Social Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century
Founder & Chief Customer Service Representative
November 12, 2008Watch Craig Newmark
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Craig Alexander Newmark was born December 6, 1952, in Morristown, New Jersey. He is an Internet entrepreneur best known as the founder and an active customer service rep of the San Francisco based group of community websites known as craigslist (www.craigslist.org).
Newmark coded an e-mail list as a way to share information with his friends in San Francisco. He launched craigslist as a subscriber-based community in the later part of 1995, with the first community site for San Francisco as craigslist.org. As of August 2008, craigslist has grown to more than 570 city community sites in over 50 countries and is experiencing more than 12 billion page views per month. There are more than 50 million unique community members worldwide.
craigslist is a platform where people can help one another with basic needs, like housing and jobs. The site has a culture of trust, based on shared values like "treat people like you want to be treated." craigslist's philosophy is to let the on-line community participants play an active role in policing the information that is shared on the list, and to make classifieds and personal ads free to its community members.
Newmark attended Morristown High School. Upon graduation, he attended college at Case Western Reserve University where he originally wanted to be a physicist. He later determined that the future was in computers - actually just wanted a job someday - and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science in 1975. Newmark continued his education at Case Western, receiving his Masters of Science in Computer Science in 1977. His thesis was entitled "Fundamental Models of Computer Systems and Their Relationship to Information Security."
In 1976, Newmark started his business career with IBM and spent nearly 17 years with Big Blue until moving on to working in programming for companies such as IBM, Sun Micro Systems and various consulting firms. In those days he was fluent in Java, Perl, MySQL, and HTML.
Newmark is a vocal advocate of net neutrality - principle of fairness, of a level playing field on the Internet, and no more special privileges for the already privileged. Newmark is also a vocal champion of citizen journalism and participatory democracy and is involved with groups that advocate using the Internet to build online communities of global citizens to help solve social issues worldwide. Newmark supports and advises presidential candidate Barack Obama's team on technology issues.
With his modest demeanor and subtle humor, he has become a popular speaker at conferences throughout the world.
Newmark resides in San Francisco's Cole Valley. Between bird watching and testing out new technology, he remains a critical part of Craigslist's customer service, mostly dealing with spammers and scammers. He is an avid fan of science fiction and obscure BBC television series. He playfully surmises that "he needs to get out more."
Newmark continues to share his thoughts via his blog www.cnewmark.com and is active in sharing his "Tweets" on www.twitter.com/craignewmark. Also Craig continues to share his support for personal democracy and President Obama on his Facebook page under "Craig Newmark."