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Thursday: eBay

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By Tyler Walker ’19

To end our day we stopped by eBay’s offices in San Jose. Our host, Joe McCaffery, graciously took the time to fly down from the Seattle offices. The focus of our time at eBay revolved around how the company is moving towards focusing on its core business and becoming more data and technology driven. A key idea expressed during the visit is that eBay drives value not from warehouses of inventory, but through data centers full of insights about their customers.

Pauline Burke, the Senior Director for AI Experimentation and Tracking, opened with a short discussion of how her team is working to leverage the firm’s immense data to innovate through experimentation. Tori Bailey, who works in the firm’s Self-Service Analytics team, demonstrated the internal tools eBay is creating to empower its data scientists. We even viewed an actual dashboard used by engineers to summarize web pages’ key metrics.

After a Q&A session, Joe took us on a tour of the sprawling campus which included a stop by the original item sold on eBay, a broken laser pen. This item signifies eBay’s mission to empower any individual or small businesses to connect to like-minded purchasers from across the globe, creating a more inclusive economy and giving items longer life-cycles.

Tomorrow, we will be wrapping up our trip with a discussion of the venture capital space with Julia Moore of Breakout Ventures and a final company visit to Strava.

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