Pierre Omidyar Facts


Pierre Omidyar Facts (eBay) – #50 Facts

Pierre Omidyar Facts - Biography

Pierre Omidyar Facts – Biography

Pierre Omidyar: Wonder Years

1. Pierre Morad Omidyar- Founder of eBay

Pierre Morad Omidyar, who is recognized as the founder and chairperson of eBay, is also known as Parviz Morad Omidyar.

He is not only the founder of eBay, but also a trustee of Tufts University, Santa Fe Institute, Punahou School and the Omidyar Foundation.

He is a commissioner for President Barack Obama’s Commission on the White House Fellowships.

He is also the CEO of a local news service in Hawaii “Honolulu Civil Beat”, which is targeted towards greater community participation.

2. Born (June, 1967)

Pierre Omidyar is born on Wednesday June 21, 1967.

Other famous personalities also share the same date of birth namely actors Michael Bowen, Michael Dolan and Nicole Kidman, as well as Prince William of Wales, son of Prince Charles & Lady Diana.

3. Pierre’s Childhood

During childhood, Pierre moves from one place to another quite often.

He is born in Paris.

Then at the age of six, Pierre’s Family moves to Washington D.C., when his father accepts a job and residency at Johns Hopkins University, Medical Center.

He later moves to Hawaii, where he completes the eighth and ninth grade.

He then returns to Washington, goes to college in Boston and later moves to California.

Pierre Omidyar Studies

4. Graduates from St. Andrew’s Episcopal School

Pierre graduates from St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland in 1984.

Other notable alumni of St. Andrew’s include Joe Jacobi, Olympic gold medalist in white water canoeing, and actor and comedian Whitney Cummings.

5. Pierre Receives his degree in Computer Science

In 1988, Pierre gets his degree in Computer Science from Tufts University.

Tufts is ranked as number 15 in Forbes list of America’s Best Colleges.

It is also ranked as number 32 amongst all educational institutions.

Notable alumni from Tufts include Scott Brown, Republican ex-U.S.

Senator from Massachusetts, Roy Raymond, founder of Victoria’s Secret, Tracy Chapman, American singer/songwriter and Peter Gallagher, American actor.

Pierre also gets his honorary degree, Doctor of Public Service, from Tufts University in 2011.

6. First Ever Computer Program at the Age of 14

Genius that he is, Omidyar writes his first ever computer program at the age of 14.

This program is used by his school to catalogue books in their library.

Because computers and other high tech gadgets never fail to capture his attention, he loves to find new ways of using them.

7. Has Never Considered Himself a Good Student

Pierre Omidyar is one of those students who never really studies but still goes on to make a fortune.

He has never considered himself a good student, though he passes with a CGPA of 3.01 from Tufts University.

8. Omidyar’s Professional Debut During High School

Pierre Omidyar makes his professional debut during his High School by making $6/hour.

He simply uses the computer to print library cards for the card catalogue.

eBay, founded by Pierre Omidyar

9. Pierre Co-founds “Ink Development” (eShop)

Pierre works for Claris, an off-spin of Apple Computer, where he contributes in writing MacDraw.

In 1991, Pierre co-founds “Ink Development”, which is later renamed “eShop”, as an ecommerce company.

EShop is bought by Microsoft in 1996.

10. Creates the First Auction Website,“Auction Web” (eBay)

One of Pierre’s early jobs is at General Magic.

It is here that Pierre creates the first auction website and names it “Auction Web”.

Later on, the name changes to eBay, although he intends to name it “Echo Bay” but some other firm has already taken the name.

EBay is made public on Labor Day during the year 1995.

Screenshot of Auctionweb - first eBay

Screenshot of Auctionweb – first eBay

Today, eBay has 233 million registered customers worldwide and on an average, it receives one million orders daily.

11. Omidyar Makes eBay Public

Omidyar, seeing the fame that eBay has gotten in just a matter of months, makes the website public in 1998.

Ten years later in 2008, Omidyar is the proud owner and manager of a website that has 178million shares afloat in the market that value up to $4.45 billion.

12. Omidyar Becomes a Billionaire Overnight

Just on the first day of the shares going public, the share price triples and Omidyar becomes a billionaire overnight from the revenues and equity drawn in by his brainchild.

13. First Item Sold on eBay

Do you know what is the first item sold on eBay was? It is not a Pez Dispenser, but a broken laser pointer.

14. Appoints Meg Whitman as CEO of eBay -1998

Even though Omidyar is always watchful of the way eBay is managed, he appoints Meg Whitman as CEO in 1998 to look after the day to day operations of the website.

Under Whitman’s purposeful command, eBay makes its way out of America and into countries like Japan, Germany, UK and Australia.

15. eBay Becomes Strong Competitor for Amazon.com

By the end of the year, eBay is more than just a website.

Under strong leadership it has grown into a corporate business with 2.1 million members and $750 million in revenue.

Being the first ever auction web site, eBay later proves to be a strong competition for Amazon.com that also introduces auction into its business strategy.

16. eBay’s Service Interruption for 22 hours-1999

In 1999, eBay suffers service interruption for 22 hours.

Meg Whitman - eBay CEO

Meg Whitman – eBay CEO

Pierre Omidyar, in order to maintain the existing customer base, takes immediate steps.

The company, led by Meg Whitman, calls the top 10,000 users and personally apologizes for the interruption and assures them of satisfactory service in the future.

17. eBay’s Success Owes to Its Exceptional Leadership

EBay’s success mostly owes to its exceptional leadership.

In 1999 when the website suffers a 22 hour interruption in service, Omidyar makes his employees call each of their 10,000 members to apologize and promise for a better service in the years to come!

18. Pierre Omidyar Quits Job to Look after eBay Full Time

Soon after joining General Magic, Omidyar’s own venture called ‘eBay’, though still in its infancy, starts growing leaps and bounds.

The sheer number of buyers and sellers it has attracted makes the owner quit his day job and look after the website full time.

19. eBay Sells Everything

Like its owner, eBay has success written all over it the day it is launched in 1995.

By 1996, as the number of members increase, the quantity of auctions that are held on the website, jump to 250,000 and later in 800,000 by the mid of 1997.

With its popularity soaring high, soon eBay starts selling everything from pens and broken machines to airline tickets!

20. eBay – a Direct Buyer-Seller Forum

Omidyar’s farsightedness and eBay’s strategy are very well received by the market.

So much so that independent observers believe that it may shift the paradigm for e-commerce and turn it into a direct buyer-seller forum in the years to come.

21. Feedback Forum on eBay

To attract more and more buyers and sellers, Omidyar adds a very witty and intelligent option on eBay, which is  called the Feedback Forum.

On this forum, buyers and sellers can rate each other and interact in areas beyond just business.

Therefore, with one step at a time, eBay’s owner and founder is able to make his website an instant hit.

Pierre Omidyar Photo 2 - Auctionweb - Celebrity Fun Facts

22. Before Introduction of Feedback Forum

Before the Feedback Forum is introduced on the eBay website, it is known that Omidyar himself settles any disputes that arise among sellers and buyers.

Because he is the sole owner and manager of the auction website in the early days before it is advertised, most of the managerial tasks lands on his shoulders.

23. The Most Expensive Food Ever Sold on eBay

Because eBay is an e-commerce wonder, some interesting facts about the website deserve the limelight.

At any given second, the 23 million internationally registered eBay users trade goods worth up to $1839.

Moreover, the most expensive food ever sold on eBay has been a 405-foot mega yacht that has fetched a price of $168,000,000!

24. eBay is a Platform for Freedom of Business and Speech

Over the years, as eBay’s customer base grows, it attracts a lot of criticism for allowing sellers to showcase counterfeit brand products.

However, the freedom of business and speech is something that the internet audience loves and eBay, as a platform, only facilitates this trade.

In the words of Omidyar, “People naturally gravitate towards eBay because it’s the largest marketplace.

We’re the original.

We’ve been around the longest and so far, we’ve been able to hold our own.”

25. eBay’s Logo is Synonymous With ‘friendly, open and accessible’

Do you know, the logo of eBay is very much in sync with an Omidyar’s philosophy of doing business? The combination of primary colors; green, red and blue is synonymous with ‘friendly, open and accessible.’

Pierre Omidyar Photo 5 - Pez Dispensers eBay - Celebrity Fun Facts

Other Companies by Pierre Omidyar

26. Joins the BOD of ePeople

It is interesting to note that Omidyar’s technical expertise and strategy building is not restricted to eBay alone.

His prestigious degree in computer science earns him his first executive post out of eBay.

In 2000, he joins the BOD of ePeople which is an online marketplace.

27. Buys Skype and Shopping.com in 2005

After the immense success of eBay, Omidyar’s business sense not only flourishes, it also expands beyond the technology side of businesses.

He sets out to further strengthen his foothold as a business tycoon when in 2005; he buys over Skype for $2.6 billion and Shopping.com for $635 million.

28. Has Worked for an Apple Subsidiary

Before joining General Magic, Omidyar has worked as a Macintosh software developer for Claris, an Apple subsidiary.

Later when he co-founds Ink Development Corp., he serves as a software designer for this online shopping experience.

29. Omidyar’s Interest in Other Business Ventures

Since eBay, Omidyar has looked into several other business ventures, one of them is ‘Civil Beat’, an online news channel that reports day to day news about Hawaii.

These business ventures together put Omidyar’s total worth at $8.2 billion.

30. Has Served as Director of Prestigious Companies

Apart from this, he has served as an independent third party observer at Seesmic Inc. and has been director of prestigious companies like Grand Central Communication Inc.,Twelve Entrepreneuring Inc.and MeetUp Inc.

Pierre Omidyar & Family

31. Parents

Pierre Omidyar is born to Iranian immigrant parents in Paris, France.

Both parents are sent to France by Pierre’s grandparents to complete their education.

His mother has a doctorate in linguistics and his father is a surgeon.

His parents get separated when he is only two years old.

From then on, he lives with his mother and spends weekends with his father.

Pierre Omidyar and Pamela Wesley

Pierre Omidyar and Pamela Wesley

32. Marries his University Sweetheart Pamela Wesley

Pierre marries his university sweetheart Pamela Wesley who graduates in Biology.

In a much hyped media story about the startup of eBay, it is believed that Pierre originally creates the auction website to help Pamela collect the famous Pez Candy Dispensers.

However, it is later revealed that the media has fabricated the story to create hype.

33. Trip to Paris with his Wife

It is rumored that after the eBay IPO, that make Omidyar a billionaire overnight, he wraps up his work, clears his cubicle and sets out for a trip to Paris with his wife! Now that’s the entrepreneurial spirit one needs to move ahead in life on a high note!

Personal Interests of Pierre Omidyar

34. Interest in Small Gadgets

Pierre Omidyar is interested in little gadgets during his childhood, especially calculators.

He goes to shopping, in order to purchase calculators.

Just as most children have a fascination with breaking things for no reason and then trying to fix them, Pierre is no different.

However, he is never able to fix any of his gadgets.

Pierre Omidyar Charity

35. Investment for the Eradication of Human Trafficking

Both Pierre and his wife Pamela are the biggest private contributors towards the eradication of human trafficking.

To date they have invested $115 million to this cause in five different countries.

36. Donation to create the Omidyar-Tufts Microfinance Fund

Omidyar Network, which is formed by Pierre and Pamela, donate $100 million to the institute from where they have graduated, in order to create the Omidyar-Tufts Microfinance Fund.

These funds are aimed at supporting university programs and the facilitation of the microfinance industry.

Not only that, Pierre and his wife actively participate in philanthropic causes across the state of Hawaii, where they currently reside.

37. Omidyar Network’s Aim is Social Uplift

The Omidyar Network’s aim is social uplift.

However, the way the network achieves this aim is quite interesting.

Even though philanthropy is the main focus, Omidyar and his organization believe in catering to multiple aspects of a society that bring about change.

To date, the organization has donated $270 million to companies that work towards economic advancement and uplift by empowering individuals.

38. Omidyar Heartwarming and Selfless Charitable Contributions

The largest ever microfinance fund that is given to Tufts University by the Omidyar Network aims to eradicate poverty in various areas and countries of the world.

Not only does Omidyar benefit his university, his charitable contributions have been heartwarming and selfless for the rest of the world as well.

39. Pledge to Spend 1% of Assets to Charity in the Next 20 years

Omidyar and Pamela’s charity work is widespread and astounding, the spirit of philanthropy and social work is dominant in this couple.

Apart from spending money for poverty eradication and funding uplift through the Omidyar Network, the two have pledged to spend all but one percent of their assets to charity in the next 20 years.

40. Other Charitable Works

Apart from the Omidyar Network, Omidyar and Pamela have also invested in a number of other charities such as HopeLab, Humanity United, and Ulupono Initiative.

Their selflessness has been a thread of hope and consolation to millions of families around the globe.

41. Humanity United Supports 85 Nonprofit Organizations Worldwide

Humanity United has received millions of dollars in donation against slavery and also extends further support to 85 such nonprofit organizations worldwide.

42. Member of the Giving Pledge Organization

As mentioned previously, the Omidyar Network has been a constant contributor to uplifting social standards throughout the world.

In the same breath, Omidyar is a member of the Giving Pledge Organization and ranks 19th on it, according to the amount he has donated to charity.

Pierre Omidyar Accolades

43. Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy Award

Pierre Omidyar and his wife have received a Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy Award for their nonstop efforts to serve the community.

They are one of the 11 recipients of the award, which tends to highlight the efforts of those people who have a lasting effect on their community.

44. Pierre Appears On the list of 40 billionaires

Pierre, along with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffet, becomes a part of the list of 40 billionaires, who promises half of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

Pierre Omidyar Photo 8 - Pamela - Celebrity Fun Facts

45. 141st Richest Person in the World

Pierre Omidyar is the 141strichest person in the world and the 42ndrichest person in the United States.

However, he is the richest Iranian person and the fifth richest amongst the French.

46. Number 123rd on the List of 154 Most Notable Iranian American People

Apart from being ranked notably on various privileged listings, Pierre Omidyar is ranked number 123rd on a list of 154 most notable Iranian American people who have made a considerable contribution to society in a number of ways.

47. Commencement Speech on 150th Anniversary of Tufts University

Being graduates of Tufts University, Pierre and Pamela are part of the Tufts University 146th commencement, marking the 150th anniversary of the university.

Both husband and wife deliver the main commencement speech, which is titled “From Self to Society: Citizenship to Community for a World of Change”.

Pierre Omidyar Inspirational

48. Pierre Omidyar Quotes

Omidyar’s view of life and his perseverance to go on against all odds can be summed up in a few of his inspirational quotes:

“Build a platform- prepare for the unexpected… you’ll know you are successful when the platform you’ve built serves you in unexpected ways.”

AND “I was just pursuing what I enjoyed doing.

I mean, I was pursuing my passion.

It is not really work if you are having fun… that was the case with me.”

49. Omidyar’s Business Sense-in His Words

Omidyar’s business sense and the larger meaning behind eBay are summed up beautifully in his words, “A lot of people don’t just go ahead and try things.

They’ll have an idea and they’ll say- they’ll convince themselves or other people will convince them that it can’t be done… the first even more dangerous and serious.

It is convincing yourself that it can’t be done.”

50. eBay is Pierre Omidyar’s Brainchild

Omidyar is unlike other entrepreneurs and businessmen in a number of ways.

The most prominent aspect that puts him apart is that he does not only manage business dealings and steer eBay towards success, he himself writes the program on which eBay basis all its technology.

Therefore, eBay is an Omidyar’s brainchild through and through!

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