Are online marketplaces "marketing" companies or "technology" companies? Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman's strength was her marketing skills that helped drive buyers to the site and helped fuel its growth. Since then, many CEOs argue the latter.
A recent article in Business Insider
indicates John Donahoe is bringing the technology-ahead-of-marketing approach he used at eBay to Nike, where he's been CEO since January 2020.
The article is titled: "Nike is transforming from a marketing company into a technology brand. 7 company insiders say the changes - including mass layoffs and team restructuring - are creating internal turmoil."
The author describes John Donahoe's background as "primarily in tech," noting he was most recently the CEO of the cloud-computing company ServiceNow before taking over as CEO of Nike.
But I'll always think of the former eBay CEO as a management consultant first, and the article confirms my opinion. He spent over 20 years at Bain & Company and rose to become its CEO in 1999.
Business Insider's report on the turmoil at Nike may sound familiar to anyone who was following eBay in 2008 and remembers the "disruptive innovation" Donahoe touted (and rolled out) when he took over from Whitman, and the impact it had impact on buyers and sellers on the platform.
Donahoe spent many years trying to "turn around" the eBay marketplace, but he also grew the company in new directions with a focus on enterprise accounts. Nevertheless, his lasting legacy was the breakup of eBay due to Carl Icahn, something sellers are still feeling the sting of today as they adapt to eBay Managed Payments.
It will be interesting to see how Nike fares with the transition from marketing brand to technology firm.
Many sellers have argued online marketplaces are *retail* companies and believe executives with a retail background should run them. Are the platforms on which you sell being run with the right focus to help you sell better and more profitably?