Monetising a big idea

You might think YouTube has been with us for decades. For many it’s become an integral part of our daily online existence.

Yet YouTube has only been in existence since 2005. In a relatively short 10 years it has become one of the most important, most powerful, persuasive communication forces to influence both our personal and professional lives.

The YouTube story is that pretty much like Google, Microsoft and EBay. It started with modest means in a home garage. A group of young whiz kids, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim all met when they were working another for another online giant – PayPal.

Apparently one night these guys were tying to send a video clip via email and frustration got the better of them. In a brainstorming session they tossed ideas around and came up with the concept of a video sharing platform

These digital tech smart guys again affirmed the old marketing mantra, “Look for a problem, then find a solution”.

St. Valentine’s Day augured well for the group. On Feb 14, 2005 the YouTube trademark and domain was registered by these young innovative techies and in May of the same year, its new site went live. It was an instant success. In the music world’s favourite term, it was “a monster hit.”

Through word of mouth the news of the novel site spread quickly.

The young founders needed funding to keep the servers running since the great number of videos that were being uploaded required huge bandwidth.

in April of 2006 the financial muscle came from Sequoia Capital and other sources to the tune of $11.5 million. This allowed the group to add exciting new features to the platform. Whilst it fuelled YouTube’s expansion it still wasn’t making any money. Nor did they have any money to spend on advertising.


Their next move was to make it easy for viewers to do the promoting. They created very short (easy to email) links to videos and had a feature called “tell a friend.” They also made it easy for video clips to be embedded in the profiles of social media networks and other sites, all branded and linked back to the YouTube website. The voting feature on the videos produced a sense of community as well as the user profile pages.


On October 9, 2007 search engine giant, Google, bought the YouTube business for $1.65 billion dollars in Google stock. From nothing but ingenious ideas and a vision, these YouTube techies parlayed their idea to $1.65 billion.


What problem can you solve?





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