I recently interviewed Craig Newmark of the one and only Craigslist. I used to run into Craig at networking events and around San Francisco back when Craigslist was just starting out. Today, I’d like to meet one single person who hasn’t used Craigslist … that’s right, that person doesn’t exist!
SFGIRL: Are you a real person?
CRAIG: I’m pretty sure I am. I seem to have actual physical existence, but with quantum physics and all, I’m never sure.
SFGIRL: How many people in SF recognize you these days or do you keep a low profile?
CRAIG: I keep a low profile, but people in my neighborhood seem to recognize me. Oddly, I get more recognition in New York City. Not sure why.
SFGIRL: I heard through the grapevine that you are a bird person, is there any truth to this rumor?
CRAIG: I’m a pretty lackadaisical bird fan, in that Mrs. Newmark and I put out bird food and water and attract a lot of feral birds. Over fifty species visit our deck. I never go out birding, though. I’m not that hardcore.
SFGIRL: Did you meet your SO on Craigslist? I know I did!
CRAIG: Congrats! And Eileen, Mrs. Newmark, and I met at our favorite place, Reverie Cafe.
SFGIRL: Small favor: can you find the personal ad I placed on Craigslist SF in November of 2000, (alter ego: Sydney Stevens) ok, never mind, that’s a lot to ask!
CRAIG: Definitely a long shot!
SFGIRL: I saw you were matching donations one day on Wikipedia, very generous of you! Are there any other causes you would like to promote/mention that are close to your heart?
CRAIG: I like to promote good people that are getting things done in four primary areas: trustworthy journalism, women in tech, voting rights, and veterans and military families. You can check out my new website, craignewmarkphilanthropies.org, for more info.
SFGIRL: Did you invest in Amazon / Bitcoin / Apple?
CRAIG: No, I never have. I’ve only invested in friends’ efforts, which all, sadly, ended badly.
SFGIRL: Favorite SF restaurant?
CRAIG: Reverie Cafe, in Cole Valley.
SFGIRL: Craigslist is everywhere, so you could move anywhere. Where would you move if you left San Francisco?
CRAIG: The Mrs. and I are starting to live part-time in New York City, but San Francisco will remain our primary residence.
SFGIRL: Did you consider any other names for craigslist? If so, what were some of them?
CRAIG: I was planning on calling it “San Francisco Events” in mid-1995, but people around me, people smarter than I am, told me that I had inadvertently created a brand they called “Craig’s List”. After they explained to me what a “brand” is, I agreed, only insisting on a lower case “c” to minimize the role of “Craig.”
SFGIRL: Have you met Mark Zuckerberg?
CRAIG: Briefly, at his offices.
SFGIRL: Did you have a favorite dot-com party?
CRAIG: I vaguely recall one at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which literally had mounds of fresh shrimp.
SFGIRL: How many times did you run into the sfGirls at dot-com parties?
CRAIG: Maybe half a dozen times. It was always a really nice surprise.
SFGIRL: Pocket protectors in 2018? Yes or No?
CRAIG: Only for people who really need ’em, or as an assertion of nerd identity.
SFGIRL: In one word, describe the Internet in 1999.
SFGIRL: In one word, describe the Internet in 2018.
SFGIRL: What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?
CRAIG: I just turned 65 and am enjoying those sweet senior discounts.
SFGIRL: Craig, thank you so much for indulging my interview request and for letting people get to know the real you!