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Meg Whitman: Scale or fail

Sure, Meg Whitman has just won the Republican party's nomination for California Governor. But, that's not why I'm writing. This event simply reminded me of one aspect of her leadership as eBay's CEO.

Back then, eBay's infrastructure could not keep pace with the exponential growth in the number of users. A huge 22-hour outage sliced $5 billion off the company's market capitalization.

PC-maker Gateway's CIO Maynard Webb was considered just the talent to get eBay out of the mess. And here's what Meg promised while wooing him:
  • All resources required to set things right
  • More than double her salary
  • Plus a bonus of $108,000
  • An extra $300,000 if all went well
  • And options to buy half a million shares of eBay stock.
Maynard took the offer and by the end of the year, outage was in mere seconds a month.

PS: Interestingly, another former high-tech business leader Carly Fiorina has also won nomination (for Senate seat). And you knew this too :-)


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