San Francisco has one thing going for it – serendipity of interactions. Last night while having dinner with my friend Jared Kim I ran into Steve Chen, who in past life was co-founder of YouTube. These days he and Chad Hurley (another YouTube) run a holding company which now owns Delicious, the social bookmarking service that traces its roots back to the early days of Web 2.0.
I have not seen Steve for a while – not since NewTeeVee Live when he was a speaker at the event in 2008. First words out of his mouth after a hug were — how is your health?
Chen, who stepped away from the limelight after spending a few years at Google is now a thirty something father of two. He is physically more fit than he was and still as goofy and fun as ever. We ended up sitting and chatting for an hour, though we didn’t talk about work.
We reflected on being founders and living the dream of running our own companies. What I like about him is that he hasn’t forgotten that while he and his cofounders may have started the company, it is millions who shared videos and watched them online who made YouTube a phenomenon. Chen, was quick to point out that what they did was supply servers, build a product but luck played a major role. Luck and a millions who tuned in.
The other day I read that nearly six billion hours of video was watched on YouTube. That’s an hour for every person on the planet ( though technically not true as many billions don’t have connectivity.) As we sat and talked about the past and how the valley has changed, Steve was quick to point out that there isn’t a genius to what hit services do – they just happen.
He is back to doing Startups, building products and having fun. And being a family man.