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Craig Newmark is a customer service representative and the founder of craigslist.org, based in San Francisco. With years of experience working with computers for IBM, GM, Charles Schwab, and Bank of America, he started craigslist in 1995 in his apartment as a message board about local events and as a simple email mailing list. Now craigslist is one of the top Internet companies in the world in terms of page views (about twenty billion per month), serving more than seven hundred cities in fifty-five countries, and its advertisements are still primarily free. Newmark has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World Today and one of the 25 Most Influential People on the Web by BusinessWeek. He works with various organizations such as DonorsChoose.org, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Kiva.org, Consumer Reports, and the Sunlight Foundation, and he serves on the advisory board of Wikipedia. He is also one of the founders of the craigslist Foundation. (www.craigconnects.orgwww.craigslistfoundation.org; www.CNewmark.com)

the interview

Craig Newmark has been a hero of mine ever since I started using craigslist.org around 2004. I noticed that every time I dealt with craigslist—whether for a sublet, to sell or buy something, or even just to give away boxes— the experience was extraordinary. And when I started asking other people about it, they felt the same way. Every time I heard about people finding an incredible sublet, a superb used car, or an amazing washer and dryer, or how people met (and married!) through craigslist, I grew more and more curious about who the wizard was behind the curtain. I found the craigslist Foundation online and left a message. Several days later, they sent me his direct email, so I wrote him. And he wrote me back, right away! He really does work in customer service at craigslist! He very graciously agreed to do the interview in person and even appear on camera. He was one of my earliest interviews and I flew up to San Francisco to meet the guy who has revolutionized the way we buy, sell, give away, and find things.

There’s very little footage of me or behind the scenes of the Epiphany Project from the early days, because I was usually the one shooting and interviewing! This is one of the few times I was on camera and we could shoot B-roll because I had a camera man helping me this day. Craig was one of my earliest interviews and was such a fun, quirky experience. Here’s a little glimpse of the “Behind the Scenes of Craig’s interview” (We also went to the offices of craigslist but they wouldn’t let us film inside. They kept saying, “See, it’s really very ordinary.” And it was, which is what makes it so extraordinary.) Hope you enjoy!