Jawed Karim (born 28 October 1979) is a German American internet entrepreneur of Bangladeshi origin, who co-founded YouTube and was the first person to upload a video on it. The video he released was named "Me at the zoo" and as of 2017 has reached 38 million views. Many of the core components of PayPal, including its real-time anti-internet fraud system, were also designed and implemented by Karim.
Karim was born in Merseburg, East Germany, to Christine and Naimul Karim is a Bangladeshi researcher. His mother was German, while his father was an immigrant from Bangladesh. Both his parents are research scientists. The family crossed the inner German border in 1981, settling in Neuss, West Germany. They later emigrated to the U.S., moving to Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1992. Karim graduated from Saint Paul Central High School and later attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Computer Science. He left campus prior to graduating to become an early employee at PayPal, but continued his coursework, earning his Bachelor of Science in computer science. He subsequently earned a master's degree in computer science from Stanford University.
In 1998 Jawed 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.
While working at PayPal, he met Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. The three later founded the YouTube video sharing website in 2005. YouTube's first-ever video, Me at the zoo, was uploaded by Karim on 23 April 2005.
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. As a result, he took a much lower share in the company compared to Hurley and Chen. 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.
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. In his lecture he mentioned Wikipedia as being an innovative social experiment. Karim returned again to the University of Illinois in May 2007 as the 136th and youngest Commencement Speaker in the school's history.
In March 2008, Karim launched a venture fund called Youniversity Ventures, with the goal of helping current and former university students to develop and launch their business ideas.
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.
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. 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. Google subsequently dropped its Google+ requirement across all products, beginning with YouTube.
Karim has published articles on programming in Dr. Dobbs Journal, including one on loading rendering and animating Quake models.
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