Craig Newmark of Craigslist: Good Guys Don’t Always Finish Last

Craig Newmark Craigslist


If you never heard of Craig Newmark, it is understandable, he is fairly low profile. But, if you haven’t heard of his list? Well, anyone on the web knows about Craigslist. We had a unique opportunity to talk with Craig, not only unique I must say, but actually inspiring. Interviewing Internet celebrity is something I am intimately familiar with. But, actually learning something meaningful from them – well, that is rare.

Before getting into our talk with Craig, somehow it seems important to envision the likelihood of a Jewish super geek from Morristown, New Jersey creating one of the most fantastically successful inhabitants of Internet culture and space. But then, this is part of the fascination and reality of the the WWW isn’t it. Maybe we will learn why here.

Everything PR – Craig, thanks for taking your valuable time to talk to our readers.
Craig – Thank you.
EPR – Being one of the world’s foremost advocates of a “free web” how important is your involvement in Jimbo Wales’ Wikimedia Foundation, and your own evangelism now as compared to early on Craig? Where are we in your view, the free web I mean?
Craig – First, I advocate people giving each other a break, not really viewing stuff as part of the “free web.” Everyone’s also gotta make a living.
EPR – I cannot help but marvel a little bit Craig, at the activities you are engaged in. I must admit, in researching a little about your recent activity, you seem to be everywhere. The question, which comes to mind, maybe from an “advice” standpoint, is; “How do you prioritize the host of demands on your time?”
Craig – I guess I don’t consciously prioritize, I just do what’s gotta be done, for as long as it takes.
EPR – Craigslist, even after all this time, maintains a steady position among the world’s most popular websites. What are you guys looking at as far as growth potential Craig? Is there any room for so called “new age” refinement s there? I am driving at the rather textual heavy elements on the site.
Craig – We’re driven by the community, and pretty much, that’s it. Now and then, we add more cities, based on feedback.
EPR – I am sure you talk about Craigslist a great deal Craig, if there were something else, if Craigslist did not even exist, what would your burn to talk about, engage in, do?
Craig – I just don’t know; been doing CL so long, it’s changed me, and I don’t remember the old me.
EPR – What is next for Craig Newmark? I know you get that one a lot, but I think people want to know. Would you consider being a part of another startup?
Craig – Well, I’m now spending a lot of time doing public service, as depicted on cnewmark.com, maybe thirty hours per week on that, in addition to working on CL, doing customer service mostly. That works for me.
EPR – Craig, thanks again for stopping off to talk with Everything PR News, we really appreciate it.
Craig – Again, thank you.

The Internet, for almost everyone on it, is a sort of magical world. Everyone knows this, whether they know it or not. Some place, inside our psyche, we dream about circumstances like those which propelled Craig Newmark into a new reality. Without being overly profound, Craig exemplifies the essence of these “fantasies,” the reality that ideas and fortitude can produce great things. In the case of Craigslist, a geek resolving a problem – simple, basic, an extension of values and the person.

Great solutions, great ideas, do not have to be complicated – though they can be. Craigslist grew out of a desire to help people, not the intent to take over the Web’s classified sections. If you study the answers to my long and partially nebulous questions above, with a little thought, you can see and learn a great deal. First and foremost, Craig Newmark is a humble and genuine person. Over analytical people like me often have trouble communicating with super geeks – but somehow, not this time. Herein lies a lesson.

For those of you reading this, those desirous of success especially (any kind), maybe the best way to illustrate Craig’s excellence (and his success) is in a sort of role reversal. If you pay attention, I am more than sure something good will come for you, as it did me. Bear with me, being profound is a hard habit to break.

Let’s pretend for a moment Craig Newmark is the long winded, overly wordy, ever seeking clarity, writer here. He may shudder at the thought (just as I do at being overly Hemingway-ish), but he taught me how better to understand. Check it.

Craig (the tangent seeking blabbermouth) – With a simple keyboard, 50 billion words where two thousand would suffice, and a previous distaste for anything that did not involve sports or the outdoors, how did you end up (insert some more profoundness and illusive ideas here) becoming a PR and writer?
EPR: Good guys don’t always end up finishing last.

I make this “role reversal” to illustrate that success, real success, is in finding what you like to do, finding the skill and the right intent, and then pushing with everything you have. Craig Newmark is tremendously successful, and humble at the same time. He mans the customer service switchboard at he 33rd (as of today) most visited website in the world.

There is an old saying in the South (where I come from). The saying goes; “The path to hell is paved with good intentions.” This is one of the biggest fallacies ever spoken. “The path to real success is paved with the good intentions.” Craig Newmark further galvanized this fact for me. Nice guys can indeed finish on top – AND not brag about it.

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Comments

  1. says

    “…is in finding what you like to do, finding the skill and the right intent, and then pushing with everything you have.”

    ——- Awesome sum-up, Phil!

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