The Balls On This Chick

I’ll be damned if she can have my single-digit amounts of web traffic, but I just saw a Whitman ad that takes some serious fucking balls. Essentially: When she took over eBay, it had 30 employees … by the time she left it had 15,000 employees and was xyz super awesome and successful!

Meg Whitman took over eBay in March 1998. Anything else going on at the time that might’ve been relevant? Nah, she did it all herself. Rolled up her sleeves and made the big, tough decisions: that eBay’s site should be in color instead of black and white, should be organized into categories instead of being one big unsorted mess and other real heavyweight decisions that demonstrate how truly forward-thinking and innovative she is. Apparently she thinks this is the solution to every problem, because she has also said that as Governor she would organize the state into teams that would work on specific categories of problems. I wonder if anyone has gotten around to pointing out that isn’t actually something she’d actually, y’know, “have the power to do?” I guess leveling with the public and admitting that her grand plan is to invite people to her shit-stupid “teams” and hope to God they accept wouldn’t play so well. She then went on an acquisition spree, grabbing up Skype — which eventually led eBay to take a billion-dollar writedown; Paypal — which makes most of its profit by arbitrarily freezing peoples’ accounts so it can profit from the interest it generates on their money…look it up sometime. It works well enough if you’re the paying customer but receiving payments is another matter entirely; a stake in a traditional auction business which completely and utterly failed; and a bunch of similar “value-added” services that she proceeded to shove down eBay customers throats’ with such ferocity that the site is only just starting to recover some of its traffic & credibility two years into her successors’ decision to put the focus back on  providing a place where people can buy a Velvet Elvis without being scammed outt’ve their dental fillings. There were also eBay spinoffs that were developed in-house, ie. Half.com — another miserable failure.  Since the high point during the dot-com boom eBay has gained… umm… nothing whatsoever. They peaked at 15k employees a decade ago and employ that many to this day — despite the fact that they are a larger company now due to their various spinoffs, acquisitions and what-have-you. They’ve slowly-but-steadily bled employees for pushing a decade straight, but never had one massive round of layoffs so hello talking point! By the time they got around to laying off 10 percent of the workforce she was only drawing fat checks from her position on eBay’s board of directors, so it’s not as though her decisions can in any way shape or form be traced to stuff that happened a full couple of months later! And gee, here’s something interesting — as soon as Whitman left they went from .5-1.5m/year in profit to 2-2.5m.

So yeah: vote Whitman. She’s really good at running a company to maybe 50% efficiency during periods of unprecedented-and-in-fact-fraudulently-high yearly growth, only about 75% of her ideas result in absolute failure, she can pick a mean color scheme, and whenever she’s done whoever comes next can’t help but look like an expert by comparison! Truly an inspiring series of accomplishments — not that it matters. She’s got $200 million to spend on a campaign that Jerry Brown seems uninterested in winning, so I look forward to hearing all my currently-exuberant conservative acquaintances bitching 2-4 years from now about how they knew she was a bum all along. Funny how that always works out.

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