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The Mark of Craig-O

I stopped by Harvard’s annual conference on The Internet and Society this morning, mostly to see a panel on business and politics – what those two fields can learn from one another about using the Net.

The panel wandered…and wandered…fruitlessly looking for a focus.

But what struck me most were the contributions of panelist Craig Newmark (who described himself as a customer service representative at Craigslist.org, and also, by the way, its founder).

Craig described himself as a combination of Batman and Zorro, spending much of his time fighting unscrupulous users of Craigslist (like the Manhattan real estate agents who list an incredible East Side apartment for $750, then pull a bait-and-switch, offering a much more expensive pad instead). When I spoke with him afterward, he talked proudly about putting scammers in jail, and helping the FBI and the Secret Service conduct international investigations.

“We’re run by a moral compass,” he said during the panel. “The community drives what we do. They tell us what’s right and wrong.”

But Craig himself also has a pretty strong affinity for truth, justice, and the American way. That ought to me more widespread in business – and politics.

SK