Now, let me address something right off the bat. I love eBay (especially the eBay Motors team which has a huge vision for the future and a super-talented team to get us there). My last 4 years at the company have been both super challenging and rewarding. For all the naysayers out there, simply put, I firmly believe that there is no better large/public company to work for, especially in the Internet space. eBay cares a ton about all its stakeholders, whether its the community of buyers/sellers, eBay employees or its shareholders. Ultimately balancing all three can be quite a dance, but eBay has a ridiculously strong team across many levels to see this through.
Of course there are challenges and competitors, but if you had a chance to see the day to day here, I'd think you'd walk away impressed by the caliber of folks trying to accomplish the near-impossible - making eBay, Paypal & Skype the universal platforms for online commerce & communications... something which I personally believe will come true, if it hasn't already. Have I had my momentary disappointments? Sure. But they pale in comparison to the positive experiences I've had and the support the company has given me in my professional development. I'm a big supporter of the company and will always be. Semper Fi.
So why leave? Well, it came down to finding a small company which is the leader in its space, doing all the really cool, cutting-edge things that I've been posting about for months. Rockyou is the leading widget provider for social network users (including MySpace, hi5, Friendster, etc) bar none. The Rockyou site had over 8.5MM unique users come through in October (Alexa is so very very wrong) and has way over 100K flash widgets embedded a day on blogs, websites and user profiles. This network of widgets is now in the millions, generating over 100MM views a day. Lance and Jia, the founders of Rockyou, have a great vision of the company's future which mirrored my interests and thoughts about the Internet experience of tomorrow. Better yet, they understand Rockyou's customers, the social network user, and have built some of the most dynamic and coolest widgets on the web with them in mind. The team is also completely geared to work with partners looking to capture that viral marketing magic that propelled YouTube and others to success. Something unique is happening at this company, and to cut the chase, I wanted to be part of it.
So I'm going to miss the heck out my good friends and peers at eBay, but look forward to working with partners and cutting deals in this dynamic online personalization space. More posts to come about going back to startup land :)