YouTube founder Chad Hurley still working to perfect online video

A decade after co-founding YouTube and selling it for a fortune, Chad Hurley’s still working on ways to improve online video.

Video streaming pioneer sees opportunity in finding ways to make videos better

Making YouTube work

7 years ago
Duration 17:57
YouTube founder Chad Hurley on the turbulent beginnings of the company and the ongoing challenges of video streaming.

A decade after co-founding YouTube and selling it for a fortune, Chad Hurley's still working on ways to improve online video.

While YouTube helped people share videos. Hurley's latest venture Mixbit helps people turn them into polished finished pieces.

Begun with fellow YouTube founder Steve Chen in 2013, the company is still in its early stages.

"That's another thing I have always wanted to focus on was giving people better tools… to create better content on their own," Hurley said in an interview with CBC's The Exchange with Amanda Lang.

"There's a lot of photos and videos that people have on their phones that they do nothing with and trying to make sense of this content that people take on a daily basis is a big challenge and that's what we are trying to focus on with Mixbit is take these photos, take these videos, apply a theme and you can also do that collaboratively."

Videos 'worth keeping'

Mixbit makes editing easy and also collaborative, so that friends and family members can help create a video that is, in Hurley's words, "worth keeping."

Wanting a better user experience was part of what drove Hurley, Chen and Jawed Karim to develop YouTube. In 2005 they were all employees of PayPal and found they were frustrated trying to share videos they shot with their phones.

"That's just really part of the design process, is really thinking about how you are going to use the product and walking through the steps that make sense to you in your head," Hurley said.

There were significant technical challenges to making YouTube work, including the problem of file sizes and different video formats, but they started writing code and putting out their own videos and it caught on.

"On a daily basis you're just trying to figure out what isn't quite right and that's a combination of you using the product but also just listening to feedback and seeing how other people are interacting with the product," Hurley said.

Sale to Google

The partners sold YouTube to Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion US.

Hurley thinks that was the right decision, despite seeing his creation expand exponentially since then. Hurley said the startup business was facing funding restraints and legal action from traditional businesses threatened by YouTube. Selling to Google gave the business the financing model and protection it needed.

But Hurley remains engaged with idea of democratizing the video experience, saying he wants to make it more tailored to individuals.

"I still think there's a big opportunity in the world of discovery to organize or make sense of the amount of content that is there," he said.

"There is already an enormous amount of videos on Youtube but there continues to be many more hours added every single day. To keep up with that is quite chaotic."

He also remains interested in the design and interface with the users and looks forward to developments in making video more interactive with virtual reality or augmented reality.

"I think that is going to be game changing, especially if it comes packaged in a way that is pretty seamless and not that bulky that you can actually wear," he says.


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