Meet Peter. Peter is a 79-year-old English retiree. Back in WW II he served as a radar technician. He is now an international star.
One year ago, this would not have been possible, but the world has changed. In the past 12 months, thousands of ordinary people have become famous. Famous people have been embarrassed. Huge sums of money have changed hands. Lots and lots of Mentos have been dropped into Diet Coke. The rules are different now, and one website changed them: YouTube.
Let’s be clear: we know who started it. That would be three twentysomething guys named Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. At a Silicon Valley dinner party one night in 2004 they started talking about how easy it was to share photos with your friends online but what a pain it was to do the same thing with video.
So they did something about it. They hacked together a simple routine for taking videos in any format and making them play in pretty much any Web browser on any computer. Then they built a kind of virtual video village, a website where people could post their own videos and watch and rate and comment on and search for and tag other people’s videos. Voilˆ: YouTube.
But even though they built it, they didn’t really understand it. They thought they’d built a useful tool for people to share their travel videos. They thought people might use it to pitch auction items on eBay. They had no idea. They had opened a portal into another dimension.