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.