Interview with Craig Newmark of Craigslist.org

Craig Newmark

In Pakistan, awareness and love of World Wide Web is flourishing in leaps and bounds. People here are now looking beyond Yahoo, MSN, Google, and news sites. We are now tasting whats hot and useful on the net. We are rapidly adopting blogs, RSS, podcasts, web 2.0 idealogy, and new media. When it comes to new media, we have observed and explored in awe the magical usefulness and simple elegance of Craigslist, local classifieds and forums for 450 cities worldwide.

Craigslist is brain child of Craig Alexander Newmark. Although he now looks after customer service and makes media appearances, Craig is very much the blood and life of Craigslist. Here is an exclusive interview of Craig Newmark for readers of Chowrangi.

You are known by simple, useful craigslist and by your humbleness. Both of these are very rare in today’s new media, is that the secret of your astounding success?

Craig: Simplicity is always a good design principle.

However, I don’t feel we’re all that humble, or noble or altruistic. We operate according to some simple values, like in #2. That is, we actually practice the values we profess.

“Treat others like you want to be treated” is the mantra of Craigslist, would you please elaborate on this?

Craig: That’s basically the “Golden Rule”, which is an important core value of
the Abrahamic religions. I figure almost every person has a good moral compass, and if we followed though with that, life would be better for everyone.

What is your take on outsourcing? Do you outsource?

Craig: It can bring opportunity to people who don’t have any, but can also
cause pain to others. I do think we need to offer more assistance to people who lose jobs to outsourcing.

We don’t outsource, just no need to, so haven’t even thought of it.

How do you keep the employees at Craigslist passionate about what they do?

Craig: I guess the mission, of helping others out, is enough to do that.

What key traits should an entrepreneur possess to excel in the virtual world?

Craig: Just treating others well, and following through with that, that’s the one key trait I know. In practice, that means providing good customer service.

What those people should do who are losing jobs in the old media due to Craigslist?

Craig: It’s not clear if that’s really happening; biggest related cause is Wall
Street demanding high profit margins from newspaper chains.

What community work are you doing nowadays?

Craig: Two projects overall, where I’m helping people who are smarter than me:

– improving the future of journalism, like with NewAssignment.net, NewsTrust.net, FactCheckED.org and SunlightFoundation.com

– Palestinian/Israeli peace, via OneVoiceMovement.org, and forms of microfinance for the West Bank. (I’ve just funded the construction of a needed facility at a boys’ high school in Jericho.)

What is your definition of new media?

Craig: I don’t really try, too broad a subject.

As you gaze into your crystal ball, what do you see in terms of the future of new media?

Craig: I think we’re going to see a lot more professional fact checking, and
media will become more global. A lot of people want to see more news from across the world.

What are your future plans. Whats the next big thing from you?

Craig: More of the same. We do one thing really well, and we don’t want
to damage that.

What filters you have to control posts with obscene, racist or violent messages at Craigslist?

Craig: There’s a limitless number of ways to post bad material, so while we have some simple filters, we rely on our community to flag bad material for removal. That works fairly well, but we need to do better and are working on tools for that.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing Craigslist?

Craig: Probably still be doing contract software programming.

What one website (other than Craigslist, ofcourse) would you recommend and why?

Craig: Maybe dilbert.com or HuffingtonPost.com.

Would you like to share any funny anecdote of your life here?

Craig: Sometime, I have to write about one event, very long ago, where I was trying to meet a nice woman, and wound up in the hospital, with a fractured jaw, hernia, and more.

Any message you want to give to the readers at Chowrangi?

Craig: People everywhere have similar needs and values. The American people are still good guys, despite the problems of our government.

Craig Newmark is an American Internet entrepreneur best known for being the founder of the San Francisco-based website Craigslist. Craig regularly blogs at cnewmark.com.

Image Source: DayLife


4 thoughts on “Interview with Craig Newmark of Craigslist.org”

  1. @ Teeth Maestro: Thanks

    @ Obi Wan Kenobi: Thanks to you too 🙂 Pakistan has a great potential, really. I am not saying it just out of patriotism, but neutrally. This country can rock the world and shake the innovation. We can learn lots of lessons from the innovators like Craig Newmark.

    Reply
  2. Craig is in San Francisco and if you look at CraigList office, do you wonder is that really their office. I talked with him in 2006 and asked him to add Karachi in their cities list. There was chain of emails trying to convince him why Pakistan could be a new emerging market for his site and at end he added Pakistan as a country.

    Reply

Leave a Reply