x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

YouTube founder-entrepreneur defines himself as a problem solver

An interview with Chad Hurley, the founder and former chief executive of YouTube.

Chad Hurley, 36, is the founder and former chief executive of YoutTube. In 2007, Google bought the company for US$1.65 billion. Before that he was involved in setting up PayPal. He was invited to speak at the Abu Dhabi Entrepreneurship Forum by the Khalifa Fund. He spoke exclusively to The National.

Did you know you were an entrepreneur?

I never define myself as an entrepreneur. I define myself as an artist, a designer, but basically I’m a problem solver.

But you didn’t aspire to a 9 to 5 job?

No, I grew up and knew I would move to California and create something. Growing up on the east coast, California represented the opportunity to be creative in entertainment or innovation. That was what I was thinking, although I didn’t think about a job or a title that I would achieve. I just thought of interesting areas and ideas that I could be involved with. Luckily enough I have been able to create myself.

Was there a eureka moment when you realised YouTube was going to put you on the map?

When YouTube got to a million views a day, I thought we were on our way to creating something meaningful. Nike uploaded a video and Bill Gates opened a Microsoft conference using a search for himself on YouTube, and that was eye-opening.

Could YouTube have been started anywhere else other than the United States?

At the time probably not. I don’t know if that’s the case for a lot of companies going forward. I think the bigger challenge is coming up with ideas that resonate with people. You will find the support and the technology is cheaper than ever. The capital required to get something like YouTube up and running is substantially lower than it was then.

Wouldn’t monetising video on the internet six years ago normally have meant adult sites?

We wanted to create a site for everyone, so we made it clear we were not about adult content. We were looking at a bigger opportunity and a bigger audience.

Tell us more about Mixbit, your latest venture.

We give people better tools to create better content together, without requiring them to move to Hollywood to accomplish that goal. If it fails, I have a 100 other things I want to do. I never really know how things are going to work out.

* Andrew Scott