Thursday, August 26

'Humanizing and democratizing the net' — Wired interview with Craig, that Craigslist guy

Quotes and thoughts on quotes from the Wired interview with Craig Newmark, that Craigslist guy. A follow up from my earlier post Craiglist reaches a billion page views.
WIRED: What is craigslist's greatest contribution to society?
NEWMARK: Just by being good guys, we've created a culture of trust and fairness. The site makes it easier for people to get everyday stuff done, like selling things and finding an apartment.
It's all about the good overall experience: good people, good vision, good site, good culture, a culture of good. The primary value that differentiates Craigslist from it's competitors is in simply being good. Amazing how one can build a business by simply offering a better experience than the next guy.
I admit that when I think of the money one could make from all this, I get a little twinge. But I'm pretty happy with nerd values: Get yourself a comfortable living, then do a little something to change the world.
Craig is a hactivist through and through.
Really, the only thing I'm missing in terms of quality of life is a permanent parking space.
Glad to see he's keeping it simple, success hasn't gone to his head.
I bet Jeff Bezos has a parking space. How would you compare yourself to Amazon's CEO?
Amazon is great. But Jeff decided he wanted to make a business. Craigslist was a happy accident.
So Craig doesn't want Craigslist to be a "business" in the true sense of the word, I wonder how he would describe it? I wouldn't go expecting him to call it a "community" either. I'm sure he has a much more highly developed concept of what it is, and I'd really love to know. The Wired interviewer really missed out on following though on this question. In fact it occurs to me this interview is a "boxed" interview, definitely not done via email, but obviously very short. I wonder.
What could Bezos learn from craigslist?
I'd like Jeff to listen to customers a little more. I'm a sucker for mystery series, but I still can't get a straightforward list of my favorite stuff. Ninety percent of the function of our site is based on suggestions from users.
Google's touchy-feely corporate mantra is "Don't be evil." What's yours?
Give people a break.

A break from what?
A break from how difficult our lives are. It's like, if you're walking out of your apartment building and somebody is coming the other way with an armful of groceries, you hold the door. It feels good - it's the neighborly thing to do. And our species survives by cooperating.
Ha, simple, sweet and to the point. More reiteration on the common themes I cite of providing good experience and building on social capital.
What poses the major threat to that survival?
Kleptocrats and sociopathic organizations that have the almighty dollar as their only goal.

Are you saying that capitalism is flawed?
We've seen that people in corporations often make moral compromise - what I like to call the Halliburton crime syndicate. They're the epitome of being unfair.
We're well beyond such ridiculous generalizations as "anti-corporate". Kleptocracy and sociopathy are two primary problems facing modern corporate institutions most obviously seen in the fallout from the Enron and Worldcom scandals as well as Google's attempt to become a public corporation and maintain their policy of "not being evil".
When are you going to run for office?
My focus is on restoring democracy to America. We have to restore the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. That said, I have no interest in running for office. That kind of job sucks.
Very interesting, as a developer he sees his ability to use technology to engineer social change as being far more effective than effecting change through politics. This is something not openly addressed, but I'm sure if there was a study done you'd find that it's quite common among programers and tech people. I believe it to be a core value of hactivism, a lack of faith in other political models and an embracing and creation of new mean and models. It's a core element of our current rapid evolution in the technological world.
You're also a cyberpunk buff. How has, say, William Gibson's Neuromancer influenced the way you've run craigslist?
Those books talk about a future that's exciting technologically but darker, where everyday people have less of a voice and are increasingly controlled by big organizations. I figure we can be a counter-example.
No real explanation needed, he believes in small organizations, giving people a better voice and that the two directly relate.
At the end of Neuromancer, the hacker cowboy hero gets a huge payday. When's yours?
I'm not in a hurry. Our planning horizon is 200 years, or until the singularity.
Not sure what he means by "until the singularity" it has too many possible meanings. Of course that's part of the reason why he said it.

All quotes are from: Wired 12.09: Mr. Craigslist, Master of the Nerdiverse

Be sure to check out Craigs blog. There's a nice response to eBay's purchase of 25% of Craigslist.craigblog: eBay and craigslist.

via Joi Ito's Web: Interview with Craig from Craigslist and Boing Boing: Craig of Craigslist interview.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Krazee Kooter, eh? Took me a few. Glad you like the blog, man.