Designing Interactions

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Chad Hurley

Chad is interested in art and design. He studied graphic design but got interested in computers and taught himself some basic HTML and Web design. His first job took him to California in 1999, during the Internet bubble, where he was the sole designer in a start-up encryption company that later became PayPal. He is now CEO and cofounder of the video sharing Web site YouTube, the biggest provider of videos on the Internet. In October 2006 he sold YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion. YouTube was born when the founders wanted to share some videos from a dinner party with friends in San Francisco in January 2005. Sending the clips around by email was a bust, as the emails kept getting rejected because they were so big. Posting the videos online was a headache too, so Chad and his friends got to work to design something simpler.

Chad Hurley, the founder of YouTube, describes how he designed the Web site and developed his company. Chad had noticed the success that Flickr was having in connecting people to share and publish photos and saw a similar opportunity for video. He knew that inexpensive video cameras and editing software were already available, but it was difficult to share video online because of varying formats, large file sizes, lack of standardized media players, and limited bandwidths. He put together a team to solve the technical challenges and designed the Web site to make it sympathetic and accessible, with an architecture that keeps connections open. By the end of 2008 YouTube was receiving more than fourteen hours of video every minute.