50 over Fifty: Craigslist founder Craig Newmark

 The tech industry gives the ad business a good run, for the title of 'Most Ageist Industry'. Craigslist founder Craig Newmark was over 40 (a senior citizen by Silicon Valley standards) when he started his site. He was an impressionable teenager in the '60s. Now that he is  in  his 60s, he's definitely reconnecting with the idealism and social activism of that period.

The tech industry gives the ad business a good run, for the title of 'Most Ageist Industry'. Craigslist founder Craig Newmark was over 40 (a senior citizen by Silicon Valley standards) when he started his site. He was an impressionable teenager in the '60s. Now that he is in his 60s, he's definitely reconnecting with the idealism and social activism of that period.

The founder of Craigslist—one of the most-visited websites—was born in 1952. He was one of the Boomers who were the first ‘digital natives’; a self-described nerd who studied computer science at Case Western Reserve University, and then went to work for IBM. He created Craigslist in 1995 (he was over 40 by then, a senior citizen in the tech world!) 

Although he is no longer active in the management of Craigslist, he continues to have a hands-on role handling customer service. He typically focuses on helping Craigslist users who have encountered problems with spammers or scammers. Considering that he could do anything he wanted, either inside or outside Craigslist, the fact that he chose this assignment says a lot about how grounded he is.

 You just have to open a Google search window and start typing “Why are baby boomers so...” to see that Boomers are often thought of as selfish. Newmark is a counter-example. 

You just have to open a Google search window and start typing “Why are baby boomers so...” to see that Boomers are often thought of as selfish. Newmark is a counter-example. 

Although he worked for capitalist bulwarks like IBM, GM, Bank of America, and Charles Schwab, when it came to creating his own business, he designed Craigslist as a mostly free—and commercial-free—service. When Craigslist took off, he kept it as a largely free community service, even though the decision to do so literally cost him billions. (Don’t feel too sorry for him; Forbes estimates his wealth at $400M.)

When he’s not righting wrongs on the web site he created, one person at a time, Newmark is active in philanthropy as a donor, and perhaps more important, a ‘connector’; he links causes he admires with people in a position to help those causes. 

For more information on Newmark’s unique approach to philanthropy check out Craigconnects.