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2008 Commencement Keynote Address

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Uploaded on May 23, 2008

Case Western Reserve University
2008 Commencement Keynote Address
Speaker: Craig Newmark
Location: Veale Center
Date: 18 May 2008

A self-described "nerd" while a student at Case Western Reserve University 30-plus years ago, Craig Newmark said he and others like him tended to migrate to the earliest versions of the Internet because it offered the promise of acceptance. "I realized, somehow, this thing included everyone . . . and that is the vision behind craigslist," the double alumnus told the audience, estimated at 7,000—including more than 1,500 graduates and families—gathered in the Veale Center for, and watching a live webcast of, the university's 2008 commencement convocation. Craigslist‚ which Newmark began as an e-mail list to inform friends about events, has since developed into an Internet classified service that today serves more than 30 million visitors from 450 cities and 50 countries. Newmark said his Internet empire of ads, which is flourishing in the hands of its users, has taught him some of the most aluable lessons he could impart to the class of 2008: what may be considered the most "boring, commonplace, everyday stuff" are the very things that matter most to people and getting out of the way so others can do what they do best is one of the biggest secrets to success. "Give people a break. Treat them like you want to be treated," Newmark said. "Sometimes the best thing we can do at the end of the day is live and let live, and it works pretty well." Newmark's remarks and his occasional blog and Twitter entry during commencement events were among the bright spots on a day that started with overcast and rainy skies but saw clouds part and sun shine as the academic procession stepped off from Adelbert Hall. During his brief, conversational commencement address, Newmark also noted the power of a world wide Web of like-minded individuals, be they computer geek or public figure, on or off the Internet.
"We've seen, as individuals working together, we can make some changes," he said. "The Internet allows us . . . to get together to make some things happen. So get involved to make a difference," Newmark encouraged the graduates, "because we finally can."

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