Business Insider spoke to Craigslist founder Craig Newmark at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Read the full transcript below:
Craig Newmark: In my first year or two in San Francisco, a lot of people helped me acclimatise myself to the town.
They helped me understand what neighbourhoods were good and maybe where to shop. I got a lot out of it.
Early ’95, I decided I should give back, started a simple mailing list, it succeeded via word-of-mouth. I had to call it something at some point, was going to call it “San Francisco Events”.
Jim Edwards: How many people were on the email list at its height?
Craig Newmark: Well at that time, around 250 people. People around me though told me that I had invented a brand – Craigslist – they explained to me what a brand is, and I’m being literal here.
They were right, so that worked for a while. But by the time the end of ’98 came around, people helped me understand then that I needed to make it into a real company or it would fail.
I decided to monetise as little as possible, partially because of that Sunday school lesson: “Know when enough is enough.”
VCs and bankers at that point told me I should do the usual Silicon Valley thing and make some billions. But no-one really needs billions of dollars except to give away.
Jim Edwards: So you have no regrets about not doing the whole VC thing?
Craig Newmark: No, I’ve no regrets not doing my own IPO. I plan to give away a great deal more money to charity, I’ve already committed to do so, and trying to figure out how I – as an amateur philanthropist – I’m trying to figure out how I can do that most effectively given the realities of this time.
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