Speaking to a crowd at this year's South by Southwest festival, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen said the original intent of YouTube was to be a video dating website. It's difficult to imagine now, but the original vision of YouTube was to digitize the old school VHS video dating services, in which people would record a profile about themselves in hopes of finding a match. Here's what Chen revealed, according to CNET:

We always thought there was something with video there, but what would be the actual practical application? We thought dating would be the obvious choice.

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When they launched the site with that purpose, no one was interested. After five days, not one single (single) person had uploaded a video. So Chen said he and the other co-founders, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim, decided to change course, and that's when they changed history:

Okay, forget the dating aspect. Let’s just open it up to any video.

YouTube co-founders and wealthy nerds Steve Chen and Chad Hurley.
YouTube co-founders and wealthy nerds Steve Chen and Chad Hurley.
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This was the first YouTube video they uploaded, featuring Karim at the zoo:

https://youtu.be/jNQXAC9IVRw
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Sources: The Guardian | CNET