eBay – Losing Talent High and Low – Where is the CTO?

Our friend and co-blogger Randy Smythe wrote an article entitled Will eBay Take Their Medicine in the 3rd Quarter? .

In this article Randy alludes to the numerous eBay employee resumes which are making the rounds around Silicon Valley. And an apparent hiring freeze at eBay.

Specifically Randy mentions the fact that eBay Stores General Manager Eric Shoup has left the company.

Quote from My Blog Utopia:

Eric Shoup, Director and General Manager of eBay Stores and ProStores has left the company to take a new position as Vice President of Product at The Generations Network, a Provo, Utah based Genealogy web site. Eric worked at eBay for the past 5 years and was just recently put in charge of the eBay Stores business in addition to ProStores. There is no word yet on a replacement or what eBay's plans are for ProStores and eBay Stores.

Many of my readers are aware of my connection with and advocacy of eBay Stores.  This somewhat surreptitious departure of Eric Shoup calls to question the longevity of the eBay Stores platform. 

Will eBay Stores remain a part of eBay after the fixed price 30 days listing option will go into effect on September 16th? Or will they just fade away like eBay express?  ebay has not made any announcements in this regard on either side of the Atlantic and our Friends at Tamebay have been asking the question for over a week.

Other rumblings of possible layoffs at eBay corporate have been making the rounds. As Randy Smythe mentions, this could become a reality prior to the start of the 4th quarter as a cost cutting move to show better numbers to Wall Street. 

  • Will these layoffs be enough?
  • Will removing the human factor from eBay be something Wall Street rewards them for? 
  • Isn't the strength of any company in its people?
  • In other News: eBay Scores 100% in Corporate Equality Index 

But Why the Home Depot logo? and Where is the CTO?

Tonight some stunning news comes across the wire, and again I must thank Randy Smythe for sniffing it out first...

eBay's Chief Technology Officer Matt Carey has left the company for Home Depot.

Consider the significance of this news, (which was not announced by eBay by the way).

The importance of stability at the Chief Technology Officers position within a company like eBay can not be understated. The importance of continuity at this position during a period of transition, such has eBay has embarked upon in the last 8 months is inestimable. 

  • What will happen to the technology initiatives eBay has embarked upon but has yet to finish? 
  • Where will the road map to eBay's reconstruction project now be kept?
  • How will eBay find a replacement when it is undergoing obviously one of the largest technology challenges in the company's history?
  • Who would want the job?
  • When a new CTO is found, will he/she agree with the path set forth by Matt Carey?
  • If they disagree with Matt's plan, how long will it take to embark on yet another new direction?

I sincerely hope eBay will announce they have a qualified and enthusiastic replacement in the wings. I also hope this replacement CTO is also up to speed on all of the diverse and global technology changes occurring at eBay during this period of evolution on the site. 

If eBay does not have that person at the ready, or have a team of people at the ready, I would not want to be long on eBay stock.

The announcement of Matt Carey's departure comes at a very strange and ironic time, when it was announced by eBay on the very same day that the company was awarded the 2007 National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

I believe most would agree, it is a shame Matt Carey won't be around to accept his award.

UPDATE: From - Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal:

EBay Inc. said Thursday it has hired technology executive Mark Carges for the newly created post of senior vice president, platform.

Carges will be part of San Jose-based eBay's (NASDAQ:EBAY) executive management team and will report to chief executive John Donahoe, the company said. Carges will be responsible for accelerating eBay’s platform innovation and further opening the platform to outside developers to enhance the customer experience and enable new business opportunities.

Carges most recently was executive vice president, products and general manager for the Business Interaction Division of BEA Systems Inc., which was acquired by Oracle Corp. in April. During more than a decade at BEA, Carges held a variety of other senior technology leadership roles, including chief technology officer.

“Mark’s experience and leadership will be a great asset as we create a global platform strategy to enhance our operations and accelerate our commitment to opening our platform in a way that is good for customers, developers and our Community,” Donahoe said.

From eBay

Mark Carges Joins eBay To Lead Global Platform Development

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Sept. 4, 2008) - eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: eBay) today announced that technology executive Mark Carges has joined the company in the newly created role of Senior Vice President, Platform. Carges will be part of the company's executive management team and will report to CEO John Donahoe. He will be responsible for accelerating eBay's company-wide platform innovation and further opening eBay's platform to outside developers to enhance the customer experience and enable new business opportunities.

Carges most recently was Executive Vice President, Products and General Manager, for the Business Interaction Division of BEA Systems, a leading provider of enterprise application infrastructure solutions that was acquired by Oracle in April 2008. During more than a decade at BEA, Carges held a variety of other senior technology leadership roles, including Chief Technology Officer.

"Mark's experience and leadership will be a great asset as we create a global platform strategy to enhance our operations and accelerate our commitment to opening our platform in a way that is good for customers, developers and our Community," Donahoe said.

At its seventh annual developers' conference in June, eBay announced initial plans to open its site for developers. For the first time, eBay invited developers to submit seller tools for inclusion directly onto eBay Selling Manager, an online tool for managing and tracking listings on eBay. The company will continue to expand this and other efforts as part of a company-wide platform strategy.

About eBay
Founded in 1995, eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) connects hundreds of millions of people around the world every day, empowering them to explore new opportunities and innovate together. eBay Inc. does this by providing the Internet platforms of choice for global commerce, payments and communications. Since its inception, eBay Inc. has expanded to include some of the strongest brands in the world, including eBay, PayPal, Skype, StubHub, Shopping.com, and others. eBay Inc. is headquartered in San Jose, California.

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0 Responses to eBay – Losing Talent High and Low – Where is the CTO?

  1. Cliff Aliperti September 5, 2008 at 2:38 pm #

    Hi Scott,

    Just to expand on a point I’ve already made to you, I have a feeling that Stores are the black sheep to the current regime, who are trying to re-energize the site through FP in core. That being the case I’d guess one of their end goals would be to eventually eliminate the Stores with the thought that a large portion of those 3c listings fees get turned into 35c listing fees.

    But that’s not what’s going to happen, those listings are just going to disappear, because if they deserved a 35c listing they would get them now.

    So once those listings disappear from an eBay without any Stores, a little time will go by and management will start missing all those listings. What next? Reverse course, bring back stores. Get creative and create a new tranche in core for cheap items with a slightly higher (how bout a nickel) listing fee?

    But the sad part is that by this portion of the game there will either be new management or current management will once again rethink and decide yet again that all these cheap listings are flooding the site with garbage. Next step in the cycle (kill the cheap listings or bring back stores).

    So my hope is that they avoid all this and keep it simple by keeping Stores in place pretty much as they are.

  2. Henrietta September 5, 2008 at 5:32 pm #

    Interesting thoughts from both Scott and Cliff. I am in the process of writing a post which complements your concerns Scott and will cross reference to you. Look for it tomorrow.

    My crystal ball says eBay hasn’t even given much advance thought to stores in the US, there are persistent rumors that the red door store link is non functional in the new item view.

    I expect to see more retailers along the lines of Buy.com, something more basic retail, cheap and cheerful, Payless shoes? Like that. Something people need no matter how tanked the economy is.

    Time will tell

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