Jawed Karim

Jawed Karim
Jawed Karim 2008.jpg
Jawed Karim in August 2008
Born (1979-10-28) 28 October 1979 (age 40)
Merseburg, East Germany (present-day Germany)
Nationality American/German/Bangladeshi
Alma mater University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (BS)
Stanford University (MS)
Known for Co-founder of YouTube
Uploader of the first video ever on YouTube
YouTube information
Years active 2005
Subscribers 964,000 (July 7, 2020)
Total views 102,229,863 (July 7, 2020)
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2015
Updated July 7, 2020

Jawed Karim (Bengali: জাভেদ করিম; born 28 October 1979) is an American software engineer and Internet entrepreneur of Bangladeshi-German descent. He is the co-founder of YouTube and the first person to upload a video to the site. This inaugural video, titled Me at the zoo uploaded on 23 April 2005, has been viewed over 100 million times as of June 25th, 2020.[1] During Karim's time working at PayPal, where he met the fellow YouTube co-founders Steven Chen and Chad Hurley, he had designed many of the core components including its real-time anti-Internet-fraud system.

"Me at the zoo", the first video uploaded by Karim on YouTube in April 23, 2005.

Personal life

Karim was born on 28 October 1979 in Merseburg, East Germany, to a German mother and Bangladeshi father. He was the elder of two boys.[2] He crossed the inner German border with his family in the early 1980s because of xenophobia,[3] growing up in Neuss, West Germany.[note 1] Experiencing xenophobia there as well,[3] Karim moved with his family to Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1992.[4] He graduated from Saint Paul Central High School[5][6] and later attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He left campus prior to graduating to become an early employee at PayPal, but continued his coursework,[4] earning his bachelor's degree in computer science.[7] He subsequently earned a master's degree in computer science from Stanford University.[8]

Karim in September 2004


In 1998, Karim served an Internship at Silicon Graphics, Inc. where he worked on 3D voxel data management for very large data sets for volume rendering, including the data for the Visible Human Project.[9] While working at PayPal, he met Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. Three years later, in 2005, they founded the YouTube video sharing website.[10] YouTube's first ever video, Me at the zoo, was uploaded by Karim on 23 April 2005.[11]

After co-founding the company and developing the YouTube concept and website with Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, Karim enrolled as a graduate student in computer science at Stanford University while acting as an adviser to YouTube. When the site was introduced in February 2005, Karim agreed not to be an employee and simply be an informal adviser, and that he was focusing on his studies.[4] As a result, he took a much lower share in the company compared to Hurley and Chen.[12] Because of his smaller role in the company, Karim was mostly unknown to the public as the third founder until YouTube was acquired by Google in 2006. Despite his lower share in the company, the purchase was still large enough that he received 137,443 shares of stock, worth about $64 million based on Google's closing stock price at the time.[13]

In October 2006, Karim gave a lecture about the history of YouTube at the University of Illinois annual ACM Conference entitled YouTube From Concept to Hyper growth. Karim returned again to the University of Illinois in May 2008 as the 136th and youngest Commencement Speaker in the school's history.[14][15]


In March 2008, Karim launched a venture fund called Youniversity Ventures (now known as YVentures) with partners Keith Rabois and Kevin Hartz.[16] Karim is one of Airbnb's first investors, investing in the company's initial seed round in April 2009.[17]

Response to Google+ integration with YouTube

On 6 November 2013, YouTube began requiring that commenting on its videos be done via a Google+ account, a move that was widely opposed by the YouTube community. An online petition to revert the change garnered over 240,000 signatures.[18]

In response to Google requiring YouTube members to use Google+ for its comment system, Karim wrote on his YouTube account, "why the fuck do i need a Google+ account to comment on a video", and updated the video description on his first video titled Me at the zoo to "I can't comment here anymore, since i don't want a Google+ account".[19]

In response to pressure from the YouTube community, Google publicly apologized for forcing Google+ users to use their real names, which was one of the reasons the Google+ integration was unpopular with YouTube users.[20] Google subsequently dropped its Google+ requirement across all products, beginning with YouTube.[21] Google announced in October 2018 its intention to permanently shut down Google+ as it had failed to achieve broad consumer or developer adoption.[22][23] And because it was hacked [24][25] Google+ was closed for personal accounts on 2 April 2019.


Karim has published articles on programming in Dr. Dobb's Journal, including one on loading rendering and animating Quake models.[26]

See also