The Zen of Craigslist

San Francisco-based classifieds site runs on human nature more than advanced features, argues new Wired cover story

Sure, the folks at San Francisco-based Craigslist are estimated to pull in $100 million this year, but if founder Craig Newmark is to be believed, he could care less.

Newmark, who's deadpan equanimity is legendary, thrives on email for his interpersonal communication -- just as the site still does a decade after its founding when "email is dead" has been the mantra of SMS, IM and Facebook junkies for years.

That and more intriguing facts about the company and its philosophy -- CEO Jim Buckmaster is described as combatting spammers with haiku -- are revealed in a thought-provoking feature in Wired magazine that BayNewser has helpfully summarized.

Craigslist is terribly behind the design times, frustrates some developers who try to add new features, and is embroiled in a dispute with eBay over ownership -- and that's just the geeky stuff.

As any user will tell you, the site is also awash in spam and scams, and as any media outlet will remind you, crimes both hilarious and tragic are every day enabled by the site.

And for all that, it's job listings, one of the few areas of the site where it costs money to post an advertisement, generate more Web traffic than Monster, CareerBuilder and Yahoo's HotJobs combined.

All that from a company of thirty employees with an office environment as quiet as a zazen sitting, making Craigslist the ultimate in business koans.

Jackson West can confirm that Newmark is a bit of a sphinx in person, but not in a bad way.

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