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Craig Newmark

Reinventing the Peer to Peer Transaction (Founder of Craigslist)


In this episode

My guest today is Craig Newmark – the Founder of the incredibly successful internet marketplace, Craigslist! Craigslist serves 700 cities in 70 countries and has 250 million users a month. In 2018, only four years after formation, Craigslist reached $1 billion in revenue.

During the last eight years, Craig Newmark has been one of our country's most active and generous philanthropist. During that time, he has given away more than $200 million. In 2022 alone, he gave away $81 million, which made him the 24th most generous philanthropist in the United States that year.

(01:50) What were your parents like and how did they influence you?

  • Growing up in a Jewish family in New Jersey
  • How his father's death impacted his future
  • Stress of going to college from a young age
  • The influence of Sunday school teachers

(06:29) How did you decide to pursue computer science?

  • Mastering quantum physics and computer science
  • Using the first computer for the first time
  • Being a nerd in high school and college
  • Being bullied as a kid

(12:14) Advice for people who don’t want to go to college

  • 63% of people graduating college on financial aid
  • Advice to those who don't want to go
  • Why 42 is not too late to start a company
  • Advice to new founders
  • Craigslist started as a hobby
  • How Craig became an accidental entrepreneur

(18:53) Turning Craigslist into a real company

  • How Charles Schwab got started on Craigslist
  • Turning a hobby into a business
  • The first dollar ad on Craigslist
  • The monetization philosophy of Craigslist

(27:04) When is the right time to leave your job to start a company?

  • When is the right time to leave a job to start a company
  • The fear of failure
  • Why he didn't take money from Craigslist
  • Advice to other entrepreneurs
  • Evaluate and make judgments on the founder
  • Advice to those with founder syndrome

(33:55) What went into the decision to hire Jim as CEO

  • The decision to hire Jim as CEO
  • Early on, Craig asked for the privilege of not being on the phone
  • Treating people the way they want to be treated

(40:12) Customer service is a way to make more money

  • The CEO of Verizon (customer service is important)
  • Dunbar's number and how it's been guiding principles at Craigslist
  • None of the figures can be relied on
  • Top five elements of success

(57:32) How important is being humble in our search for excellence?

  • The importance of being humble in search of excellence.
  • One of Craigslist challenges.
  • How Craigslist has dealt with these issues throughout the years.
  • How craigslist dealt with the issues.

(1:03:04) The downsides of having a lot of money

  • Net worth is estimated to be between one and $3 billion
  • The downsides to having a significant amount of money
  • His obsession with pigeons

(1:09:32) The importance of giving back to the community

  • Craig Newmark Philanthropies (CNP)
  • Pigeon rescue vs other philanthropic gifts
  • How to get involved in philanthropy
  • The one piece of advice Craig would give his 21-year-old self

Sandee | Bliss: Beaches

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