Pierre Omidyar

Pierre was born in Paris, France to Iranian parents. At the age of six his family left Paris and moved to the United States. Throughout high school Pierre developed an interest in computers and in 1988 graduated from Tuft’s University with a degree in Computer Science.

After graduation he worked for Claris a subsidiary of Apple Computer. His expertise during this time was in software development. He, along with three friends, co-founded Ink Development Corp. which later was renamed e-shop. In 1996 the company was sold to Microsoft, but he remained fascinated by the technical challenges of online commerce.

One night, during dinner with his fiancée, she mentioned that she enjoyed collecting and trading Pez candy dispensers. Her sadness was in the lack of availability for trade in their area. This inspired Pierre to create a simple prototype on his personal web page launching an online service called auction web. The business flourished as people began to register trade goods of an unimaginable variety. The site was kept running through a small fee maintained from a sale. As expansion continued Pierre added a feedback form allowing members the ability to rate one another in 1997 the name was changed to eBay and aggressive advertising began.

The company was not only a service of convenience; Pierre showed its members an incredible level of respect. His attitude shone through during a time of service interruption in which Pierre directed company managers to personally call the top 10,000 users apologizing for the inconvenience.

His unique charisma carried over to the development of the Omidyar Network. Originally the site was created as a tool to share news, information, discuss different ideas and viewpoints, collaborate on documents, post announcements, synchronize business calendars, and, in general, keep informed. At birth membership was limited but this soon changed as Pierre recognized the usefulness of its service.

The rules to the site are simple; membership’s open to those who believe in making the world a better place. It’s insisted that each member show respect. Lastly, and most importantly, it is believed that everyone has something to contribute.

It can’t be denied that Pierre’s high quality ethics have greatly contributed to his success. According to Forbes Magazine, Pierre is listed as number 43 in financial worth. There is no doubt that if you factored this accompanied with moral value Pierre Omidyar would be listed within the top ten.

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