Reading the long thread discussion on CouchSurfing titled “how’s the money flow?”, I found Irv Thomas’s contribution that summarizes an article of Forbes about Craiglist. The article is delicious: it is so good that Internet has been able to make reasonable and possible something that would have sounded totally unreasonable just few years ago.
Excerpts from the article below (by the way, I would love to be able to write in English half as well as this article …):
Craigslist President and Chief Executive Jim Buckmaster isn’t nuts. He just sounds that way, particularly to anyone who thinks that the point of running a business is, you know, to make money.
And that was enough to make his appearance last week at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference feel like a dizzying trip through Lewis Carroll’s looking glass.
Speaking in an unflappable, near-monotone, Buckmaster calmly discussed with UBS analyst Ben Schachter a business model which, by any rational standard, is completely insane.
OK, so Craigslist boasts a huge potential to make money, but isn’t really interested in generating big profits. Given that combination, why not raise funds through equity investments or advertising and then give the money away to charity, Schachter asked.
“I think it’s a valid argument and one that we don’t necessarily have a persuasive answer for,” Buckmaster said. “That is a proven model for doing good in the world. It just doesn’t happen to be our model. Ours is to try to be as philanthropic in our core business as we can be and leave all the money out there in the hands of users.”
We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality, already in progress.