Jim Buckmaster makes an unusual CEO. The 6-foot-7, Ann Arbor, Mich.-native was an avowed hippy who marched in anti-war protests, rode a bicycle wherever he went, baked his own bread, and ground his own soybeans to make tofu. He'd probably be out of place in a corner suite at most American corporations. But for Craigslist Inc., Buckmaster has been a good fit.
Buckmaster's journey to Craigslist started in a roundabout way at the University of Michigan, where he studied to become a doctor. He lasted a year-and-a-half before deciding that he was bored by the line of training. To pay off the debt he had accrued from medical school and his undergraduate years, Buckmaster got into computers, by first doing data entry and eventually moving up to programming. One day, a colleague of his showed him something called the World Wide Web, and Buckmaster was hooked.
The lure of the Silicon Valley took Buckmaster to the Bay Area when he was 33. Two years later he moved to San Francisco for a job in a short-lived start-up.
Buckmaster then posted his resume on Craigslist in 1999. The site's founder, Craig Newmark, spotted the posting and hired Buckmaster as a programmer. In 2000, a year later, Buckmaster became president and chief executive of the company, positions he has held ever since.