Craig Newmark is the founder of Craigslist, a site where people can help each other with everyday needs including housing and jobs. The site has a culture of trust, based on shared values like “treat people like you want to be treated.” He currently works as a customer service rep, in no managerial role. Previous experience includes thirty years working with computers for IBM, GM, Charles Schwab & Co, and Bank of America.
He’s also working with a wide range of groups using the Net to help each other out, like Donorschoose.org, the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America, Kiva.org (microfinance) and Consumer Reports. He’s working on the advisory board of Wikipedia, considering customer service and trust issues.
Craig is also actively engaged with government workers on multiple levels to use the Net for superior public service, and with Sunlight Foundation for government accountability and transparency. He’s not as funny as he thinks he is, but sometimes can’t help himself. Craig no longer wears a plastic protector and thick black glasses that are taped together, but is still a nerd.
What are you working on right now?
Customer service always comes first.
Then, I’m engaged in helping other people getting stuff done:
- Helping transform government to get the job done, to provide better customer service, with accountability, so we know where the money goes.
- Other areas where people work together to help each other out, like in microfinance and consumer protection.
3 trends that excite you?
- Online reputation
- Mobile web
- Listening/ideation internal sites, where rank and file workers, or citizens, can connect, figure out what’s really going on, and how to fix it
How do you bring ideas to life?
Lie down and think.
What is one mistake that you made, and what did you learn from it?
Sometimes I’ve gotten lazy and trusted someone else to get stuff done, when I really realized they couldn’t do it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Treat people like you want to be treated.
What inspires you and why?
Leonard Cohen, since he finds the spiritual in everyday life.
What would you like to inspire others to do?
I’d like to inspire people to stand up for one another, particularly when they endure a daily grind, unrewarding, that helps others.
image credit goes to Stephanie Canciello, unali artists