketing channel

In 2005, children and young people used to spend their time on MySpace.

My space had about fourteen to fifteen million visitors a month.

It was probably the most popular web sites in the US.

To grow YouTube, more people were needed.

On Myspace there have been various kinds of content equivalent to blogs, music and photos. One thing that was not present on Myspace was the videos.

Steve thought we should always use videos on Myspace.

Since YouTube was using Flash, this allowed YouTube to run its videos directly on all Myspace pages.

You don’t want to go to YouTube to view the videos. You’ll be able to do it directly on Myspace pages.

Now, due to this feature, people on MySpace began watching YouTube videos. In addition they began uploading their personal, vacation, and other amazing videos.

With this YouTube began to grow exponentially.

The founders stopped promoting the web site after a while. It was all happening by itself. The one job of the programmers involved with YouTube was to never let it crash at any point.

Soon, the videos began receiving 100,000 views a day.

Google acquires YouTube

After a number of months, YouTube’s user base grew to an unimaginable extent.

Nobody expected YouTube to grow so fast.

On November 13, 2006, Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion.

On the time, YouTube had around 50 million registered users and was getting around 100 million views per day.

Chad Hurley and Steve Chen received $345 million each in Google shares.

Jawed Karim received $64 million in Google shares.

I actually have used AI to calmly edit this story. This story is written by me and has not been generated by AI.


What are your thoughts on this topic?
Let us know in the comments below.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Share this article

Recent posts

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x