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Hear This: The eBay Phenomenon

John Federico

I just finished listening to The eBay Phenomenon by David Bunnell, former editor of the now defunct Upside Magazine.

It's an account of the growth of eBay and an analysis of the the opportunities & challenges that the company faces. Many of the references are a bit dated (the book was written in 2001 - an eternity for an Internet business) but the book is still relevant. While not really enlightening with respect to eBay's business and operating procedures, the book does go into some detail on concepts that you may want to explore, such as:


  • The challenges of hypergrowth, scaling and corporate culture

  • The decision to take a laissez faire approach to trading

  • How to grow a brand when the majority of the customer experiences are owned by a community

  • Letting your customers determine your upcoming feature releases

...and a number of others.

It's a relatively short audiobook (2 hours and 59 minutes) but the narrator made this a difficult listen, at first. His tone and cadence is better suited to Masterpiece Theater rather than a business title. (Also available in a dead tree version.)