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What a 21st Birthday Means for craigslist

Folks, big news: craigslist launched 21 years ago. This means that for more than two decades, we've helped people put food on the table and put a roof over that table. I created craigslist to really develop a community, and help others out.

Nowadays, I'm not doing any craigslist management. I haven't been a spokesman for craigslist, or had any role in management since 2000.

Here are 5 reasons I'm no longer in craigslist management.

NYT 1995

Note: just to put some perspective on how long ago craigslist launched, here's what was happening on March 1, 1995:

  • It was Wednesday.
  • The US president was Bill Clinton.
  • People in US were listening to Take A Bow by Madonna.
  • And, Op-Center by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik was one of the best selling books.

But, lotsa folks are surprised that there's an actual Craig from craigslist (yes, I'm real), and I'm often asked how craigslist actually came about, so here's the story:

In '94 I was at Charles Schwab & Co., showing people the Internet and suggesting we'd do business that way someday. Also, I saw a lot of people helping each other out.

In '95, early, it seemed time for me to give back, and I started a simple arts and tech events mailing list. Also, I solicited feedback, and did something with that feedback. We continue that ask/act cycle to this very day.

What seems to make craigslist work is our deal about "doing well by doing good," and by providing a platform where people can help others with everyday basic stuff. That starts with helping get a job and a home, and goes from there.

The "doing well by doing good" thing is unique in our area, as far as I can tell.

craig in craigslist hoodie

Speaking of helping people do good work that matters, I'm putting all my energy into my philanthropic initiative the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, where I'm focused on helping out in the following areas:

  • journalism integrity
  • voter protection
  • women in tech (note: stay tuned for the upcoming Women Startup Challenge...)
  • veterans and military families
  • peer-to-peer giving

My deal is I want support organizations that really have their boots on the ground.

This is not altruistic, it’s just that I’m doing what I feel I should be doing.

You can cue up my usual, that “a nerd’s gotta do…”

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