An Unconventional Company

This weekend I finally decided to sell my first road bike.  I bought it around this time in 2006, and it didn’t take long for cycling to displace running as my #2 hobby.  And once that happened, it was inevitable that I’d “need” to upgrade my ride.

So on Saturday I cleaned up the not-so-old Giant and posted it on craigslist.  This was my first time to use craigslist and the results were pretty amazing.  Within a few hours I was contacted by 5 different people and by the next morning the bike was sold and gone. 

If you’re not familiar with craigslist, it’s a pretty interesting and unconventional company.  It’s the world’s biggest classifieds service (including newspapers) and also a top 20 web property — every month about 40 million people visit roughly 500 local craigslist sites. 

What’s unusual about the company is that it doesn’t have big commercial aspirations.  Craigslist has less than 30 employees offers most of its services for free.  If the company focused on generating revenue, it could easily generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually.  But the founder of craigslist, Craig Newmark, has chosen to operate more like a non-profit than a commercial enterprise.  Personally, I don’t get it.  But, hey, I appreciate the free classified ad, Craig!


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