eBay Express TV Campaign Launches

This is my personal blog, so as a rule, I try to avoid posting too much about anything resembling work. However, it’s no secret that I currently work as a Director of Product Management at eBay.

One of the most significant achievements of my career has been the work over the past 18 months bringing to life a whole new e-commerce site and business for eBay – eBay Express. eBay Express is a new site from eBay which allows buyers to quickly and easily shop the incredibly large selection of brand new, fixed-price items for sale on eBay, exclusively from experienced merchants.

eBay Express

I may post at a later time about some of the great things that I learned from the process of launching site of the technical and business scale of eBay Express, but for now I just want to highlight a milestone for the site – our first TV advertising campaign.

eBay is releasing 22 commercials – all based on the same theme, but all unique. They are all available for viewing on a special website:


You will definitely see the spots on network television in the upcoming weeks. Look for it on popular season premieres and sports broadcasts.

It’s a funny feeling to see something that began as just a few people in a room with a whiteboard and laptops turn into something on national television. Amazing, really. I feel truly privileged to be a part of it, and to help bring this new site to the eBay Community and to the world of e-commerce.

So, check it out, and tell a friend. Buy something on eBay Express. Let me know what you think.

Apple Updates: Mac Mini & 24″ iMacs

I think I was somehow programmed to be an Apple fan. It starts somewhere in grade school, when I learned to use computers on Apple ][s, and suffered through the pain of explaining to my father that a Franklin 128 was not the same thing as an Apple ][e. In high school, I rediscovered Macs, and even borrowed a Mac Plus from my Uncle to write my college applications.

People who know me know that I could probably talk forever about the past, present & future of Apple – company, people, products. So, in general, I’m really working hard not to post too frequently about Apple on this blog.

However, I thought I’d note as a public service announcement of sorts that Apple has updated some of its key consumer machines. The Mac Mini, which is at fairly awesome price points of $599 and $799, has been upgraded with faster processors. This is still a bit of an under-appreciated machine. The resale value for them on eBay is amazing, even a year later, so it’s almost free to get one of these, buy a very nice monitor, and then upgrade it annually by selling the old on on eBay.

More importantly, the Mac Mini has a gorgeous & minimal industrial design, and many people are finding that with a wireless keyboard & mouse and a Plasma TV, this machine can just as easily live in your living room as your office.

Apple also has rolled out improvements to the iMac line, with a new 24″ model.

Apple iMacs

You have to hand it to Apple – a lot of doubters truly believed that the only reason Apple was able to ship gorgeous designs was because it was working off of an entirely proprietary platform. The amazingly rapid integration of standard components and Intel chipsets into the entire Mac line have really set the bar for what is possible for Intel-based PCs.

With the recent launch of the Mac Pro, I have had more pings in the last 3 months about people buying a Mac for the first time than I had in the entirety of the 1990s.

Great machines, great software, great prices. As a “product guy”, it’s hard not to be impressed.

Scott Kleper & SpotDJ

A good friend of mine just updated his personal blog for the first time in months recently, and I thought this was as good a time as any to introduce the very cool startup that he’s been working on.

The company is called SpotDJ, and his blog post about it is here.

Scott has been a good friend ever since I met him through the CS 198 Section Leader program at Stanford, where he was one of the first section leaders I hired.  Scott was one of those great student developers who didn’t just take Computer Science classes – he really wrote code.  Shareware, mostly, for the Mac.  Even then, Scott always shipped.

Scott had the misfortune of having an internship at Apple Computer in probably the most depressing time possible – in the Advanced Technology Group, in 1997, right as the entire group was disbanded.  Since then, he’s done some pretty interesting things – working for several companies and even co-authoring a book.

Doing a startup is something that is very easy to talk about in Silicon Valley, but make no mistake about the fortitude it takes to really quit a good paying job and go out on your own.  Scott is doing it right now, and SpotDJ is evolving into something really interesting.

I love the idea that instead of bidding on keywords (Google/Yahoo), you might actually target content/advertising based on a song.  If they can crack some  success measure like cost-per-click (cost per listen?) and some demand measure like click-through (selection? rating?), it’s a very interesting way to target content/advertising in an environment where keywords aren’t the way people navigate.

In any case, check out the company, and kudos to Scott.

How many posts in a day?

Like everything else, it’s very different to talk about doing something versus actually sitting down and doing it.

Here I am, only two weeks into my pledge to post something to my blog every day, and I’m noticing that my posting is not at all consistent.

Some days I miss.  Like this weekend, where I was able to spend some wonderful time with Carolyn & Jacob.  Only one post in three days.

Other days, like today, I can have two, three, or even more posts to the blog.

I guess some of that is to be expected – it’s hard to find the time to do almost anything on a daily basis if it isn’t your primary profession.

Still, I’m a little more surprised at the days, like today, where it seems like there are far more topics than time to write about them.  I guess it makes sense – the news of the world isn’t evenly spaced out or planned.  Some days are just more interesting than others I guess.

I’m pretty sure today will have the most posts of any day so far… a funny combination of news from some personal favorites – Apple & eBay, as well as a nice startup announcement from a good friend of mine.