Before there was Zuckerberg, there was Pierre Omidyar, the man behind the world’s largest online classifieds.
1. Pierre Omidyar was actually born in Paris as Parviz Omidyar. His parents were Iranian immigrants who migrated to France to study at French universities and gifted him the popular Iranian name, meaning ‘fortunate’ or ‘victorious’. Omidyar and his family later moved to Baltimore, US when his father did his residency at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Centre.
2. His fascination with computers began early. Omidyar used to sneak out of physical education and spend hours at his high school PC. So much so that his principal “punished” him by making him write a program to print the school’s library cards. The teen earned $6 an hour for the program.
3. The company now known as eBay, actually started off with Pez candy dispensers. Omidyar was also doing some freelance web designing, while working as a developer relations engineer in 1994. At the time, his then-girlfriend, now-wife Pamela Wesley complained that she couldn’t find like-minded Pez dispenser collectors on the Internet. So Omidyar began an auction service on his personal web page for Wesley to find her Pez community.
4. At the age of 28, Omidyar wrote the code for and launched an online auction service — Auction Web — which would eventually become global auction site eBay (inspired by Echo Bay recreational lake). Within three years of that launch, Omidyar was inducted into the billion dollar club, thanks to its IPO in 1998. Today, Omidyar owns just 5.7 percent of eBay and his net worth is estimated to be $9.23 billion.
Paid Like A Boss: ITC, GCPL Top Bosses Earn 400 Times More Than Their Employees
It Pays To Be The Boss
By Masoom GupteIt’s all in the numbers. Have a look at the compensation packages of top executives compared to employees down the rank.If you ever wished to know how your pay compares with that of the boss, all you must look for is a tiny data point in the annual report: ratio of remuneration to median remuneration of all employees.Median remuneration basically means that half the employees in the organisation make less than the amount, while the remainder half makes more.Earlier this year, a new Securities and Exchange Commission rule mandated that publicly traded companies disclose how their heads were compensated in comparison with their employees, through pay ratios.Similar ratios are already being provided by Indian companies in their annual reports. A look at what some of India’s highest-paid business leaders make and how that compares with the median remuneration.In Pic: On the left is YC Deveshwar, and on the right is Vivek Gambhir.
5. What made eBay unique was Omidyar’s implicit trust in people. When he launched the company, he wrote a manifesto declaring that “most people are honest” and set up a forum where users could assign each other positive and negative ratings. This allowed eBay to keep away from inventory hassles and leave market regulation to the buyers and sellers themselves — a game-changing strategy. By 1997, eBay was hosting 200,000 auctions a month.
6. In 1998, Omidyar decided to switch gears to philanthropy. With Wesley, he launched the Omidyar Foundation to support a range of causes like poverty alleviation, human rights and disaster relief. To date, they have contributed more than $1 billion and were honoured with the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2011 for their efforts.
7. Over the past 10 years, Omidyar has been a staunch supporter of a free press. For example, last year he pledged $4.5 million to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) that broke the Panama Papers story. He launched First Look Media in 2013 to promote investigative journalism. It also funds fact-checking organisations across the world like The Intercept, which was initially founded to report on the documents released by Edward Snowden.
8. Despite his fingers in so many pies, Omidyar remains a recluse and happily so. In an interview, he said, “I do like to fly under the radar. When I walk around town, the only people I want to recognise me and call me by my name are the folks at Starbucks.”
You’re Not Alone: Top Bosses From Google, Honda Have Also Burnt The Midnight Oil
My Longest Day At Work
Each one of us have had to burn the midnight oil ever so often. A Bombay High Court judge recently sat for over 10 hours to prevent backlog, finishing at 3.30 am. Big business names share tales of when they lost track of time.
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