Ebay Chiefs Opposites On Political Spectrum

Omidyar, Whitman clearly in different corners

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Former president and CEO of eBay, Meg Whitman, was thrust into the national spotlight once again after Republican presidential nominee John McCain dropped her name as possible Treasury Secretary at Tuesday night’s debate with Barack Obama. Judging from cofounder Pierre Omidyar’s Twitter account, he took issue with McCain’s assertions.

Shortly after Whitman left eBay in March of this year, she made the short list of possible McCain running mates. Perhaps she wasn’t “folksy” enough. McCain clearly hasn’t forgotten Whitman, mentioning her alongside Warren Buffett as possible Treasury Secretary to replace Henry “Fight Credit With Credit” Paulson. McCain also mentioned Whitman was CEO “of a company which started with 12 people.”

A real time reaction from Omidyar on Twitter shows Omidyar’s apparent objection. “Ahem. Started with 12 people?” he tweeted. A quick check of eBay’s own account of its beginning includes only Omidyar from his home computer in 1995. (Other accounts include a couple of others, though, including his PEZ dispenser collector of a girlfriend.) Whitman didn’t join eBay until 1998, after the company went public.

Omidyar’s clear dislike for McCain was evident in posts afterward, twice sarcastically referring to tax cuts McCain would allow him to keep instead of using that money to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Omidyar is worth about $10 billion, and clearly, like Buffett, feels he can spare a little.

One wonders if Whitman would also think so, also taking her place among the world’s richest. If so, it would be another way Whitman would find herself fairly alone among major Internet billionaires, who seem to lean Democrat. But when it comes to technology issues, Whitman has historically sided against Republicans. In the past, she’s been vocal about her support of Net Neutrality, and for consumer privacy protections, both issues McCain has erred on the side of deregulation and acquiescence to market forces.


Ebay Chiefs Opposites On Political Spectrum
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  • Guest

     Omidyar was founder, not "cofounder". There was no cofounder. The Pez story is a myth (as in not true).

  • Guest

    Alot of the changes were already in the pipeline long before she left and she signed off on all that came down. It has gotten worse since she left but she was very aware of what was going to happen with dissruptive change that was implimented and she is as much to blame for eBays downfall.

  • http://www.bonanzle.com/ CF

    I was hanging with McCain until that comment.  The thought of Whitman as Treasury Secretary was too much.  The problem I see with that logic is that she did not take a sinking ship and make is sail with ebay, so where are her credentials?  She made a good thing better and then set it up to sink the main street folks.  We need a rescue, not an improvement, and one that will HELP main street!

  • Guest

    McCain needs to re-think Whitman. I generally like his platform but Meg Whitman???

    Is she truly the best choice in the country for treasury secretary?? Attributing ALL of ebays success to Whitman ignores the early success that ebay had before Whitman. Ebays success was partially fueled by the participation of the small sellers that ebay is now throwing under the bus by the thousands.

    She was also responsible for the ridiculous Skype acquisition. She also laid the groundwork for the complete dismantling of ebay as we know it. She also hand picked John Donahoe as her replacement. I think Skype was a brilliant decision compared to picking JD!

    Re: Pierre Omidyar

    If the Pez dispenser story is myth, it has been widely propagated by Omidyar himself in interviews and biographys and has been around since I first became aware of Ebay years ago.

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