Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist

  • Craig started Craigslist around March of 1995: It was just something I was doing because it felt right to do. It was a way of giving back, connecting with friends. Once I started I just kept doing it.

  • Why Craig focuses on customer service I feel customer service is a calling. After people helped me understand that I sucked as a manager I started to go full time with intense customer service. I did that for 15 years. I still do some today.

  • What is appealing about customer service: The deal is if you commit to something you commit to it. Add to it the notion that you want to treat people as you would want to be treated. That’s a great deal of what drives me.

  • How he thinks about Craigslist: It’s about helping someone put food on the table. It’s about helping someone get that table. And it’s about helping someone get a roof under which to put the table.

  • What helped scale Craigslist’s over so many years: We avoided the temptation of new and fancy interfaces. Sticking with what people wanted and needed. It is probably a better idea to listen to your user community than fancy people.

  • He never needed to raise funding: For the first several years it was just me. I used free tools on Linux. I can program and I can write software to make tasks easier and faster. If a task took more than an hour a day, I wrote code to make it easier to do.

  • What helped Craigslist get to 70 countries and 500+ cities: The important part is to keep doing things people want and ask for. 

  • The unicorn of unicorns: Revenue well north of nine figures [2016 revenue = $694 million. 2016 net income = $500 million], highly profitable, 50 employees, and very few owners of the business. The opposite of almost all of Silicon Valley.

  • Great quote: It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. It is better to build good things than to be a complainer.

  • Full podcast here.