This morning I checked out the eBay Ink blog, doing my daily diligence, searching for new information for my readers and myself... Today's article in eBay Ink is about the eBay Desktop application reaching the milestone of one million downloads... So far, ho hum for me as I am not a big proponent of the eBay desktop tool.
But I read the article further and I am very glad that I did... because within this article it seems Richard Brewer Hay found an eBay Corporate employee with some vision, both for the future and the past.
Richard interviewed Mr. Alan Lewis for this article. Alan is attributed or tasked with writing the eBay Desktop blog and as such he would be the evangelist within the company to speak to for facts and details regarding the application. Alan I am sure is a very knowledgeable person when it comes to the eBay desktop application and my impression is that he believes in the app but I am more interested in his views about other matters at eBay.
On working at eBay
Alan has been with eBay for 4 and a half years now and we talked about the changes he has seen over the past few years and what his observations are overall. Sure, we talked about all the great things about working here at eBay and why we come to work every day but I wanted to talk about ways in which we could do better as a company.
He stressed that he feels communication has been flawed at times and that we need to do a better job communicating directly with all of our constituencies. Something we’ve talked a lot about here on Ink. He also talked about the shift in priorities. He contends that from 1999 to 2004, the company’s biggest priority was keeping up with the growth of the site and most decisions were made with scalability in mind. As a result, site usability ultimately suffered somewhat. Since that time, all new feature and product enhancements have been focused squarely on the user experience. Right now, we’re focusing on the buyer experience because this was a more neglected area during the time of great scalability… having said that, he also indicated that he didn’t feel like it is a buyer vs. seller approach (a lot of the time eBay users are both) but that every decision made is targeted at the overall user experience.
There are so many good points in what Alan Lewis says in this one article for eBay, I hope they take notice and ask this man to help them craft their message in the future. These are the kinds of messages everyone involved with eBay needs to hear. Sellers and buyers alike need to know that eBay itself is a huge behemoth of a machine, making changes to one part effects the entire organism. For a long time it has seemed that management within eBay had no clue about these effects or whom they were challenging at any given time with the changes made along the course of "scalability" development.
At least we now know, they know....
I realize Mr. Lewis may not be speaking directly for John Donahoe here, but maybe Mr. Donahoe should consider the message and craft his own to parallel what was said here.
I commented on eBay Ink with the following text:
This view has not been expressed from within eBay Corporate, or at least it has not been effectively communicated outside of San Jose. I think eBay sellers would really like to hear more from employees with inclusive messages like Alan Lewis.
Sellers are uncomfortable with the whole sellers vs buyers class battle. Sure there is friction when it comes to feedback issues and NPB problems but in the end, most all sellers like and appreciate buyers. Sellers need buyers and buyers need sellers but the thing eBay recently seems to have forgotten is that as a company, eBay needs both.
Thanks Richard for bringing this new voice, the voice of Alan Lewis to light. It is a fresh message and eBay needs to follow Mr. Lewis’s lead with the expression of the recognition that sellers and buyers are not mutually exclusive.
Congratulations Alan Lewis for your successes with the eBay desktop application, and KUDOS for saying what should have been said by eBay many months ago. Even if this message was not "official"... to me, it was sure good to hear!