June marks the 15th anniversary of a 22-hour site outage that nearly ended eBay as a company. CEO Meg Whitman managed the short-term crisis, but it was a wakeup call that led her to hire Maynard Webb.
Now, Webb is sharing the story of his role in eBay’s technology crisis of 1999 – where else but on LinkedIn, where other present and former eBay executives are turning to share their experiences.
In his essay, called “My First 90 Days: Why I Began Working Before My Official Start Date at eBay,” Web talks about Whitman’s desperate attempts to hire him to help fix eBay’s technology.
Meg and I had our first meeting in the airport on a Friday night in late July. “When can you be here?” she asked. I was up for the challenge and wanted to join eBay, but first I had to leave my current job and get my kids settled in their new school; I told Meg I could be there by September. She said that wouldn’t work. “We are in crisis, you have to be here sooner.”
Webb describes what it was like to walk into eBay’s Network Operations Center for the first time that summer and the impact of the abrupt career change on his family – see his essay on LinkedIn.
There are more details about eBay’s technology meltdown in the classic 2002 “The Perfect Store – Inside eBay” written by Adam Cohen.