What a 21st Birthday Means for craigslist

What a 21st Birthday Means for craigslist


Folks, big news: craigslist launched 21 years ago. This means that for more than two decades, we've helped people put food on the table and put a roof over that table. I created craigslist to really develop a community, and help others out.

Nowadays, I'm not doing any craigslist management. I haven't been a spokesman for craigslist, or had any role in management since 2000.

Here are 5 reasons I'm no longer in craigslist management.

NYT 1995

Note: just to put some perspective on how long ago craigslist launched, here's what was happening on March 1, 1995:

  • It was Wednesday.
  • The US president was Bill Clinton.
  • People in US were listening to Take A Bow by Madonna.
  • And, Op-Center by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik was one of the best selling books.

But, lotsa folks are surprised that there's an actual Craig from craigslist (yes, I'm real), and I'm often asked how craigslist actually came about, so here's the story:

In '94 I was at Charles Schwab & Co., showing people the Internet and suggesting we'd do business that way someday. Also, I saw a lot of people helping each other out.

In '95, early, it seemed time for me to give back, and I started a simple arts and tech events mailing list. Also, I solicited feedback, and did something with that feedback. We continue that ask/act cycle to this very day.

What seems to make craigslist work is our deal about "doing well by doing good," and by providing a platform where people can help others with everyday basic stuff. That starts with helping get a job and a home, and goes from there.

The "doing well by doing good" thing is unique in our area, as far as I can tell.

craig in craigslist hoodie

Speaking of helping people do good work that matters, I'm putting all my energy into my philanthropic initiative craigconnects, where I'm focused on helping out in the following areas:

  • journalism integrity
  • voter protection
  • women in tech (note: stay tuned for the upcoming Women Startup Challenge…)
  • veterans and military families
  • peer-to-peer giving

My deal is I want support organizations that really have their boots on the ground.

This is not altruistic, it’s just that I’m doing what I feel I should be doing.

You can cue up my usual, that “a nerd’s gotta do…”



John Finkas

Craig. You are a super hero! Many thanks for all that you have done for humanity.

Suzy Lee

I remember muni going by your office in the Sunset. I am so glad you have created this site and it is so widely popular. Happy annual!

David ndegwa

Hey Craig. Realy like your approach and have been thinking about your first bullet on journalism. Have an idea that won't leave my head on a Way to work with journalist to "do well by doing good". Relocating to Washington from Johannesburg next week but passionate about the potential. Would be delighted to share with you the idea and get your advice. Thanks
South Africa.

Michael Terronez

Nice to meet you Craig, now theres a face to put with the name. One things for certain, connect has got me thinking and for that I hope to thank you soon

David Lundell

Craig, I remember walking down the hall in China Basin & asking you to add me to your listserv. It got me my first apartment in SF (and then several more)! Thanks for starting something that puts roofs over so many tables.


I first met you at Reverie on Cole St in the 90's and have been using craigslist.org since then. It's never let me down no matter whAt I've needed. Thanks Craig!

Natalia Bello

Thanks Craig <3 Craiglist has impacted The Bello family in so many ways!!!

Deb Richards

Happy 21 Craigslist! Your mission should be the mission of all of us. Imagine that.

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