I wasn't really looking for a new job a few months ago when I received an email from Eric Scheide (see Team Bios), the CTO at craigslist. He mentioned that they were looking for someone with MySQL experience and asked if I knew anyone. This sort of thing happens all the time.


But this time it was different. Over the course of about three seconds, something clicked in my little brain and I realized that craigslist is a pretty unique combination of things: a small company with a solid financial base, a great service that I use myself, a focused groups of people who really care about doing things well, and an open-source friendly environment.

I replied that I might be interested myself and things kind of took on a life of their own from there. In the weeks that followed, I got the chance to meet much of the team (including CEO Jim Buckmaster and Craig himself). Each time I came away liking more and more about the team. I've also been impressed at how well the company takes care of its people and how thoughtful they are about making important decisions.

So after taking a few weeks off for some planned travel and unplanned relaxation, I'll start assimilating myself into the craigslist engineering culture and lending a hand wherever I can. Yes, some of that will entail going back to my MySQL roots.

The site is growing like a weed (still!), the people are great, and the focus is on providing a great service that anyone can use. At the same time, there are a lot of technical challenges (they get a ton of page views) and great opportunities to grow the site and give back to both the open source community and all the communities around the world that craigslist serves--a list that's growing all the time.

Not that I really care much what other people think, but the reactions I've had so far when telling people have been universally positive. Very positive. That tells me I'm on the right track.

The only real downside is that crigslist is in San Francisco and I'm in San Jose. So if you have thoughts on getting to the vicinity of 9th and Judah using public transit, let me know. I won't be commuting up every day, but I suspect I'll be trying a few options before settling on what works best.

Previously: Leaving Yahoo!, and The Aftermath.


Posted by jzawodn at June 19, 2008 07:24 AM

Reader Comments
# Geof F. Morris said:

Yahoo!'s loss is absolutely Craigslist's gain. Either way, the Internet still wins. Enjoy the new gig, Jeremy.

on June 19, 2008 07:33 AM
# Ed Kohler said:

Congrats on the new gig. This does seem like a good fit based on the little I know about you through your blog. Have fun with your time off.

on June 19, 2008 07:44 AM
# Luca said:

When I saw the title of your post, my first thought was "what a superb match!"

Congrats to you for landing such an exciting gig, and to the Craigslist folks for such an incredible addition to their team.

on June 19, 2008 07:49 AM
# Carlo Zottmann said:

Hey, that's pretty cool! Have fun there. :)

on June 19, 2008 07:54 AM
# Christian Sauer said:

Been reading your blog for awhile now and I agree with Luca that as soon as I saw the title I thought "that's just perfect".

Congrats on the new job and good luck!

on June 19, 2008 07:57 AM
# Anil said:

Fantastic! Absolutely terrific news, and I'm really happy you are going to an organization worthy of your talents. Both sides are getting a really good deal here. :)

on June 19, 2008 08:15 AM
# Former Bay Area Commuter said:

Take CalTrain to S.F. then the N Judah streetcar (right there at the CalTrain station). Get off N Judah at 9th, easy peasy.

on June 19, 2008 08:17 AM
# Kevin Marks said:

Congratulations, Jeremy, that sounds like a great job for you. I was just praising your MySQL book and knowledge to a startup founder last night.
I commuted to SF from SJ for nearly 4 years while at Technorati; I recommend a bike + Caltrain - you get exercise at both ends, and a hour or 90 mins of good laptop reading or coding time on the train each way.

on June 19, 2008 08:27 AM
# Mike said:

I used to work second shift in Digex's facility in San Jose and date a girl in The Mission who lived across from a garage that closed at midnight sharp. This meant I had exactly one hour.

1) CHP seem to love the 101. You've been warned
2) It was an hour at 11 PM. I don't want to think about what it's like during the day.
3) You could always fly

on June 19, 2008 08:36 AM
# Andy Baio said:

A perfect fit. Congrats again.

on June 19, 2008 08:37 AM
# Matt McAlister said:

Nicely done, Jeremy. Yes, a perfect fit.

on June 19, 2008 08:44 AM
# Justin Watt said:

1) move to San Francisco
2) walk

on June 19, 2008 08:58 AM
# J.D. Duncan said:

I don't know how close you live to Diridon Station -- which surely makes a difference -- but unfortunately the Caltrain/N-Judah connection can easily take two hours, where the drive up 280 might be barely more than 45 minutes. (When 19th Ave. is bad, you can take Junipero Serra to West Portal to 15th to Judah. Or, some people prefer to stay on 280 past 19th and take the O'Shaughnessy / Laguna Honda route.)

Muni does a decent job of connecting the Sunset to downtown SF, but transit connections to the peninsula are pretty poor.

on June 19, 2008 09:01 AM
# Matt Asay said:

The only potential downside is Craigslist's apparent lack of desire to make money. This might be a plus in your book, but it's unlikely to IPO or anything like that. Again, this might not be a negative, but it's the only quasi-negative I can think of related to the move.

on June 19, 2008 09:03 AM
# Scott Beale said:

That's excellent news. Congratulations to both you and craigslist!

on June 19, 2008 09:08 AM
# xian said:

Much as I will miss your dry humor and steady integrity around the barn, I have to admit that craigslist + jzawodn sounds to me like a marriage made in heaven.

A great challenge, a small team, an inspiring approach to "create more value than you capture," a pioneer of the "customer service is the new marketing," Craig himself - all of that feels like a great opportunity for you and craigslist.

For the win!

p.s.: I used to live at 6th and Judah - it's a great neighborhood.

on June 19, 2008 09:08 AM
# Karen OBrien said:

Congrats on your new gig!

on June 19, 2008 09:08 AM
# katie stanton said:

Fabulous! I'm really happy for you and Craigslist! Sounds like an excellent move. Congrats!

on June 19, 2008 09:13 AM
# Keith Instone said:

Congrats on the new job.

Noticing a little bit of midwest-ness at Craigslist. Craig, Case Western, Jim/U of M/Ann Arbor, and now you, BGSU/Toledo.

Sounds like a fun place to work. Keep in touch with those of us still in the midwest.

on June 19, 2008 09:17 AM
# Molly said:

Welcome to the neighborhood! I'll be about 2 blocks from you. Not sure about the best way to get here from San Jose, but www.hopstop.com might be able to tell you the best route.

on June 19, 2008 09:43 AM
# Dave (Papa) said:

Awesome JZ. I used to live in that neighborhood and would walk by the Craigslist office (house) all the time. There are a ton of great restaurants in that 'hood and you're real close to Golden Gate Park in case you need to take a walk and get a breath of fresh air.

I will say that the N-Judah/Caltrain commute is kinda long. I'm not sure I would recommend it regularly.

If you are driving, you can park a few blocks to the west all-day (if you can find a spot - UCSF folk compete for residential street spaces). In the immediate vicinity of 9th and Irving, you'll need a residential parking pass (otherwise it's 2 hour parking).

Either way, congrats. I think I need to ask you about a good mysql person too ;-)

on June 19, 2008 09:52 AM
# Joe Lazarus said:

Wow, what a great gig. Craigslist is one of the most impressive companies around. Congrats!

on June 19, 2008 09:58 AM
# Randy Stewart said:

Wow man... now there is a gig I wouldn't have expected. I didn't even know that they hired people.

I've always respected Craigslist for thinking big, but doing it in the smallest way possible.

I used to live in Cole Valley and run into Craig on an occasional basis. The neighborhood around 9th and Irving is really great. You might just consider the walking to work suggestion above.

Glad to hear you're going to someplace so great. Good luck.


on June 19, 2008 10:00 AM
# Mat said:

Great to hear that! This is a definite win for craigslist.

on June 19, 2008 10:21 AM
# Terry Heaton said:

I think this is a great fit and look forward to how you help Craigslist move forward. We all gain here. The only loser is Yahoo!

on June 19, 2008 10:26 AM
# bl.asphemo.us said:

Congrats on the new gig! I think you'll like working in the city but will like it even more if you end up moving there for it. Between the South Bay and SF, working in one while living in the other is testing.

on June 19, 2008 10:27 AM
# Javaun Moradi said:

Congratulations! Craigslist sounds like a great fit on many levels. Besides the work environment, the people, and the technology, Craigslist is an extremely important (and free) information sharing resource. It's simple, innovative, and beautiful -- one of my favorite reasons to go online.

The commute is rough but doable via public transit. I'm on the east coast, but I know my brother did the reverse, lived in SF and commuted to San Jose. I believe it is CalTrain.

on June 19, 2008 10:29 AM
# David Dalka said:

Wow do I have some suggestions for you on this topic!

Give me a shout!

on June 19, 2008 10:40 AM
# Scott L said:

Congrats on the new gig.

As a Yahoo! who used to daily do the reverse commute from SF to Sunnyvale (now I'm out of the Santa Monica office), I would suggest the caltrain the best public transit commute choice. Be sure you take the N-Judah and avoid the city bus, which can get mired in traffic. It is about a two-hour trip each way. You will need a wireless card :).

I used to work out there at 9th and Irving when I was in college, that's a wonderful neighborhood! I would seriously consider moving to the city if I was in your shoes.

on June 19, 2008 11:45 AM
# Mike Manuel said:

and you'll kick-butt there too, congrats jeremy.

on June 19, 2008 12:43 PM
# Sunny Walia said:

Good luck Jeremy! I use craigslist quite a bit too and I am happy that you will be joining their team.

on June 19, 2008 01:05 PM
# said:

Unfortunately the commute will be horrendous. If you live close to 280, that will be your best bet, but 19th avenue traffic will suck. Taking Caltrain/Muni is not an option, if you value your time. The Laguna Honda route that someone suggested will be your fastest route. I would expect nothing less than a 1:10 to 1:30 commute each way. The 280 is 45 with no traffic, and driving into the city will take at least 20 mins.

on June 19, 2008 01:42 PM
# Rayed said:

Congratulations to you and to us :)
Now that is a good news

on June 19, 2008 02:46 PM
# Joe Hunkins said:

Jeremy you'll be a superb addition to the amazing Craigslist folks! I just hope you can convince Craig and Jim to be *even more magnificent stewards* of the internet and global economy by considering the following:

(Potential Craigslist profits) - (actual profits) = X

Use .9X for good causes, most notably global health and education projects where the cash to goodness ROI is spectacular. Use .1X to market the concept and throw parties and show how companies can thrive, do good, and have fun all at the same time.

on June 19, 2008 02:53 PM
# Bill said:

If you plan to come up to San Francisco more than twice a week, don't take public transit (I did the public transit trip from S.F. to the South Bay 5 days a week for several months). If you were working in downtown S.F. it would be a different story, but to get to 9th & Judah, the Caltrain + MUNI combination will be two hours each way. Driving will be about half that (depending on whether or not you're going during commute hours). In all seriousness, I'd plan on driving or moving.

For driving, I highly recommend checking these two websites before you leave home:

1) 511 Traffic Map with Driving Times--displays Bay Area traffic congestion data from Caltrans' road sensors and can provide estimated driving times for routes

2) CHP Traffic Incident Information--displays CHP traffic incidents from their dispatch center (default display is for Los Angeles, choose Bay Area in upper left)

on June 19, 2008 02:57 PM
# DEckoff said:

Jeremy, congrats on your new gig!

Since we were on a panel together at Charles River Ventures CEO Summit, I've enjoyed reading your blog and Tweets since then.

Looking forward to hearing about your new adventures!


on June 19, 2008 03:48 PM
# miles said:

Congratulations Jeremy

sounds like a great fit, but not so great commute. I live right by there if you need a garage to park in during the day :)

that reminds me, is the new version of the book out yet? off to amazon to check...

on June 19, 2008 04:09 PM
# Delia said:


You sound like you are buying what I see as the craigslist BS wholesale -- I hope you understand what you are getting yourself into...


P.S. I'd definitely step back and take a critical look at it. Good luck! D.

on June 19, 2008 06:44 PM
# E. David Zotter said:

How about flying there? A good reason to add helicopter lessons to your to-do list.

on June 19, 2008 06:48 PM
# Elton Bicalho do Carmo said:

Congrats on your new job.

I am really excited about upcoming features that will be raised with this wedding. The community will aprove it.

It's a great loss to Yahoo and I a huge gain for web community.

Good luck!

on June 19, 2008 08:43 PM
# Ken Nickless said:

Best of luck with your new appointment.

on June 19, 2008 10:11 PM
# Tony T. said:

good move. I live in the city but commute to Sunnyvale. I don't think public transportation for you will be an option.

Caltrain -> Bart -> Bus will take you close to 2 hours each way.

Another option is Caltrain -> ZipCar or Caltrain to Muni (N Judah)

on June 20, 2008 12:09 AM
# said:

Best wishes on your new gig; congratulations!!

My best commuting suggestion is to sell your place in SJ and move to SF. SF is way, way cooler than the burbs, the restaurants are better. Before you have kiddos, you owe it to yourself to live downtown.

on June 20, 2008 12:25 AM
# MaddyK said:
on June 20, 2008 01:17 AM
# David Reitter said:

We had Jim Buckmaster over here in Edinburgh last year, and what I found most impressive was his no-bullshit, level-headed attitude. He's running one (or many!) of the sites with the highest load around, but he still doesn't see the need for business buzzwords or even chasing profits at any cost.

Craigslist must be great fun to work for. Good luck (from a fellow glider pilot)

on June 20, 2008 07:57 AM
# Tamar Weinberg said:

Nice. Craigslist is lucky to have you. Congratulations :)

on June 20, 2008 09:11 AM
# Pooya Karimian said:

late to the party but good luck. like like Joe Hunkins said I too am wishing you can make a change at Craigslist: make them more open, apis, developer.craigslist.org, etc. They have the option of becoming a more open-less greedy alternative for paypal and ebay if they work it hard.

on June 20, 2008 09:14 AM
# Yu-Shan said:

Great move Jeremy! Craigslist could have gotten big but chose to stay small, a good philosophy to buy into. Best of luck!

on June 20, 2008 09:19 AM
# Son Nguyen said:

I'm really glad you choose Craigslist. That's the single company I'm still admired for a long time. I hope with your help, Craigslist can stay strong, independent, and relevant with the community.

on June 20, 2008 11:55 AM
# Brian M said:


Nothing can be scarier than jumping ship to a new employer, especially one who is far from home, but I know that you will prosper.

Best of luck!

Brian M

on June 20, 2008 06:34 PM
# Gerald said:

I've been reading your mysql work since back around 2000. Congrats on the new job at craigslist. I look for many new and good things to come from there now (and they do a very good job presently). I guess Eric just hit you on the right day at the right time with the right question.

on June 20, 2008 10:26 PM
# Rob Steele said:

Hey, you're famous! Barron's Technology Trader column mentions your leaving as one of Yahoo!'s woes:

Giving more urgency to the "Oust Jerry" forces is the deterioration of Yahoo!'s executive team. In the past week or two, Yahoo! has lost Qi Lu, EVP of search and advertising; Brad Garlinghouse, SVP for communications and communities; Vish Makhijani, SVP for search; Jeff Weiner, EVP of the network division; Usama Fayyad, EVP and chief data officer; Jeremy Zawodny, who started Yahoo!'s developer network, and Flickr co-founders Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield. Reports Friday indicate that a big reorganization of the corporate brass is planned.

Next, the cover of Rolling Stone!

on June 21, 2008 11:07 AM
# Murali Krishna Devarakonda said:

Can't wait to see what wonderful things come out of this made-in-heaven marriage! I also hope that having someone of your profile is going to tilt the scales in their favor in their lawsuit with eBay.

Btw, I'm fixing some bugs in RideStation.com, and hopefully by the time you're back from planned travel and unplanned relaxation, you should be able to use it to find people to RideShare with you on-demand.

Whether you drive or they do, you get to save the environment (and save a few bucks) too.

Feel free to email me if you want more details.

on June 21, 2008 05:57 PM
# Gusma said:

Hey Jeremy. Congrats, truly. Glad to see you're OK with change. Matter of fact, I'll be going to SF in two months or so. What's the best way to commute between the two cities besides car? I'd appreciate your reply. Thanks!

on June 23, 2008 11:52 AM
# Eric said:

I'm probably the only naysayer, but it seems like you could focus on something new and exciting, but instead you're opting to go somewhere to solve The Same Old Problems again.

Aren't you bored? You should totally find an exciting project, and not just rest on your scaling-MySQL laurels (no offense intended!).

I'm sure the work environment and financial rewards will be great for you (and congrats, craigslist is sweet), but it'd be great if you could really focus on Something New!

on June 24, 2008 03:19 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


Such as...?

on June 24, 2008 04:18 PM
# Eric said:

Dammit - I just posted a long, drawn-out response but lost it after I submitted (forgot to type your name in the form, back button, safari, kapow). So here's another less-well-thought-out one:

I just think there are a lot of bigger/more "meta" systems that could be built in an open way to really help the community of sites out there trying to scale do so, and it'd be great fun to build those. Moving some of the problems with applications such as mysql &co up to the systems/deployment layer (thereby building for better fault tolerance), building an amazing load balancer/frontend, building a system to manage capacity of the varied systems (load balancing, db, web, cache, etc) on the fly, are all things I would think you might be interested in, and would probably be great fun to architect and build.

There are lots of unsolved problems out there, or problems that have been solved in private over and over. I'm pretty much assuming your interests and definition of "fun" are similar to mine, which could be a really poor assumption; I'm focused mostly on scalability and fault tolerance of clusters in general, and love building huge systems that take care of themselves. I've seen so many of these problems solved over and over again; perhaps there is an open solution I'm missing out there, but it seems like it's just not there yet.

I know some of these are really vague descriptions, but I'm assuming you'll understand what I'm pointing at.

It seems to me you are really talented and you and a small, talented team could really nail some of the bigger/harder problems that people face over and over. I think *those* are interesting. MySQL by itself isn't so interesting.

Perhaps these aren't your goals or idea of fun, or craigslist will afford you the opportunity to tackle some stuff like this (or something equally fun). If I ever start a company I'll call you and find out.

I'm in a food coma from dinner so hopefully this post came out comprehensible. I hope you have fun at craigslist, and (continue to) do great things. Best of luck to you.

on June 24, 2008 07:45 PM
# tony scott said:

Jeremy how is every thing with new job. Any improvment.

on June 28, 2008 08:02 AM
# Renaud Richardet said:

Congrats on the new job. It's great you followed you guts. Looking forward to read more about what you'll do at Craigslist.

on July 22, 2008 10:25 AM
# Daniel said:

hope the jobs going well and you havent pulled all your hair out with stress!!!

on July 16, 2010 09:14 AM
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