Two years ago, things were going very well for eBay's CEO John Donahoe. A Wall Street analyst talked of eBay's "Marketplace Momentum," writing, "Management's execution of the turnaround of core Marketplace has been impressive."
The following month - August 2013 - Donahoe told Bloomberg
he believed its eBay Now one-hour delivery service was economical and indicated eBay could innovate better than Amazon or Google. Donahoe also talked about the touchscreen window it had developed for retailer Kate Spade.
We wondered at the time why Donahoe was putting himself in the limelight: "Donahoe seems to be everywhere these days," we wrote, "granting interviews to the financial press and writing essays on outside sites like LinkedIn and LeanIn. He has been sharing his management techniques such as his unique "thinking days" in which he spends time in an empty office at eBay HQ organizing his thoughts on a white board, and sharing his philosophy on the benefits of taking time away from the office altogether and the importance of family."
Just a few months later in January 2014, Donahoe met his nemesis in the form of Carl Icahn, and things went downhill from there. Now, Donahoe is gone, eBay is a much smaller company after it was forced to spinoff PayPal, and it's made further cuts as well with plans to sell its enterprise unit (eBay Enterprise, formerly known as GSI Commerce).
Today comes word that Donahoe's pet project eBay Now is being terminated. (See Tuesday's Newsflash.)
Above: A slide of eBay's 2015 goals shared with analysts at eBay's 2013 Analyst Day in March 2013.
Many factors helped lead to eBay's decline, including Carl Icahn, hackers, SEO penalty - but there's no question it should have been able to fend off these assaults.
What's really striking is the fact that Amazon started competing with eBay as a retailer, and now 45% of the paid units sold on the Amazon platform are from third-party sellers, which had been eBay's core competency.
Sellers don't have any say in where a marketplace places its priority, but they feel the impact of managements' decisions. As eBay's new CEO Devin Wenig kills off his predecessor's pet projects, what else should he cut, and where would you tell him to focus his attention?