YouTube, the best acquisition ever?

No, I did not just say that. I did, however, hear it offhand somewhere and it stirred something in me. Or more so my thoughts on the ‘next big’ media transition that we find ourselves in the midst of.

Don’t roll your eyes, just yet. Just think back to 2006. Crazy. Short-sighted. Stupid money. Everyone had an opinion when Google forked out $1.65 billion for YouTube. It was the kind of stuff you only see in movies – small start-up gets golden ticket from Google.

Did Google’s Eric Schmidt look as serious as Daniel Craig in Casino Royale when considering the YouTube gamble?

It was hard then to see the end game-plan when the cash and perceived ridiculousness of the deal dominated the headlines. Worst acquisition ever, they said. “They” being almost everyone that was not Google or YouTube.

Fast forward nine years. Now, it’s the best deal ever. And all for the sweet price of $1.65 billion. So, was it the best acquisition ever? Yes, I believe so and here are some of the statistical reasons why;


2006 2014
Reported Revenues $15 million $1 billion
Unique visitors per month 20 million 1 billion
Videos uploaded daily 65,000 per day 300 hours of video uploaded every minute


This snapshot says it all. I could go on, but it’s all millions and billions so you get the message. Everyone knew YouTube was gaining momentum back in 2006. But did anyone really anticipate the kind of return and growth Google would eventually enjoy?

Few did. Except Google, of course. We were in the middle of a big media transition then, but no one really noticed.

We are, it appears, in the middle of another big media transition. And once again, nothing really is being said about it. So how do I know it is? Well, here is one insight I have.

At Filepicker, I have the privilege of seeing how assets are being created, consumed, stored and moved around the internet.

It has been a lot of change but nothing compared to the biggest move yet – the transition to NoLoSto. That’s right. No Local Storage.

See, years ago, we had these disks that would go into drives. We’d take these awkward sized disks and put them in our knapsacks. Inevitably, they were either lost or damaged.

Bad experiences with lost data meant only one solution. We (okay, just me) had to put them in hermetically sealed storage vessels and store them in fireproof safes until we wanted the data again. Say, when someone died or we needed to see that thesis again.

Naturally, something had to give. Or more so, something had to be created to solve this problem. Too many tears and tantrums can do that to innovators.

The better solution, it turned out, was to leave your vitally important documents and precious photos on random computers owned by suspicious looking cyber cafes or disgruntled ex-employers. And that’s where I get to see things a bit clearer at Filepicker.

At the beginning of 2013, we saw lots of ingestion activities that started from a local file – something stored directly on your computer or your iPad.

2014 was even better. We enjoyed an aggregate 300% increase in cloud drive storage. Indeed, on several of our cloud drives, such as Google Drive, we had more than a 1000% increase in usage. Can you now see where I am going with this argument for media transition?

This isn’t just because we’ve added tons of super, cool users (on an interesting side note, our last count shows we have users across 122 countries). We see this same correlation on long existing accounts.

So, what’s next for Filepicker as we move with this big media transition?

A lot, in one word. New drives will continuously be added to our service, such as Amazon Cloud and CloudApp. And thanks to growing international demand, we are making Filepicker available in over 12 languages. And that is just the stuff I am allowed to disclose…there is plenty more.

So, now do you believe me that we are in the middle of a media transition?

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