Now that we’ve publicly discussed founder Chad Hurley moving to an advisory role at YouTube (and revealed his true next plans), i wanted to spend more than 140 characters sharing my reverence for what he has built at YouTube and what he’s done for me over the last four years.
I moved into the product group at YouTube from Google shortly after their acquisition. This transfer resulted from some early conversations with Steve Chen, Chad and another senior YouTube engineering manager who met me via my work on video at Google. Originally hesitant – wasn’t this going to be the “chad and steve show? would i have any independence given the presence of two strong active founders?” – i jumped on-board because the product, culture and community they’d built was so damn appealing. I’d always enjoyed Google but truly felt at home with the YouTubers.
When i first met Chad i assumed he’d be out of YouTube as soon as his deal handcuffs expired. I mean he was now wealthy, with a great family he cares about and lots of outside interests. His life was set if he wanted to spend the rest of it coasting on his accomplishments and his hair. Chad has really great hair.
As i worked for Chad and we became friends, i realized the depth of his character. He certainly would go on to other projects at some point but it wasn’t going to happen until he knew YouTube would succeed without his day-to-day leadership. The acquisition wasn’t a finishing point for Chad. He truly wanted to see YouTube become more than a phenomena. He wanted it to be a sustainable platform for media. A real business. Something that he and Google could call a success. I was blown away and saw this dedication every day we worked together.
Beyond this commitment to the company, Chad (and Steve) made a real commitment to me – incorporating my input and leadership, supporting/defending my views, welcoming me into the ranks. As Chad’s change in role was announced i advised our product team that they will never go wrong asking “What Would Chad Do” when faced with a decision about design, features or just plain fighting for our users. He has a wonderful true north and is a divining rod for how technology and design benefit humanity.
I could go on further but this isn’t a eulogy. Chad will always have an influence here. And i look forward to surfing the waves he continues to create. Whether it’s Hlaska or projects yet to be announced. Thanks Chad!