The latest issue of Fortune magazine has an interview with Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster — who may qualify as the world’s tallest free-standing chief executive, at six foot eight inches — in which the writer asks Jim some questions provided by readers, and then asks some of his own. The answers are very similar to the ones that the Craigslist CEO gave to Mark Evans when he did a keynote interview with Buckmaster during mesh (there’s video of their chat here, thanks to mDialogue and Mark McKay).
One of the interesting things for me, because I’m nosy (occupational hazard, I’m afraid) came at the end of the interview, when Jim mentioned where he and his partner Susan Best like to go to relax: an organic farm called Emandal in Mendocino County. I figured it must be some kind of swanky resort with a gourmet chef, but I should have known better, given Buckmaster’s disinterest in such trappings of wealth.
As it turns out, Emandal is a tiny, unassuming family farm on a back-country road in the middle of nowhere and reportedly includes an ostrich named Huey. As it happens, one of the top results in Google for the term “Emandal” is a collection of photos from Smugmug of Jim and Susan enjoying their time at the farm (including a visit with Huey). Nice to see that Jim doesn’t just talk about not being interested in money — he acts like it too.
If you attended mesh 2007 a week or so ago, the keynote conversation between my friend and fellow mesh organizer Mark Evans and craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster was likely on your list of highlights — I know it was for me, and I think it probably was for Mark too.
I wrote an earlier post about it, in which I mentioned how funny Jim was (in a very laid-back and understated kind of way) and how much insight he provided into the way that craigslist operates. Now there is some high-quality video of the entire keynote up at mDialogue.com, thanks to the hard work of Greg Philpott and his team, and also to the fine editing work of Mark McKay, who also filmed mesh himself (and was the winner of our mesh video award for this clip).
Who knew that Jim Buckmaster, the CEO of the massively popular craigslist classified advertising/community, was such a funny guy? Not yuck-yuck, clown-in-a-little-car funny, but insightful and funny in a very dry and laid-back sort of way. And there’s a lot of Jim to lay back, since he’s very tall — six-foot-seven or so, I believe.
His mesh “keynote conversation” with Mark Evans this morning was not just fascinating and informative — especially about the way that craigslist manages to run a site that gets 9 billion page views a day with just 200 servers (Jim said he heard that Google has about a million) and 24 staff — but also funny.
For example, Jim was asked by someone what was the weirdest thing he’s ever seen on craigslist, and Buckmaster said at first that he couldn’t mention some of them in mixed company, and then said he had found a couple in the “best of” section of the Toronto site of all places — including one in which a woman said “Spadina subway station, I spilled my grandmother on you (because I was carrying an urn with her ashes in it); think we got off to a bad start, would love to have coffee.”
Delivered in his laconic way, it was hilarious. There were many moments like that, and also tons of insight into the laser-like focus that craigslist has on its users — they are effectively in control of the company, Buckmaster said over and over. If they don’t want it or ask for it, it doesn’t happen.
Tony Hung of Deep Jive Interests has a couple of great live-blogging posts here and here.