The Invention of YouTube ▶️

Henry Belcaster
Henry Belcaster
3 min read

Morning YouTuber!

Let’s take it way back today.

  • To when Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon were in their golden era.
  • Or when flip phones were all the rage.
  • Or when you could upload a YouTube video titled ‘Me at the zoo’ and get 283 MILLION views.

Okay, that wasn’t dumb luck though.

That’s the first video ever uploaded to YouTube.

And that random guy with an oversized coat and coiffed hair implying elephants have huge d*cks?

Well that’s YouTube founder Jawed [pronounced JAH-wed lol].

And when Jawed was starting YouTube with his buds, it had nothing to do with video at all.

Just like every startup in the early 2000s, apparently (read our Facebook post), YouTube was originally designed for dating.

So it’s 2002.

And we’ve got these 3 friends working at PayPal.

We’ve already met Jawed-the-elephant-guy.

So here’s the other two – Steve Chen & Chad Hurley:

Why aren’t you guys doing anything?

Very proactive of you, okay.

But Steve starts to get curious in his free time.

Barreling on.

Steve had discovered this hot new website – HOT or NOT.

Btw I just love the ‘How it works’ section at the top:

  1. Decide if HOT or NOT
  2. Rate that b*tch
  3. Repeat

Ahhh, 2002.

Okay, pause.

This is actually a bigger deal than I’m putting on.

Because in 2002, HOT or NOT was revolutionary.

To understand this, we need to look at a couple other websites from that time period.

Those are real websites, btw.

Any idea what’s going on?

Look closely.

No, not the neon fonts and sick backgrounds.

In 2002, every website was static.

Content was added to the site whenever the site owner felt like adding content.

Or in caveman:

This was a one-way street.

Websites didn’t do anything unless the site owner wanted to publish something for the world to read.

But HOT or NOT??

HOT or NOT was dynamic.

Users uploaded the content to the site. Not the site owner.

And Steve realized this was a game changer for the ~world wide web~.

That was the first YouTube idea – post videos to get hot dates.

Think I’m kidding?

Their slogan?

Tune In, Hook Up.


Two problems though:

  1. Nobody uploaded videos of themselves. It was too awkward.
  2. There literally wasn’t enough bandwidth on the internet to play videos.

So the boys head back to the drawing board.

Problem #1 was f*cked.

But problem #2 had a lucky break.

Remember pesky pop-ups like this?

Well it turns out Flash Player made video on the internet go around.

And Adobe had just released Flash Player 8 – a free plugin that would shrink videos down to playable size on the internet.

So Jawed – with Flash Player 8 and a camera in hand – heads to the zoo.

Jawed changed the game.

He showed the internet that YouTube could be a place where you posted miscellaneous personal content, not dating material.

And everyone followed.

Stay Cute,
Henry & Dylan 🌈

P.S if you enjoyed this lesson, forward it to a friend.

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P.P.S Click below to watch another crazy invention video 👇


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