In an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing today, YouTube co-founder Steven Chen reminisced about selling his company to Google. “Was there any way you could not have sold?” Sarah Lacy asked? Hindsight is 20/20 Chen replied.
Chen revealed that the entire $1.65 billion YouTube acquisition was completed in one week’s time. Chen met with executives from both Google and Yahoo, including Yahoo’s Jerry Yang, at a Denny’s in Palo Alto, “We didn’t want to meet at offices, so we were like, ‘Where’s a place that none of us would go?’”
Chen said he ordered the Mozzarella sticks.
The deal was set to be announced at the closing of markets on Monday, so Chen and company were up until the last-minute completing paperwork at Wilson Sosini’s offices. In a historic moment for TechCrunch, our own Mike Arrington ended up breaking that news.
Chen said that his meeting with then Google CEO Eric Schmidt was instrumental in the decision to go with Google. Schmidt basically promised the founders unlimited resources in return for an “infinite amount of happy users” and an “infinite amount” of good content; “Here are all the resources that Google has around the world, and you can pick and choose”
“For twelve months, whatever we wanted to do, we were allowed to do,” Chen said “It was tremendous courage from Eric, allowing this group of 20 year-olds to run the company.”