Happy B’day Chad Hurley: The Co-Founder Of The World’s Largest Video Library

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An American man who started his first Internet company in his 20s, and within two years, the world’s biggest Internet company bought it for a whopping $1.65 billion. Today his company has become the first online destination people think of when they need to watch or upload a video. During his first job interview, he was asked to show his designing skills, so he designed the company’s logo, which was used for more than a decade. That company has grown into a multinational financial technology corporation. Meet Chad Hurley who created a website that changed the online world in 2006.

“I try to absorb all the types of style and design. I don’t try and restrict my thinking. I enjoy the old and the new. You need that broad perspective to create something new.”

Born: 24 January 1977, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

Net Worth: ~$400 million

Failures that came hand in hand with achievements never seemed to be a speed breaker for Chad, as he always pushed his limits and tried his hands on different ventures. On his 46th birthday today, we bring a few interesting yet less known facts about Chad Hurley, the co-founder of YouTube:

  • Early Life: Chad is the second of three children of Don and Joan Hurley. Since childhood, he has been interested in the arts, but later during his time at Twin Valley High School, he developed interest in technology, computers and electronic media. He was a standout runner for Twin Valley High School’s cross-country program, which won two of its PIAA State championships in 1992 and 1994 while he was a member. He was also a member of the Technology Student Association. In 1999, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
  • Chad designed PayPal Logo: Not many people are aware of the fact that PayPal’s first logo, which they used for more than a decade, was actually designed by Chad during his job interview at the company. Chad joined PayPal as the company’s first user-interface designer. He was the 15th employee of the company. While working at PayPal, he met Jawed Karim and Steve Chen, the future co-founders of YouTube.

I think the success around any product is really about subtle insights. You need a great product and a bigger vision to execute against, but it’s really those small things that make the big difference.

  • Birth of YouTube: One day Chad Hurley and Steve Chen realised that they had no way of sharing the large video online that they’d shot at the event. The video files were too large to email, and uploading them to the internet would take several hours. This problem sparked a new idea; Hurley and Chen brought in Karim, and the trio registered the domain YouTube.com in January 2005. They chose to keep the user interface and experience as simple as possible by allowing viewers to watch the videos without any hassles like registration or download any special software.

If you’re creating an entertainment site, you want the content to be the star.

  • Success: To make YouTube what it is today, a team of ten people, including Chad and Chen, worked tirelessly without receiving any pay. The first-ever video uploaded on YouTube was “Me at the zoo“, by one of the co-founders Jawed Karim, uploaded on 23 April 2005. Wihin two years of its launch, in October 2006, Google has bought an 18-month-old video-sharing platform for $1.65 billion. This was the one of the largest acquisitions at the time. Today, YouTube has over 2 billion monthly logged-in users.
  • When Google bought YouTube, Chad Hurley received the largest share of Google among the three founders – Hurley, Chen and Karim. Hurley’s share was worth $345.6 million at Google’s February 7, 2007 closing stock price of $470.01. He received 694,087 Google shares directly and another 41,232 shares in a trust. YouTube’s other two co-founders, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, received 625,366 shares and 137,443 shares, respectively valued at $326.2 million and $64.6 million.
  • Hurley stepped down as CEO of YouTube in October 2010, but he remained an advisor to the company.
  • “Knowing everything about the product is not necessary, but one should always work targeting the needs of the community and always be prepared for the change in design”, Chad advises the budding young entrepreneurs.
  • As a part of the experiment for Chad and Chen, the duo acquired Delicious in 2011, a bookmaking website, under their venture AVOS. But later AVOS sold Delicious to Science Inc. as it wanted to focus on just one product. The duo also founded ‘Zeen’- an online magazine making service but was later shut down.
  • Chen and Chad split: After 15 years of working together finally this billion dollar partnership of Chad and Chen broke and Chad alone founded his close to the heart venture Mixbit in August 2013 (an easy way to create the edited video). According to Steve Chen, it was Chad’s idea to turn Avos into MixBit even before the inception of YouTube.
  • Failed Investments: Men’s clothing range Hlaska and investment in Formula One team proved to be his biggest mistakes. The Team US F1 is one of the new entrants in 2010 Formula One automobile racing. On March 2, 2010, the Team US F1 was shut down.
  • Other Investments: Chad Hurley is a part-owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Football Club of of Major League Soccer. In January 2021, he also invested in Leeds United, an English Premier League football club.
  • Marriage: Chad Hurley’s first wife was Kathy Clark. She was the daughter of James Clark, the legendary Silicon Valley entrepreneur who founded or co-founded three multibillion-dollar companies: Silicon Graphics, Netscape and Healtheon. In 2012, they filed for their divorce. Hurley remarried to Elise Walden in 2020.

When I started running cross-country and track in school, literally every race was a failure.

The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from the Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or a renewed leaders who moved the industry with their exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian AssangeSir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.


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