“A purple Muppet singing a nonsense song”. You could say that these words changed the life of Susan Wojcicki, current CEO of Youtube. Why? That was the title that Susan, almost 14 years ago, used to load the first video on the Google Video platform, a prototype in Alphabet style of the service that was beginning its explosion on Youtube, at that time still independent of Google.
Wojcicki, born in California in '68, of Russian and Polish origins, has been in the company since the beginning together with Larry Page and Sergej Brin, having joined in 1998, after completing her studies in economics and management. She is said to be the sixteenth employee of Google, the first to direct the marketing sector. At the end of the last millennium, she was behind the Doodle, the fun thematic Google logos that occasionally celebrate special occasions, and it was also she who developed Google Images and Google Books.
Working at Google from 1998, she convinces the company to buy Youtube in 2006: a historic acquisition
Then there is the famous purple-muppet-singing-nonsense video. Google Video never totally takes off but the advantage of being Google is being able to buy out your competition when you can’t beat them. So in 2006 Wojcicki convinces the company board to complete a historic operation: 1.650 billion dollars to complete the purchase of YouTube by Google.
That is her destiny. Wojcicki keeps working in Alphabet, but now it’s videos that take over the scene and in 2014 she is appointed CEO of Youtube, a position she still holds today. During her time on the job the platform keeps growing and she experiences the golden age of the youtuber, the videogamer, the commercials before movies, the songs that exceed the billion views. To front these changes Youtube must change, and Wojcicki is well aware. What changes especially is the policy on copyright, so much so that the website blocks almost automatically any copyrighted content. The problem is still ongoing. The problem remains, bypassed by users with imaginative artifices – flipped images, slowed down, or color changes – but production companies are much more protected and YouTube is no longer an enemy of artists, a wilderness in the hands of piracy, but a principal tool of diffusion and a fairly good guarantee of income. And this is also thanks to Wojcicki and those purple muppets.