: Heath Row posts some of Craig’s List’s Craig Newmark’s remarks at SXSW on my favorite topic: populism:
Ask for feedback. Read all feedback and summarize. Do something in response. Repeat. That’s our fundamental pattern. I report to customer service. It’s the job of customer service to tell the tech guys what features people need and how to create new tools so customer service can operate better. Customer service is something that I’ve obsessed about.
Craig’s List is an exercise in the mundane, in the everyday stuff. It’s a community where people can get the word out when it comes to real-world stuff, give each other a break, and make their voice heard to be included in the Internet. In ’99 when we had the dotcom frenzy, people lost sight of the fact that what you need to do is help people out with the essentials….
What have we seen over the years? People are increasingly media savvy. People can tell when someone is not speaking for real. People can tell when someone’s speaking with a corporate voice vs. a human voice. You go to a Web site, there’s a lot of happy, smiling people who are ecstatic you’re visiting their site, and you’re fairly disgusted with it. There are a lot of alternatives on the Web.
We’re making things change as individuals. There’s new forms of journalism going on. There’s social network software. …
Quantum physics is fun, but the only way we can change the world is by doing the mundane stuff everyday. And then doing it again. The everyday stuff we do is what really matters in the world. We need to develop a culture of trust and earn it again every day….
What have I learned about customer service? Customers are generally great at helping each other out. The first line workers know how to do things right, but it’s not a hot area. They need management support. Even disgruntled customers will help you out. And you need to engage with customers, not provide some sort of “black hole.”
You can actually trust people to do the right thing. If you do, they will. The number of people we have screwing around are a tiny minority….
Let the people help and manage the people and it works. It’s called democracy. It’s called the marketplace. It works if you let it.