Image Credits – Google

The popularity of YouTube has been growing exponentially since the service started. People still feel nostalgic when watching the first-ever YouTube video. The first video uploaded on the YouTube was from Jawed Karim, YouTube’s co-founder. He is a software engineer with roots in Bangladesh and Germany. He built a video-sharing platform, which received billions of visitors daily and grew into one of the leading platforms for video content.

He also became the first to share his video on YouTube with the title “Me at the Zoo” on April 23, 2005. The video has received more than 260 million views so far. When working for PayPal, Karim met Steven Chen and Chad Hurley, who are now his fellow founders. He worked with them to design anti-fraud detection software and build other vital components of YouTube. Keep reading to learn more about the first YouTube video.

Me at the Zoo: Jawed Karim’s first YouTube video

The video is still on YouTube featuring YouTube’s developer Jawed Karim, who can be spotted with a group of elephants at the San Diego Zoo. It is a sweet and short 18-second clip where he talks about the elephants and their large trunks, which amazes him.

He shows himself in the video and the elephants behind him. The video went on the platform a month prior to its beta launch. Its inside story is a bit chaotic, as the team shared how they shifted from the idea of launching a dating site to a billion-dollar video-sharing industry.

Karim’s first video was not like the traditional video, which is commonly seen these days. Instead of saying “Like, Comment, and Subscribe”, he ended the video saying “That’s pretty much all there is to say”. The developers sold YouTube within a year of uploading the first video to Google at $1.65 billion. Since then the platform has snowballed into the leading video-sharing site online.

Karim’s video received millions of comments and likes. When talking about how the San Diego Zoo feels about the first YouTube video of Karim, they said how grateful they felt that the cofounder chose their place to shoot a video that went viral on YouTube and is still alive on the platform after so many years of uploading.

The media described the video as poor quality, which is understandable, as there were limited editing software or filters available at that time. However, the first video of Karim showed the public what was about to come on YouTube.

The inspiration behind YouTube

Initially, sharing all kinds of videos from all over the world sounded too bold and difficult to achieve. So, they decided to go for a dating platform instead. However, the idea failed terribly, leading the co-founders and the team to turn it into a video-sharing platform. The firm was registered on Valentine’s Day in 2005 by three former PayPal employees (mentioned above).

When talking about the inspiration behind starting YouTube, the developers said they wanted to share their videos from the dinner party but did not have any platform. Karim said that the idea of launching a video-sharing platform came into their minds upon realizing there was no way to watch the 2004 tsunami video or Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction.

So, they launched YouTube that served as a channel for people to share their basic videos in all genres. YouTube has its headquarters in San Bruno, California, America. When it launched in the beta version, YouTube was attracting around 30,000 visitors a day. The platform was officially launched in December 2005. Its user base grew significantly after it was officially introduced to the public.

The platform received around 2 million views daily, and the number quickly exceeded 25 million views every day by March 2006. By this time, users started uploading around 20,000 videos to the platform daily. The number kept growing until it reached 100 million views a day. Neither its popularity nor the number of videos uploaded on the platform showed signs of slowing down.

Why was YouTube sold?

You might wonder what made the three co-founders sell a well-performing and consistently growing platform to Google. The growth of YouTube resulted in hundreds of videos uploaded daily. However, this created a problem for the company. They needed more broadband connections and computers to keep the platform alive and cater to the growing users’ needs.

At that time, they did not achieve success in commercializing, leading the developers to look for a potential buyer that could purchase YouTube and meet its operating cost. In the same year that YouTube launched, Google uploaded its video to the search engine but did not receive the desired traffic. As a result, the company bought YouTube for $1.65 billion a year later. Google could have combined the two platforms but it decided to keep YouTube’s operation similar to before.

To prevent copyright infringement, Google talked to many companies that would allow the company to upload songs and videos without facing a copyright infringement lawsuit. It even invested a lot of money to get the deal. Google also had to remove many copyrighted content from its platform. Two years after its acquisition of YouTube, Google signed a deal with MGM that enabled the company to upload movies, series, and other long-form videos on the platform. It also made broadcasts free while the ads ran alongside the videos.


In those 18 seconds, Karim captured the attention of millions. It became so popular that his video is still viewed by hundreds of thousands of people on YouTube today. Karim has also criticized Google’s way of running the business by using the comment section. He updated his video description saying that he couldn’t comment on the videos any longer, as he didn’t want a Google+ account, showing how he was unsatisfied with Google’s decision to make Google+ compulsory for those who wanted to comment on YouTube.

One thing that has not changed since the launch till now is the increasing popularity of YouTube. Many singers, influencers, content creators, and businesses have used the platform to increase their reach and conversions.


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