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Business Ideas – How Craigslist was created without a Business Plan
Today we’re going to take a closer look at how the son of a single parent and struggling bookkeeper became a successful Internet entrepreneur. Despite having started off with no business plan, this man built on of the top ten Internet sites in the world. This is the story of Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
“From the very beginning, I was involved in talking to people, listening to people. And it hasn’t stopped. The idea was that people send me information; I’d ask them about it, listen, try to do something about it – and then ask for more feedback.” – Craig Newmark
Craig Newmark (born December 6, 1952) is an American entrepreneur that started with an idea to inform people that turned into Craigslist, a multimillion dollar Internet business. Newmark grew up in Morristown, New Jersey. His father, a salesman who peddled everything from food to insurance, died of lung cancer shortly after Newmark’s bar mitzvah. His mother worked as a bookkeeper and struggled to make ends meet after her husband passed away. Newmark went to Morristown High School, where he became co-captain of the debate team, and also an active member of the forensics club. He also started his own club, which met regularly to play the game Go.
A few years after graduating college, Newmark worked for IBM in Florida then for Charles Schwab in San Francisco. Newmark then began working as an independent consultant, taking on contracts with Bank of America, Xircom, Sun Microsystems and more. After several years of observing people on the Internet and how they used online tools to help each other out, Newmark decided to start his own email service to notify people about cool arts and technology events in San Francisco.
When Newmark’s simple email listings reached over 240 subscribers, he could no longer carry on as he was; even his cc field would not accept anymore email addresses. Instead of shutting down, Newmark decided to move his list to a public server for all to access. He wanted to call his new website “SF-Events” but some of his closer friends suggested calling it “Craigslist” to emphasize the personal and down-to-earth nature of the list. In its first few years, Newmark ran the site as a part-time hobby, continuing his consulting work full-time during the day. He tried to bring on some volunteers, but they did not pan out as Newmark expected. That is when he had an epiphany. He hired the right CEO and Craigslist took off. Craigslist was earning over $10 million in revenues by 2004. Then, in 2005, for a price tag of $15 million, eBay purchased a 25% stake in the company from a former shareholder. As of 2010, Craigslist was generating more than $122 million annually.
Action Item #1: Get Out of the Way
Action Item #2: Do Things Better
Action Item #3: Listen
Despite his professional successes, Newmark struggled personally. He enrolled in ballet and jazz dance classes in order to meet women only to wind up in the hospital with a hernia. No matter what most people say, one of the biggest reasons Newmark started Craigslist was because of his struggling personal life. He is a self-admitted nerd, which really turned off women. He thought it was a good idea to start helping people by starting an email service for others like himself.
After finally getting too many people using his email service, Newmark started Craigslist. According to him, it is the reason he has the girlfriend he has today. He likes to say that Craigslist has prevented hurting himself just to meet women. Out of this struggle for personal contact, Newmark built one of the top-ten websites in the world. According to recent statistics, more than five million people use the site every month and more than one billion pages of Craigslist are looked at every month.
“There are different flavors of libertarianism, but my take is that its core values ‘treat people like you want to be treated’ and ‘live and let live,’ which works for most humans.”
“It has helped people who have a hard time meeting other people. They’re using the site and becoming friends, lovers, and every possible twist on those two situations.”
“I admit that when I think of the money one could make from all this, I get a little twinge. But I’m pretty happy with nerd values: Get yourself a comfortable living, then do a little something to change the world.”
“Follow through with basic values, and remember to provide good customer service.”
Everything is a state of mind: Amalia Ghiban
She considers herself a global citizen and after trying out various areas in economic background she decided to follow her passion about people and become a life coach. After going through a tough period of time with some failures and a race for self-awareness, she managed to make a 180 degree turn in her life and found her place in the world. She explains to us how success and failure is the two sides of the same coin but also how our feelings become our beliefs, our beliefs become our values and then our values become our behaviors that determine our lives. She believes in us as we should believe in ourselves.
The importance of a WRITTEN family business succession plan
Why does “selective-amnesia” often kick-in when discussing business issues?
Finance Talk: The Business Plan
What is the number one tool a new advisor should use on a daily basis?
Saygin Yalcin – Business Plan
Saygin Yalcin is the Founder and President of the first and largest online private shopping club in the Middle East, Sukar.com, Vice President at Souq.com and Partner at Jabbar Internet Group. Moreover, Saygin is Academic Lecturer of Entrepreneurship and Ecommerce at the Canadian University of Dubai, one of the leading universities, research and teaching institutions in the UAE.
Saygin has founded Sukar.com and in less than a year, the company has become the most successful e-commerce startup in the Middle East and, with Saygin at its helm, has grown into a multi-million-dollar business.
More than 1 million shoppers have invitation-only access to fashion, lifestyle and luxury products through daily offers at privileged prices. The club operates across nine countries, including the GCC, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt.
Souq.com, the largest online retailer in the Arab world has acquired Sukar.com in April 2012. With the investment of Tiger Global, Naspers (MIH) and Jabbar Internet Group in October 2012, the new Souq Group has been formed.
Prior to founding Sukar.com and collecting experience at multinational corporations, such as L’Oreal, the BMW Group or Capgemini Consulting, Saygin was Founder & CEO of Joe Suis GmbH; a premium luxury house for high end leather handbags and diamond jewelry, collaborating with online shopping clubs as major distribution channels.
Joe Suis has successfully been acquired by KupiVIP.ru to become one of the most successful private labels in Russia.
Saygin holds an international master’s degree in business administration and economics, having studied at top business schools in Germany (WHU), the USA (USC) and Mexico (ITAM). He is fluent in German, English, Spanish and Turkish.
You have an idea and you want to get going. But you hear that a business plan is a critical part of the next step. What are the components of a business plan that you need to develop? Presenter: Jim Goetz, Partner, Sequoia Capital. Recorded: February 27, 2008
The Business Plan
Jim Ellis talks about the elements of a successful business plan as well as common mistakes related to its development and use.