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Striking the Jackpot...and Paying it Forward

Posted by Susan on January 25, 2008 at 10:47 AM in eBay Live! 2006 , eBay Live! 2007 , General , Members in the Spotlight | Permalink

Sgeis2"You're a Winner!"  If you're like most people, the thought of winning an incredibly cool prize Sophie_2might seem like one of those things that only happens to other people. That's what Sophia from Virginia thought too...that is, until she attended eBay Live! in Las Vegas in 2006.  She recently shared her great story with us, and we had to pass it along.

While at the event, Sophia stopped by the UPS booth to try her hand at the roulette-themed (we were in Vegas, remember?) prize wheel. Sophia can no longer say "I never win anything" because she won the grand prize of a brand new Dell laptop computer from UPS!

Jon_2 However, that's not where this story ends. Sophia soon learned through her friend Jim that his son Jon was to be deployed by the military to Iraq and that Jon was planning to buy a computer so he could stay in touch with friends and family. Sophia surprised him by "paying it forward" and giving Jon her brand new laptop. 

At eBay Live! in Boston in 2007, Sophia and Jim stopped by the UPS booth to meet the UPS staff and let them know Jon would soon be heading to Iraq. Jon is currently serving as a Private First Class in the 101st Airborne Division near Baghdad, and he has his Dell laptop with him, courtesy of Sophia.

Thank you Sophia, for demonstrating how to turn winning a prize into something really amazing. And of course...to Jon and everyone in the military who serves our country each and every day, we "bid" you a huge thank you!

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Motors 2.0, bugs, and other Townhall highlights

Posted by Ninad on February 26, 2007 at 03:15 PM in eBay Live! 2006 , General | Permalink

Ninad_post_40Last week's Town Hall provided some insights about where eBay is going with the "re-ignite the core" strategy. Jamie Ianonne, Vice President, Buyer Experience, noted that the redeisgn of eBay Motors  (known as eBay Motors 2.0) shows the shape of things to come.

Bill Cobb and Jamie explained that the new eBay Motors integrates a lot of new tools to provide the auto buyer as much information as possible while they are shopping.  A buyer can look at the Kelley Blue Book information for the vehicle they're considering buying, get shipping quotes, financing options, and Vehicle History Reports.  (See the announcement for more info.) Catering to what buyers want  in these ways -- so that their experiences on the site meet or exceed expectations -- is key to eBay's strategy. 

Another leg of the strategy is improving the Finding experience for buyers, and as Jamie explained, his team will be incorporating our learnings from eBay Express -- and the new eBay Motors -- to improve the search experience on eBay.

I was struck by the number of technical issues that were called in into last week's Town Hall. The Back Button issue, which had been gaining some notoriety on the Community Forums, naturally raised its ugly head. (Thankfully, the worst seems to be over - read Laura's post for more information). Diehard fans of the old Sell Your Item (SYI) form, as well as those of Seller's Assistant, also pointed out difficulties in using the new products that eBay has introduced (i.e. the new SYI form and the  Blackthorne products that replaced Seller's Assistant). Jim Ambach from the Product team acknowledged the difficulties some members were experiencing in transitioning to the new products, but also pointed out that it was a change that was inevitable.  He explained that the technology behind these products was quite old (in some cases as old as 7 years, which on the internet timescale is almost pre-historic) and therefore a redesign had become imperative. He also pointed out that these changes are never easy for our community to make (he reminded us all that the switch several years ago to the old SYI was also painful). His team is well aware of the pain of learning and adapting to new tools, and they have been working hard to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Continue reading "Motors 2.0, bugs, and other Townhall highlights" »

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Shirts Off Their Backs

Posted by Ryan on June 23, 2006 at 02:44 PM in eBay in Pop Culture , eBay Live! 2006 , General | Permalink

Ryan_post_9Let it be known that Meg Whitman and Bill Cobb will not stand idly by while a famous executive auctions off a meal and a conversation. As a matter of fact eBay's CEO, joined by the President of its North American Business, are offering up the shirts off their backs...literally. 

The actual "game worn jerseys", donned by Meg and Bill last week during their activities at eBay Live! in Las Vegas, have been signed and are being auctioned off to benefit GlobalGiving and Autism Speaks.  Check out the About Me page to get the details and the links to the auctions (2 from Meg and 4 from Bill).

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Read Other Takes on eBay Live!

Posted by Jeff on June 20, 2006 at 04:22 PM in eBay Live! 2006 , General | Permalink

Jeff_post_22 You've been reading us write about eBay Live! for the past couple weeks, so maybe it's time to take a break and give you someone else's perspective. Here are a few articles reviewing the show from various points of view:

Leslie Walker from the Washington Post kept a blog throughout the event. After following that link, look in the upper-left to get to her other posts.

Check out marketwatch.com's article, or the one from Forbes. You can also read Guy Kawasaki's brief blog post about the event - he was one of the most popular speakers at the event. You can even listen to his presentation right from his page (which has the same audio we provided earlier).

A couple more to round out the list: ecommerce-guide.com's review, and even some local flavor - In Business Las Vegas' comments.

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Community Hall of Fame Gets Bigger

Posted by Jeff on June 20, 2006 at 03:22 PM in eBay Live! 2006 , General | Permalink

Jeff_post_21 Rachel Makool already posted a note to our announcement board, but this was a topic I couldn't pass up. In case you don't already know, we have a Community Hall of Fame, and every year at eBay Live! we honor a group of members who have shown a strong commitment to the eBay Community and practice our Community Values. Essentially, they've been great role models for the rest of the Community. Now, there are tons of people who would qualify for the award, but since 2002 we've limited it to 5 inductees each year. In addition to each receiving an actual crystal memento (one of which is also displayed in our headquarters here in San Jose), the eBay Foundation also makes a grant to the nonprofit of each winner's choice.

As always, we have some outstanding entrants this year. purpleferret999 hangs out on our CanadaPurpleferret999 Town Square, and is an Education Specialist, teaching others how to use the site. She's chosen to have her grant go the Louisiana SPCA. (That's her with Bill Cobb, Griff, and Meg from left to right).

Myonlyprincess my*only*princess is a clothing expert, and has been a major force while fundraising for children in need, and for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Her grant will go to the Beardstown Heritage Preservation Foundation.

dave-r and b.wind worked around-the-clock to provide weather updates and other information to members during the hurricane, and it's largely because of them that our Bwind Natural Disaster and Relief Information discussion board now exists. dave-r is having his grant go to the Salvation Army's SATERN program, and b.wind's will go to Marshall University's HELP program. That's b.wind to the right.

Bonediva_1 bone*diva is the leader of one of our largest eBay Groups, Art Cards Editions and Originals (ACEO) , which Ninad wrote a story about recently. The group has helped many artists better their own situations by eliminating the middleman and selling their work directly to buyers. She's opted to have her grant go to the Donor Sibling Registry.

Check out our Hall of Fame page to learn more about the award, this year's recipients (as well as a list of past winners), and the nonprofits they've chosen. Congratulations to everyone!

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Check Out More Member Pictures from eBay Live!

Posted by Jeff on June 19, 2006 at 05:46 PM in eBay Live! 2006 , General | Permalink

Jeff_post_20In case you haven't had your fill of pictures from eBay Live! yet, several members have been posting their personal shots to the eBay Live! discussion board. There are some good ones in there (like Meg and Bill dancing to Davy Jones), so click here to visit....

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PS: The Gala, Clapping Tunnel, Huey & Chocolate Fondue

Posted by Jeff on June 19, 2006 at 03:27 PM in Best of the Chatter Blog , eBay Live! 2006 , General | Permalink

Jeff_post_19 It's such a strange feeling when it's over. Strange because the weeks leading up to eBay Live! are so busy, and so many preparations have to be made, and then it whips right by like it never even happened. But also strange because eBay Live! has this effect on you as an employee - it actually makes you want to get back and work (most people would definitely call that strange) because of all the great people you've met and cool/heartwarming/inspiring stories you've heard over the last three days. Even though everything on eBay isn't always perfect, it's a pretty powerful reminder of just how much of a positive impact it's had on so many people.

Now that I've had a few days to clear my head, to actually get a little sleep, and to let my clapping callouses heal, I've decided that this eBay Live! was the best one yet. Yes, I never even came close to setting foot outside the hotel once the event started, but I didn't need to. The event was an absolute blast, and the Gala was a great way to end it.

Between keeping up this blog and putting out the physical newsletter given out on Thursday, our team had been holed up in a room upstairs for three days. We were cutting it to the wire - our last blog post went up at 4:46 on Thursday (that's the one with our team picture that Ninad says makes him look fat), which gave us about 30 minutes to clean up our computers and our life-saving stash of trail mix and Hershey's miniatures, jam back to our hotel rooms to drop off our computers, and get back for the Gala. And I really didn't want to be late - the last few years the employees have gotten together for the clapping tunnel, where we clap and cheer while all the attendees walk into the Gala. It's easily my favorite part of the event, and I may have been slightly high-strung about getting back on time (I think it's the first time my Director Rachel Makool has ever told me to "chill out.")

After trekking back past all the slot machines, we started heading up the escalator to the entrance. And what should come wafting down? The sound of applause. "Uh oh!" I thought. "We're late." We started walking as fast as we could, turned the corner, and then got the surprise of the week. We weren't late - the attendees had turned the tables on us! We had to walk past a bunch of the members who were waiting for the Gala to start, and most of the folks there were sitting there clapping for us. That was really touching, especially after working so hard for three days. Trust me, I know a few employees who got a little emotional about it (but won't name names so I don't have to constantly look over my shoulder as I walk between buildings).

Then it was our turn. As the doors to the Sparkle Lounge (our name for the Gala site) flew open, the members started pouring in. I stationed myself as close to the procession as I could so I could high-Tunnel1 five everyone. Nothing is better than watching people come down that aisle. Some are stunned and don't really know what to do. Some milk it for all it's worth, traversing from side to side slapping hands with employees and filming everything on their cameras. Some are embarrassed by the attention and just want to get done with it as fast as possible. And some just walk through, smiling and saying simple thank you's to employees they pass. And let me tell you...some members give hearty high-five's! I almost had my hands knocked off a couple times, although that's still better than the woman in our PR department ahead of me who went to high-five a member, both missed, Tunnel2jandb_1 and she got smacked in the face. I wish I had a video of that. Anyway, by the time the last member got through an hour and a half had passed, my hands were throbbing, and it was all easily worth it. You can see some of it the pics...that's Bill Cobb (right) and Jeff Jordan (left) in the pic to the right.

When we got inside, people were already well into eating from the huge buffets that had been laid out beside tables surrounded by jugglers, spin-to-win wheels, and other entertainment. Then it was time to give out the last pin of the event - a big one revealing the location of next year's eBay Live!: Boston, MA. I met quite a few members excited that we were finally coming to New England next year, and I'm already looking forward to it myself, since the last time I was back there was about 5 years ago.

Hueybackground Finally, it was time for the main event - Huey Lewis & The News. The area in front of the stage was PACKED, so I didn't even dare to venture in there. Besides, I was perfectly content hanging out in the back munching on pineapple chunks and pound cake being dipped under one of those chocolate fountains. I actually have to thank Huey...because people were so into the performance, I had a fountain all to myself for a few minutes. And maybe I should send him a dry cleaning bill too, since about 4 drops from one cake morsel ended up on my pants instead of in my mouth, probably while I was humming along to "I want a new drug" ("Power of Love" definitely seemed to be the biggest crowd-pleaser though).

Finally it was 9 o' clock, and everyone headed off to wherever their night would take them. The majority of us flew back out on Friday, on what had to be one of the quietest flights Southwest Airlines has ever had. So thank you to everyone who attended eBay Live! this year for making it another special event, thank you to the organizers and staff for putting on another great celebration, and thank you to the slot machines and craps tables in Vegas for not tempting me enough to lose my money.

See everyone in Boston next year!

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This is the Chatter team ...Signing Off from eBay Live! 2006

Posted by Laura on June 15, 2006 at 04:46 PM in eBay Live! 2006 , General | Permalink

It's hard to believe we're at the end of the event already.  The Chatter team is packing up and heading back to our rooms to drop off equipment before we head to the Gala event.  This party promises to be memorable -- and keep us up late!   Since we'll be on planes tomorrow, we'll share a postscript about the Gala for you on Monday. 

It's a privilege for us to get to cover the event for you here...we hope you've enjoyed the reading / viewing this as much as we've enjoyed blogging.   We'll be back next week with our regular coverage.  Safe Travels to those flying home,

The Chatter team -  Laura, Jeff, Bev, Ryan, and Ninad

Teampic





























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A Blackthorne Fan at the Seller Tools booth

Posted by Ninad on June 15, 2006 at 04:45 PM in eBay Live! 2006 , General | Permalink

Ninad_post_9 Many of our high-volume sellers have created customized software tools specially made for the unique needs of their individual eBay businesses, so when one of them gives kudos to an out-of-the-box solution from eBay, it speaks volumes about the strengths of the tool.

The tool in question was eBay Blackthorne, and the seller praising it was eboyauctions, who sells antique books and auto parts, in addition to having a consignments business. I met him in the Seller Tools booth, getting a demo on Accounting Assistant from Mike Maffeo from the Seller Tools team (see picture). He told me why he was planning to switch to Blackthorne after getting back home from eBay Live! "I wrote my own database software to manage my listings, but Blackthorne will replace all that. It can consolidate all the things I have open on my desktop in one window."

Although he eboyauctions was all praise for Blackthorne, he had some suggestions for Accounting Assistant. "I use Microsoft Money - it's cheap and fits my needs. But to use Accounting Assistant I'd have to buy QuickBooks, which is more expensive....If eBay made Accounting Assistant compatible with Microsoft Money, I bet you a lot more people would use it."

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Coming soon: Prepare Now for Holiday Season Sales workshop

Posted by Bev on June 15, 2006 at 04:37 PM in eBay Live! 2006 , General , Tips & Strategies | Permalink

Bevdsmug_3 I was finally able to track one very busy Lisa Suttora of whatdoisell.com™ down to talk about her upcoming workshop. For those of you that have never met Lisa, you're in for a treat. She's so enthusastic and energetic and has a wealth of information to share with members of the community.

So everyone, please meet founder Lisa Suttora, best-selling author of What to Sell on eBay and Where to Get It, and featured speaker on this year's Product Sourcing Panel. What Do I Sell.com™ is an eBay Certified Service Provider teaching entrepreneurs how to find the products buyers want, locate legitimate suppliers, and sell successfully on eBay.  Your turn Lisa....

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