Craig's List founder keeps his attitude
Craig Newmark: We're not going to
sell Craig's List.
Bankrate: What's the
biggest amount you've turned down?
Craig Newmark: I can't
Bankrate: So how much
of a living does Craig's List bring you?
Craig Newmark: I am
comfortable, even living in an expensive place like San Francisco.
Bankrate: But Craig's
List hasn't made you a millionaire?
Craig Newmark: No.
I make enough to indulge myself in tech toys. I really need to learn
to invest better.
Bankrate: Why is that?
Craig Newmark: Because
I'm lousy at it.
Bankrate: Is that because
since your company came of age during the tech boom, you invested
heavily in tech stock?
Craig Newmark: Fortunately,
I procrastinated regarding investment all through the tech boom,
so let's say I lost of couple of years in some investments, but
I didn't invest much.
Bankrate: So why do
you say you are lousy at it?
Craig Newmark: Because
I am just not knowledgeable. I could do a lot more and probably
do well by investing. My only really smart move is investing in
a friend's genomics firm. I keep telling myself I need to increase
and juggle my portfolio. And I've been telling myself that for some
months, and I just don't get around to it.
Bankrate: So what are
you invested in, aside from that firm?
Craig Newmark: Mutual
funds, like the Parnassus Fund.
Bankrate: Is that the
main way you're preparing for your financial future?
Craig Newmark: I'm
not preparing adequately. That's the real answer.
Bankrate: Do you own
Craig Newmark: I own
a flat in San Francisco, and its value has gone up considerably.
Bankrate: Compare the
money you made as a full-time employee, as a consultant, and as
Craig's List's founder.
Craig Newmark: I'll
just say that when I became a consultant, I somewhere between doubled
and tripled my income.
Bankrate: And then
when you left consulting to do Craig's List full time?
Craig Newmark: About
Bankrate: So Craig's
List is only "for profit" as much as the salaries it pays.
Craig Newmark: The
philosophy regarding income is that we want enough to pay the bills
and have enough left over for profit. There's 14 of us, and everyone
gets a salary.
Bankrate: So how has
Craig's List changed your financial life?
Craig Newmark: Here's
one way. Before I went full-time, I made a good living as a contract
programmer, but it's now much harder to make a good living as a
contract programmer since the bubble burst. And, of course, I really
am on my second career now. Before I was a contract programmer.
Now, I don't know what my title is. I'm a community builder, and
I'm a customer service rep.