Dr Val, formerly of Revolution Health, has written another post. For a complete (I think) list of Dr Val sightings check my post here.
An Interview With Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigslist.com
By Val Jones, MD
Have you ever wondered what the “tech giants” of the Internet are like in person? I certainly have… so yesterday was a real treat for me. (photo credit)
I attended a small gathering at the National Press Club with Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist.com. Craig’s company now has 25 employees working out of a house in San Francisco. Every month the site receives 12 billion page views and 50 million unique visitors. It has an annual revenue of $100 million. I’ve culled Craig’s comments into Q&A format for simplicity’s sake:
How did you build one of the most successful, social media websites on the Internet? What was your strategy?
I started this venture in 1995, and at the time I had no vision whatsoever. I had a couple of good ideas, I listened to the feedback I received about the site and implemented it. My model is ‘doing well by doing good.’ I wrote the first 2 versions of our code, but have since hired other developers who are more talented than I am to take over the effort. Now I work full time at customer service. I’m basically a community organizer.
What is your revenue model?
We recently started charging people for job postings and real estate ads. Otherwise everything else is free and we accept no advertising. I chose to go this route because I have “nerd values.” Basically once you make enough money to care for yourself and your future, it’s fun to focus on changing the world a little bit.
To what do you attribute your success?
We do one thing really well. We will always be a community classifieds site. We’re a grass roots expression of democracy. We keep the site fast and we fight ad spam. We are transparent about all that we do.
What do you do with your time these days?
I have speaking engagements all over the world, I work with media outlets to promote participation in the national election (like newassignment.net, propublica.org, politifact.org, and factcheck.org), and I write a blog to promote the activities of people doing good things. When I was a young techie, I was a lot like Lisa Simpson – nerdy and reserved, over time I became more like Bart Simpson (rebellious), then like Homer Simpson (unable to keep up with the kids who have 5 IM’s open at once to communicate with their friends) and now I think I’m showing some Grandpa Simpson characteristics. Oddly enough, my personality and behavior has evolved through Simpsons characters.