eBay Elsewhere : links for 28th September 2008

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Steve Lindhorst from GenuineSeller.com writes a superb post analysing a recent speech from John Donahoe.

An excellent, excellent post from The Brews News: if you haven’t already read this one, please do.

Scot Wingo spots some eBay/Google weirdness. This one needs watching: I think it’s more likely to be eBay not putting out product feeds rather than Google cutting them off, but time will tell us more.

The Telegraph reports on psychologists studying auction behaviour: fear of losing rather than desire to win motivates bidding.

And someone, somewhere in the world, downloaded the billionth copy of Skype today. That’s pretty impressive.

6 Responses

  1. That speech by John Donahue and the analysis by Steve Lindhorst is truely frightening 🙁 Mr Donahue appears to be displaying a fundamental lack of understanding of eBay users – buyers and sellers – and a shocking lack of comprehension of the damage he has already caused and is causing.
    Blue Sky thinking is all very well but if you go so high you can’t see the ground anymore……

  2. The speech by Dohahoe was very disturbing.

    Businesses have enough disruption placed on them externally, without manufacturing disruption internally ON PURPOSE!

    Very disturbing, but now I understand his philosophy, I begin to understand the changes.

    People do not like change and too much change results in rejection long term.

    Positive controlled reasoned change – yes.

    Disruptive change for changes sake based on a “philosophical” position – no.

    Three more years of these changes?

    I do not think Ebay can survive that, I really do not.



  3. My understanding of this tragically flawed mess is that Strip Mall Johnny and Ms. Whitman are from the Boston business consulting firm Bain. They were paid well to muck around in businesses who had contracted Bain’s services for months, note perceived problems, pump out paper, make presentations suggest changes then disappear, aftermath be damned.

    Whitman arrived at eBay when the site was rocketing skyward on its own inertia. She made Bainish changes, many of them silly some just plain silly. Ebay users objected but everyone was making money.

    Bain was a part of how Whitman ran eBay. She said on the Bain alumni page while heading eBay;

    “I use the Bain tool kit to frame strategy at eBay, every day.”

    Donahoe continued the Bain mucking around making changes appproach but as our Uncle Griff said about all the “enhancements”, “Times have changed.” Ebay has slowed dramatically since the Whitman gilded age. Donahoe has to really produce and can’t hide behind giddy investors, crazy mad market growth and virgins on toast.

    Add to this Donahoe’s slavish worship of business guru Clay Christensen who writes of “disruptive innovation” as a way to the top of the corporate heap. Sad thing is, Christensen wrote about “disruptive innovation” in manufacturing processes not in technological processes and said on September 27, 2007.

    “Even though people think I’m an expert at technological innovation, my own instinct for technology was frozen in place in 1982.”

    So we have Donahoe, a Bain muckerarounder at the top of eBay being advised by a fad business consultant who is technologically in the 80’s and an eBay headquarters in San Jose full of sycophantic employees more concerned with career and politics, mortgage and car payment than the eBay rabbit hole in which they descend, disrupting innovatively all the way down.

    Such a sweet sweet Harvard Case Study.



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