We need more gushy "Internet rich dudes, they're just like us!" star profiles, don't we? The problem is, in the Valley, too few are willing to flaunt their success. Take this piece of fiction about Jim Buckmaster, Craigslist's CEO, in the Times of London: "He lives in a modest, rented apartment not far from the company’s global headquarters, a rickety 19th century house tucked between a pizza restaurant and a junk shop in San Francisco." If a "modest apartment" is a freestanding house — a rarity in San Francisco — which can accommodate 40 people for Thanksgiving, then sure. The article also repeats an old canard about how Newmark doesn't have a place to park his car — when he's had parking behind the house he owns for years.The humility of billionaires! No, the real "nerd values" on display are the ones responsible for this wealth. Like the $16 million Buckmaster and founder Craig Newmark got in brokering a deal to let eBay buy a 28 percent stake in their company. Yet they still make a point of posing as heroes of the ultraliberal working class, second-hand Prius and all. Worse yet, people continue to buy it. And not just gullible reporters parachuting in from London, either. Larry from Minneapolis writes in a comment:
This is just about the finest article I have ever read about the craigslist phenomenom. My respect for Buckmaster and Newmark is increased 100 fold. People don't understand that at it's core, craigslist is a revolution. And no one can stop a revolution. Larry, Minneapolis, USA
The real Craigslist phenomenon is that reporters keep writing up Newmark and Buckmaster as down-to-earth geeks — and Craigslist users eagerly buy the rhetoric. It's a masterwork of propaganda. But it's as true as Buckmaster's apartment is modest.