Democracy or Profit? Ask Buckmaster
Imagine a guy that gets hundred of millions of page views and has no interest in monetizing. Imagine a guy that could sell his website for two billion dollars and is “just not interested”. That guy doesn’t exist? Meet Jim Buckmaster (yes, that’s his real name), CEO of Craigslist:
How about running AdSense ads from Google? Craigslist has considered that, Mr. Buckmaster said. They even crunched the numbers, which were “quite staggering.” But users haven’t expressed an interest in seeing ads, so it is not going to happen.
I tried to explain it yesterday, but most people are just not interested in economic democracy. Hard to understand why. No business model has been more successful.
Question: Are they communists?
Some old people call him a communist. Some consider him and his followers a danger to our economy. But come on, we all know that communism and its planned economy failed. That’s old news. Guys, open your mind! There is not just communist or capitalist. Maybe there are new forms of economy based on a different thinking…
We are not so much anti-capitalist (…). We’re fortunate enough to have built a very healthy business, even though we haven’t attempted to. All we have done is stop short of trying to become insanely wealthy. We have met billionaires and it sounds funny but it’s not necessarily a bed of roses to have that kind of money.
Here’s the news: Presently, we are experiencing the end of all hierarchic economic systems, and a new, healthy, democratic thinking forms a new form of economy that sooner or later will replace its predecessor.
Answer: Democracy is not an -ism
If the next old school capitalist comes along and wants to put you in a corner, tell him: Democracy is not an -ism. It’s not even an option. In the free world, it’s a given:
- You are not a communist if you’re sick of the old hierarchical economic structures
- You are not a communist if you give the old marketing nonsense the cold shoulder
- You are not a communist if you despise the old PR lies
All you are is a democratic thinker that proves his common sense. Jim Buckmaster:
People with that kind of wealth have to walk around with bodyguards. Their friends and extended families look at them in a way they wouldn’t necessarily choose. Their life becomes about figuring out how to employ all that money either by philanthropy or other means. So we don’t consider it that revolutionary to have stopped short of that.
A bad business man?
Jim Buckmaster could make as much money as Ballmer tomorrow, but he just doesn’t want to:
Jim Buckmaster, the chief executive of Craigslist, caused lots of head-scratching Thursday as he tried to explain to a bunch of Wall Street types why his company is not interested in “monetizing” his ridiculously popular Web operation. Appearing at the UBS global media conference in New York, Mr. Buckmaster took questions from the bemused audience, which apparently could not get its collective mind around the notion that Craigslist exists to help Web users find jobs, cars, apartments and dates ï¿½ and not so much to make money.
If you see business in terms of market share, productivity and product quality, Mr. Buckmaster is a much better business guy than Steve Ballmer:
Mr. Buckmaster said the company is doubling in size every year, as measured by page views and listings.
Fact is, Buckmaster is proving to the profit oriented audience that there are smarter ways to do business. The smartest way is to pay fair salaries, hire good people, keep the head count low, but most of all: Listen to your customer. Isn’t that what all business men say? Yes, but Buckmaster doesn’t only say so, he does so:
pages employees company (subsidiary sites) 1 10000 Yahoo! (Hotjobs, Flickr , etc) 2 90000 TimeWarner (AOL, CNN, Netscape, etc) 3 10000 (YouTube, Blogger, etc) 4 70000 Microsoft (MSN, Hotmail, etc) 5 50000 News Corp (Myspace, Fox, IGN, etc) 6 12000 eBay (Paypal, Skype, etc) 7 23 craigslist (N/A) 8 25000 BBC (N/A) 9 130000 Disney (ESPN, Go, ABC, etc) 10 12000 Amazon (IMDB, A9, etc)
Buckmaster is not an exotic fool. He is announcing, proving and confirming what business will have to become in order to be successful.Ð