Ode to eBay


Came to this land,
To survive another day..
Day after day, still too bland
Hung on by just a strand,
Until I landed at eBay.


It was a beacon of light
Its foes cowered in fright,
The strength of its community,
Granted it virtual immunity
Under custodians sight,
No one dared slight,
Unto this giant’s might.


As with all blinding power
The custodians went slowly sour
Took the community for granted
Seeds of dissent met with dour
The ecosystem was finally salted.


Failed at my task I did
Couldn’t raise enough to bid
Change for even an hour
To lighten up the day
Of even one user on eBay.


Some will be sad,
Maybe some happy
A few ambivalent,
Some downright ecstatic,
That I am leaving eBay


Losing all right to preach,
I urge one and every each
Heed the user, not the ladder
Now is the time, now the hour
Give more than is your due
To restore this mighty power
To what was known as eBay.

Monday, October the 13th will be my last day at eBay. And no, I was not laid off, rather my decision to exit into the current hellish market environment is entirely voluntary.

I express my sincere gratitude to all who keep the miracle of eBay alive.

-Raghav Gupta
October 10, 2008

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11 Comments on “Ode to eBay

  1. Better to flame out with style than burn and fade away. As always the smartest guy at eBay is the one that just left.

  2. You have left, but your work will not be forgotten.

    Thank you for all that you did to help the community. We understand your decision, and applaud your efforts…

    Enjoy your new life!

    Scott Pooler
    Trading Assistant Journal

  3. Congrats for standing up to ebay and leaving for what you believe is right.

  4. Thank you for your kind words.

    Its no secret within eBay that I spent quite a bit of the last year trying to stop the monstrosity that became best match, but it wasn’t enough.

    For those who don’t know, I conceived of and built the BayEstimator *before* I knew that Best Match was going to be made the default on site (at that time I didn’t believe it ever would, nor did I want it to). Of course once BM did become the default, the BayEstimator’s ups and downs became quite the public drama. The truth is that most folks associated with eBay (except the employees) have absolutely no idea what *really* happens within the halls of eBay. I could probably write a book, and I assure you it would read like a corporate thriller, if not for the tragic underlining.

    It saddens me to see the amount of brain-cycles (and heart-ache) so many users on the ebay discussion boards have to expend trying to figure out what’s going on, or whats going to happen next. I fail to understand why the interests of ebay users, ebay employees and ebay shareholders cannot be aligned towards the same goals.

    Or maybe the whole complaining lot of us are shortsighted and whatever is happening is actually going to turn out to be right in the long term? I can simply hope, just like everyone else, that one day things will all become great again.

  5. I’m a firm believer that when something is not right it has to hit its lowest point before it can be made right again. I feel that is where Ebay is right now – headed to its lowest point. Mr. Donahoe will not be satisfied that he has failed miserably with his “disruptive innovation” until the last diamond seller comes aboard and then eventually leaves due to lack of sales. That is what I foresee happening. Then I imagine Mr. Donahoe will float off on his golden parachute rather then do what HAS to be done….grovel on your knees to the sellers you have smashed and run off the site…the sellers who MADE Ebay – the sellers who were only “noise”….grovel on your knees to them and beg them to come back! I foresee that beginning to happen early next year after a disasterous holiday season! Let’s all hope I’m right.

  6. I’m the one that “outed” the BayEstimator on the discussion boards. Actually, it was another user that brought your ebay page to light; I simply clicked on the BayEstimator link and wrote about it.

    Within weeks, the word was all over the ebay-universe about an Applet that could optimize Title keywords. Some folks critized you as the creator of BM, and if I got the chance, I’d point out what you wrote at the bottom of your page.

    Your views aligned perfectly with the sellers’ desires. I knew, that you understood. I realized a brilliant mind, most certainly within the genius realm, could also possess Common Sense.

    Of course(!) such a thing is possible, and I had known it previously, but after experiencing ebay during the 2004-2007 period, I had come to doubt it. At least, as far as ebay personnel were concerned.

    I watched in disbelief as the brain-drain flowed. The battle within the ivory tower, although unseen, was easy to judge as to the victor. A while later, I lamented the loss of Maynard Webb, Jeff Jordan, et al.

    But for you, Raghav, I have no lament. I have no voice; no spirit; no belief that it will ever get better. Not now. The last semblence of reason, with any chance of being given serious consideration, has left the building.

    It may work out, regardless, but not of the caliber that it could have been. Such a pity. The ones in charge fell victim to an age-old disease, which could make a decent title for that book you may one day write.

    Gold Fever.

    Good Luck to you, my friend. Thank you for all that you did, said and thought. I have no direct knowledge of any of it, but I have no doubt of its veracity.

  7. If you designed BM, how about coming over to seller central on eBay and letting us sellers know how to beat it or at least align with it so our items are seen.

  8. Fabulous “ode”!!
    So when you say monstrosity what exactly are you referring to, Best Match became the default? Or, best match became a weapon?

    Unfortunately, for you and many other eBay employees involved in programming and designing the site, eBay’s management lack even a base understanding of creating, building, growing a concept, an idea…. There is no place on eBay under the current management for innocent brilliance.

    John Donahoe, without conscience, transforms novel ideas into weapons of terror. The malignant impact of John Donahoe has enveloped the marketplace in its entirety, evidenced by not only your departure, but also the swift exit of the CTO, numerous executives, and the near rabid rage of eBay’s customers.

    John Donahoe’s psychopathic egocentric detachment to humanity will leave no man/woman standing. None!

  9. You said that most folks do not know what really is going on in the halls of eBay.

    This is why the buyers and sellers are so frustrated. We “know” something is wrong. We have suspicions but no one will talk.

    I have read many of your posts and have believed that you are an upright guy. I can only guess at what you had to put up with that would make you quit.

    The sellers and buyers really need some information. It makes one wonder “Who is John Galt?”

    Seriously, you are the closest thing to a refreshing voice of reason I have heard in the last year, but still don’t know much more than what you have said above.

    Write the book. It will sell!!!

  10. About 10 years ago, I was working at a company bought by Bernie Ebber’s Worldcom. Lost my job because they merged the operation with another division and moved the whole operation clear across the country. I creamed in my jeans when I saw Bernie Ebbers on TV being led into Federal Court, handcuffed. He was convited.

    Ten years and a few jobs before that, I worked for a financial services company in the technology department. After a few old timers retired, they promoted some operations guy (ex-military Type A personality) to run everything. The creative guys in programming and engineering left. I left. One buddy stayed because he needed the money. He was on Valium in no time. Six years after the operations guy took over, my old buddy practically begged me to attend a pay-your-own-way party. The technology department threw a party for a few guys getting promoted, and the operations guy who was taking early retirement.

    A month after the party, the company I was working for (and had that technology department as a long time customer) sent me down there to do some work. I ran into another old co-worker. I told him I had attended the old boss’ retirement party. He laughed at me. He said the boss didn’t retire; they fired him.

    So, I called up my old buddy. He confessed he wanted me to be at that party where everyone but me knew the ops guy was being forced out. Twist the knife some more.

    It is only a matter of time before John Donahoe gets kicked in the teeth.

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