- Jawed Karim posted the first-ever YouTube video called "Me at the zoo" 18 years ago.
- The YouTube cofounder uploaded the grainy video a month before YouTube's beta launch in May 2005.
- Since leaving the company in 2005, Karim has become a vocal critic of new changes to the platform.
Eighteen years ago, a guy named Jawed Karim posted the first-ever video to YouTube.
The 18-second video, entitled "Me at the zoo," features Karim, a YouTube cofounder, at the San Diego Zoo standing in front of a bunch of elephants.
"All right, so here we are in front of the elephants," he says in the clip. "The cool thing about these guys is that they have really, really, really long trunks, and that's, that's cool. And that's pretty much all there is to say."
The low-quality video was posted on YouTube a month before the platform's public beta launch in May 2005. By this point, YouTube's team had pivoted from an idea for a dating site to a vision for a platform that made online video more accessible and easier to share.
Karim, who left the company in 2005 to get a graduate degree in computer science from Stanford University, got 137,443 shares of Google stock — worth about $64 million at the time — when the site was acquired in 2006, per The New York Times.
Watch the first video ever posted to YouTube, an 18-second-long, grainy home video:
Since leaving YouTube, Karim has become a vocal critic of Youtube's proposed changes.
Eight years later, in 2021, Karim updated the description of the "Me at the zoo" video to protest YouTube's announced removal of the "dislike" counts from its videos, Mashable reported.
"When all youtubers agree that removing dislikes is a stupid idea, it probably is," he reportedly added to the video's description before the update got removed. "Try again, YouTube."
Karim went on to found venture capital firm Y Ventures, formerly known as Youniversity Ventures, which has invested in companies like Airbnb, Reddit, and Eventbrite.
Maya Kosoff and Paige Leskin contributed to an earlier version of this reporting.