Founder of Ebay and Philanthropist
Evan Carmichael in an edition of Modeling the Masters wrote an excellent article on Pierre Omidyar from which we can understand what makes Pierre click. Following is an excerpt. Click here to read the entire article.
By following his passion on computers and by actually taking action on the idea that he had, Pierre Omidyar was able to build one of the most successful companies in his industry. To help you make your company more successful, here are 3 Action Items that you can learn from Pierre Omidyar.
Action Item #1: Just Go For It
You know what one thing every successful entrepreneur has in common? They got started! You may have great business ideas but if you never take any action on them, you have nobody but yourself to blame. Don't be afraid to try something different and fail. You will know failure. Keep trying and experimenting with little projects until you strike gold and can really run with your new business idea.
Omidyar had a lot of people who never thought his website would ever take off. Why would complete strangers be willing to buy and sell to each other online? How would they trust each other to complete the deal? Omidyar believed that people were fundamentally good people and would be, for the most part, honourable. He kept at it and intended to prove his critics wrong. Omidyar realized it was working when he started earning more money from eBay than from his day job.
According to Omidyar, "I started eBay as an experiment, as a side hobby basically, while I had my day job. A lot of people don’t just go ahead and try things. They’ll have an idea and they’ll say – they’ll convince themselves or other people will convince them that it can’t be done. I just kind of had this naïve approach to – well, gee, you know, why not. I’ll just go ahead and do it. Don’t let people who you may respect and who you believe know what they’re talking about, don’t let them tell you it can’t be done because often they’ll tell you it can’t be done, and it’s just because they don’t have the courage to try. You’re able to accomplish anything you set out to accomplish."
Action Item #2: Follow Your Passion
Almost every famous entrepreneur gives similar advice - do what you're passionate about. When you love what you do, you'll make a far better product or service and will have a much bigger impact on your target market. Don't waste time trying out businesses that you're not really interested in just because they can make you money. Focus your energy and talents on what you're uniquely able to create and you're on your way to building a successful business.
From the time he was a young boy, Omidyar knew that his future lied in computers. He didn’t know how or when, but when the other boys were outside playing sports, Omidyar was busy teaching himself computer programming languages like Basic. If he didn't follow his passion and tried to force himself into other areas that didn't interest him, the world would never have come to know eBay.
According to Omidyar, "I always wanted to be involved with computers. I was just pursuing what I enjoyed doing. I was pursuing my passion. It’s not work really, if you’re having fun. That was the case with me. You have to really believe in what you’re doing, be passionate enough about it so that you’ll put in the hours and hard work that it takes to actually succeed there, and then you’ll be successful."
Action Item #3: Be Nice
A lot of people think that business is cutthroat, but it doesn't have to be. When I hire people, one of the core values that we look for is: "Is this person nice?" It's amazing how much more productive you are and how much more fun you have when you enjoy working with the people around you - your staff, your customers, and your suppliers.
Omidyar founded eBay with the belief that nice guys finished first. He created a set of core values for the business based on honesty and building trusted relationships. He also believed that if his company could live by those core values, then they would attract customers who felt the same way. To date, his theory has proven to be correct. There are only 30 out of every million transactions that happen on eBay where people file a fraud complaint.
According to Omidyar, "I founded the company on the notion that people were basically good and that if you give them the benefit of the doubt, you’re rarely disappointed. Nice guys, a responsible company that has its heart in the right place – that’s run by real human beings – it has to be successful, because if we weren’t that way, eBay wouldn’t be successful. eBay wouldn’t exist. It wouldn’t be possible.”