Who is Salar Kamangar?

Salar Kamangar is an Iranian-American businessman best known for his stint as YouTube CEO between 2010 and 2014. Today, Kamangar remains at Google as the SVP of YouTube and Video and was the company’s ninth employee.

Education and a chance meeting

Kamangar was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1977.

Less is known about his early life, but at some point, he moved to the United States and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in 1999.

Kamangar was initially passionate about becoming a doctor and then a scientist, but his interest in these professions cooled after learning of their day-to-day realities.

Whilst still at Stanford, he decided that search was an industry he was passionate about and made a shortlist of companies he would love to join. These included Google, Direct Hit, and Ask Jeeves.

He then met Google co-founder Sergey Brin in 1999 after Brin had returned to his alma mater to recruit employees for his new start-up.

Salar approached Sergey who was standing in a booth and the pair exchanged contact details.

Early career at Google

Kamangar spent the next few weeks analyzing the emerging search market and its competitive landscape.

He also became intimate with Google’s search engine, shared feedback on how it could be improved, and reported any bugs.

Brin and the team were impressed with Kamangar’s initiative and persistence. After a few weeks, they granted him an interview and hired him shortly thereafter.

Kamangar felt energized by the day-to-day tasks of his new role almost immediately.

His meteoric rise over the ensuing years would mirror that of the company itself. He became a key part of Google with a long list of accomplishments. Some of these include:

  • Writer of the first business plan.
  • Youngest ever vice president.
  • Founding member of the Google product team, and
  • Leading the engineering team that built and launched AdWords. 

Kamangar becomes YouTube CEO

Kamangar was announced as YouTube CEO on October 29, 2010, replacing former co-founder Chad Hurley.

Before this move, Kamangar had been the company’s Vice President of Web Applications which included Gmail, Reader, Blogger, Picasa, Video, and Spreadsheets, among others.

In 2013, he was crowned the Media Person of the Year at the Cannes Lions International Festivity of Creativity. CEO Phillip Thomas noted that “YouTube has become a global phenomenon under Kamangar’s leadership. The statistics say it all: more than one billion unique users a month watch more than six billion hours of video.”

Kamangar was also recognized as the pioneer of TrueView, a format where advertisers only pay for the ads consumers watch.

Kamangar steps down as CEO

Kamangar stepped down as YouTube CEO in February 2014. He was replaced by Susan Wojcicki, whom many believed was promoted to increase YouTube’s profitability via new advertising strategies.

Of Google’s first 19 employees, Kamangar is one of just six who is still employed by the company today.

Key takeaways

  • Salar Kamangar is an Iranian-American businessman best known for his stint as YouTube CEO between 2010 and 2014.
  • Whilst studying at Stanford University, he decided that search was an industry he was passionate about. By chance, he met Google co-founder Sergey Brin on campus and was hired by the company soon after.
  • As an early employee, Kamangar was responsible for drafting the first business plan and was a founding member of the Google product team. He also served as YouTube CEO between 2010 and 2014.

Read Next: YouTube Business Model, History of YouTube.

More Visual Stories Related to YouTube

YouTube was acquired for almost $1.7 billion in 2006 by Google. It makes money through advertising and subscription revenues. YouTube advertising network is part of Google Ads, generating more than $28B in revenue by 2021. YouTube also makes money with its paid memberships and premium content.

Who owns Google?

The most prominent institutional shareholders are mutual funds BlackRock and The Vanguard Group, with 2.7% and 3.1%, respectively. Larry Page and Sergey Brin together have 51% of the voting power. Other shareholders comprise John Doerr (1.5%), venture capitalist and early investor in Google, and CEO, Sundar Pichai. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has 4.2% voting power. 

YouTube Competitors

YouTube is the most popular online video platform, a hybrid between a video search engine and a social media platform with a continuous feed prompted by social interactions and engagement. The platform is so popular that is the second most visited website. After being acquired by Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion, the platform now boasts over 2 billion registered users. Collectively, these users upload 500 hours of video every minute. The platform competes with other video engines like Vimeo and Dailymotion and social platforms like IGTV, TikTok, and Twitch.

Digital Advertising Industry

The digital advertising industry has become a multi-billion industry dominated by a few key tech players. The industry’s advertising dollars are also fragmented across several small players and publishers across the web. Most of it is consolidated within brands like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Bing, Twitter, TikTok, which is growing very quickly, and Pinterest.

Google Business Model

Google (now Alphabet) primarily makes money through advertising. The Google search engine, while free, is monetized with paid advertising. In 2021 Google’s advertising generated over $209 billion (beyond Google Search, which comprises YouTube Ads and the Network Members Sites) compared to $257 billion in net sales. Advertising represented over 81% of net sales, followed by Google Cloud ($19 billion) and Google’s other revenue streams (Google Play, Pixel phones, and YouTube Premium).

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