Craig Newmark, Creator & Director, Craig's List
24th November 2003
What's your background?
a plastic pocket protector, thick black glasses, taped
together in high school, marginal social skills. (see
Couple degrees in computer sciences from Case Tech,
then seventeen years at IBM, mostly working with PCs
and Unix. Couple years with Charles Schwab in SF,
evangelizing the internet, then several years doing
software contracting. I went full time with craigslist
in early '99.
did you actually get your start in the business?
you mean craigslist...) IN '94, I was looking a lot
at the Net for Schwab, seeing a lot of people helping
each other out. In early '95 I decided that I should
do something, so I started emailing friends about
cool events in SF. People asked for more, like job
and apartment postings and the list grew via word
did you release you were really onto something?
around the end of '97, when I saw that the site had
some kind of critical mass, and Microsoft Sidewalk
people asked me to run banner ads. (That's when I
decided that we wouldn't do banner ads.)
did it turn into a real, profitable business? Early
'99... but we think of it as a grassroots community
service, not a business.
did you know you were famous?!
I famous? Well, we all live on our illusions.
countries has your business taken you, either in person
or via virtual reality?
Australia (Sydney and Melbourne), Germany, the Netherlands,
France, and England.
kind of new opportunities did you success lead you
Nothing related to business, but I'm just starting
to do something real to improve the nature of representative
democracy in the US. (more in the blog.)
values: first I need to earn an okay living, then
change the world.
did you do so right, that so many others failed at?
run and persist running a site that's a genuine community
service, without specifically intending to get rich
at it. Then, surround myself with people who are smarter
media coverage have you attracted over the years?
press has been very kind to us: http://www.craigslist.org/about/press
are your current projects?
the Net more effectively to promote communication
between people and their elected representatives.
(more on the blog)
do you do to relax?
note: This guy knows what the internet is all about.
I want to become a nerd!
- 7th February 2006
each other a break, getting the word out about everyday,
restoring the human voice to the Internet, in a humane,
keeping things simple, common-sense, down-to-earth,
honest, very real.
providing an alternative to impersonal, big-media
being inclusive, giving a voice to the disenfranchised,
being a collection of communities with similar spirit,
not a single monolithic entity.
Newmark observed people on the Net, on the WELL and
in Usenet, helping one another out. In early '95,
he decided to help out, in a very small way, telling
people about cool events around San Francisco like
the Anon Salon and Joe's Digital Diner. It spread
through word of mouth, and became large enough to
demand the use of a list server, majordomo, which
required a name.
wanted to call it "sf-events", but more
knowledgeable friends suggested calling it "craigslist"
to reinforce its personal and down-to-earth nature.
He still finds it awkward that such a visible site
is named after him, but he'll get over it.
time, people started posting items on the list in
different areas, jobs, stuff for sale, and apartments,
the latter in response to San Francisco's apartment
shortage. Craig wrote software which could automatically
add email postings to a site which became www.craigslist.org.
being approached toward the end of '97 about running
banner ads, he decided to make craigslist non-commercial.
Some things should be about money, some shouldn't,
and I make enough doing contract programming."
He was joined by other folks who proposed running
face-to-face parties to make the sense of virtual
community more physical, and who proposed creating
a nonprofit foundation as part of craigslist.
devoted himself full-time to craigslist in early 1999.
lot of HR people and recruiters tell us that craigslist
is the most effective job site in the San Francisco
Bay Area... and now a February 2000 Forrester report
tell us what they like about craigslist including:
people a voice
A sense of trust and even intimacy
Consistency of down-to-earth values
No charges, except for job postings
Freshness of the material
No ads, particularly no banner ads
Craig's List official website)