This Is How Much Money The First Video Ever Posted On YouTube Made Its Creator

Posting videos online has become a profitable business in a world where creating material online is the standard. Innumerable bloggers now populate our screens, but this was not always true. It all started with a simple video that started a chain of events that transformed how we consume information and made “influencing” a respectable career option.

The story that centers around YouTube’s journey to fame is truly unique. On April 23, 2005, YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim posted a short 19-second video named “Me at the Zoo,” which marked the beginning of the platform’s journey. At first, this video, which documents Karim’s visit to the San Diego Zoo, might not seem groundbreaking. In the clip, the then 25-year-old US software engineer stands in front of the elephants and awkwardly comments, “All right, so here we are in front of the elephants. The cool thing about these guys is that they have long trunks…and that’s cool. And that’s pretty much all there is to say.”

Despite its modest content, the video has achieved legendary status. It has been viewed an astonishing 321 million times and has garnered Karim 4.7 million subscribers on his channel, which features only this single video. This humble beginning has immortalized Karim’s words in YouTube history.

Karim was not done with YouTube after this first upload. According to the New York Times, he never accepted a pay cheque, benefits, or even an official title from the company when Google purchased it for $1.65 billion in 2006. Instead, he chose to purchase shares valued at $64 million at the time. For comparison, YouTube is currently valued at $183 billion, meaning Karim has multiplied his fortune many times even if he has traded some shares over the last 18 years. For just 19 seconds of filming, this choice was highly successful.

The video was shot by Yakov Lapitsky, a PhD candidate at the University of Delaware, a friend of Karim’s from high school. “Me at the Zoo” may have had forgettable content, but it was a perfect example of YouTube’s mission to provide a place for individuals to share real-life experiences, no matter how big or small. That approach made YouTube’s rise to prominence as a mainstay of modern internet culture possible.

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