Ben Gold

Interview with Jakob Lodwick (Vimeo)

This is my interview with the founder of Vimeo, a unique video sharing site that is designed for personal videos. A note: The questions I asked make it seem like I’ve never used Vimeo, but I asked them to show how Vimeo is different from other video sharing sites. So, here it is:

Me: Why was Vimeo started?

Jakob: I was making these quick videos with my digital camera and uploading them manually to my personal website and editing the HTML. This was a waste of time and could have been automated, so I made a little script to handle the tedious aspects. That was in December of 2004. Take a look:

After a few days, I decided it should be its own site, not a feature on my personal website. So I did some thinking and came up with “Vimeo”. It won out over the other options because it’s like “video” but with “me” in it, and it’s an anagram for “movie”:

Then I built the site:

After a few weeks, I asked Zach Klein to help me flesh it out a bit, and we came up with a version multiple people could use:

Me: What makes Vimeo different than other video sharing sites like youtube

Jakob: Our emphasis is on people.

Me: Are any vloggers using Vimeo to distribute their content?

Jakob: Not that I’m aware of. Vimeo isn’t really fun if you’re “broadcasting yourself”. There’s a whole give-and-take dynamic that you don’t get when you’re one-waying it.

Me: Is there a specific type of content that you hope to have on Vimeo?

Jakob: As long as it’s not an overt advertisement, and the person who uploaded it is the person who created it, I’m happy. Artistically, I want people to make whatever they feel compelled to make, even if (especially if) it’s profoundly amateurish.

Me: How do you make money?

Jakob: Advertising deals, which is what we do on CollegeHumor. We might try other ways in the future, but for now we’re more focused on building the site than monetizing it. We have that luxury at the moment.

Me: Are there any upcoming features that you can talk about?

Jakob: We are completely revising the site right now, with a new design and new ways of organizing everything. There are too many changes to mention. I feel like Vimeo will officially debut with this new version — the first version that is ready for the whole world to see. We’re coming out of puberty.

One new thing is that “your clips” no longer means “videos you uploaded”. It means “videos you are involved in”. So if I shoot a video of Andrew, and I upload it and link it to his name, it counts as one of my videos AND one of his videos.

Me: Is there anything that I didn’t ask that you feel would be interesting
or important to have in this interview? (Yeah, I really asked this)

Jakob: I’ve been making amateur videos since I was eight years old. I wouldn’t settle for anything less than the best conceivable video site, which is what we’re building here.

And now because it’s just soo incredibly awesome… and I need an actual link in some form to the current site, I leave you once again with this:


Lip Dubbing: Crazy on Vimeo