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from Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2004

The Craigslist Phenomenon
by Idelle Davidson

Craig Newmark started his website to help friends. He now wants it to help the world.

Craig Newmark was the kid other kids picked on. Schoolmates didn't invite him to parties. He got low marks in "plays well with others." His sixth-grade teacher sent him to the school counselor, who fretted about Newmark's lack of social skills, then gave up and taught him chess, one of the least social games on the planet. In high school, Newmark wore a pocket protector and black-rimmed glasses, taped together. "When you grow up a nerd, you feel like an outsider," Newmark recalls. "It pretty much always sticks with you."

Newmark, now 51, is still an introvert, still attends social events and wonders what he's doing there, still makes wry jokes that can get lost in translation. "Feel free to look in the medicine cabinet," he tells a new visitor to his home.

"Someone can be academically intelligent and be socially retarded," he says, referring further questions about his social life to his hairdresser, who says, gently, that her client is more at ease with machines than with humans.

Alas, plainly said, Craig Newmark might just exist at the center of the black hole of the unhip universe. If so, it turned out to be the perfect place to create one of the hippest-and most popular-websites on the planet: Craigslist.org.

For information on obtaining the complete text of this article, email: imdavidson@comcast.net