I had one simple idea about telling friends about arts and technology events. People in the community suggested everything else to us, and that's our theme. We're really run by the people who use the site. We just run the infrastructure, and help out with problems.
I need to make an okay living. The people who work for us need to. But after you make a comfortable living, how much more do you need? It's like I make a joke about nerd values, because I'm very much in the rich nerd tradition. And you know, we say, like, hey, people pay us for this stuff, like programming. You know, what else do we need?
My understanding from talking to a lot of people in the business has been that it used to be that a newspaper was considered a community service. Now they're being run as profit centers, and they're trying to get pretty high profit margins. As a result, investigative reporting has been seen as a problem.
I'm not in the news business and won't tell people how to do their job. I'd like to restore trust in the news business, though, and feel that restoring fact-checking will really help. News business realities mean that such fact-checking has to be practical, it has to be fast and cheap.
My take on the whole dot-com bubble was that a lot of people who wanted to make a lot of money got too excited and hyped up the commercial aspects of the Internet prematurely. I think the vision of the Internet as a democratizing medium.. as everyone's printing press.. is real. We got distracted from that by the mass hallucinations of the bubble.
A lot of people, myself included, are excited about blogging and stuff like that, citizen journalism, but I do remind people that no matter how excited we are, there's no substitute for professional writing, no substitute for professional editing, and no substitute for professional fact-checking.
We are a very open, very democratic site, which means we get all sorts of people. We do get some bad guys who are a few fries short of a Happy Meal. So we have to enlist the aid of our community to help us. The lesson implicit in this is that people will help you out and behave in a really good way. If you trust them, they will respond to that trust.
We think of Craigslist as a form of Social Media.We provide a simple service that is mostly free and we leave money in the community, instead of taking it away. Shared values, nothing fancy, treating people like we want to be treated. What works on the net works for people in general. The net has very little to do with technology, what matters is how people use the technology.