Today is the one year anniversary of Hulu’s launch as a private beta. On October 28 last year, we had zero users and a small and exhausted team that had worked around the clock for months to get the site out the door. As the clock turned past midnight, we stood around a desk and watched as one of the developers hit one last enter key and pushed our product into the wild.
A year later, some things have changed. We have many more users, content partners, and advertisers. Our catalog has ballooned many times over. To support this growth, we have many new faces in the office. We like to think the taco truck that stops by during our lunch hour added our street to their itinerary to support our growth.
When we visit college campuses on recruiting trips and say we’re from Hulu, people no longer ask “What’s that?” or think that it’s a province of China (speaking of recruiting, if you are a great developer or know one who enjoys sunny weather, long walks on the beach, eating contests, Rock Band, ping pong, and foosball, do I have the place for you!). With a few moments to catch our breath, we painted our walls, hung some art, and moved the ping pong table from the hallway into its own room.
Some things haven’t changed. We still eat a lot. We have one day of the week dedicated to donuts and another to bagels. The remainder of our waking hours are powered by those freakishly large containers of various foodstuffs from Costco. Our mission hasn’t changed: we still want to make it easier and more fun to watch the shows and movies you love unabashedly, the ones you love in secret, the ones you don’t know you love yet, and even the ones you don’t love at all. Against that mission, we’ve made some progress, but we still have so much more work ahead of us than behind us. There are no “mission accomplished” banners hanging in our offices, only whiteboards filled with new ideas, designs, and to-do lists.
But on this, our first birthday, we wanted to thank some people. We want to thank our content partners, because without their willingness to clear content for us and their belief in the future growth of online distribution, none of this would be possible. We want to thank our advertisers, who help us to keep our content free for users and to fund our operations and growth. Their understanding of the value of presenting their products and services to our users is the second leg of the tripod that supports our business.
The third leg of the tripod is, of course, all of our users. Thank you all, not just for visiting our site and watching our videos but for your tens of thousands of e-mails offering suggestions, criticism, and support. Above all, we count on word of mouth for our growth. Thanks for being both our conscience and our advocates.
Lastly, I want to thank my coworkers for their hard work and around-the-clock passion. As we have employees stationed from the East Coast to the West Coast in the U.S. and on the opposite side of the world in Beijing, keeping up with them is truly a 24/7 job. I serve at the pleasure of a world-class team.
Most of the Hulu team, a year ago, just after the site launched in private beta: