Monday, November 12, 2007

In Search of the 4-Hour Workweek at eBay Inc.

This weekend I took some "me" time and read Timothy Ferriss's bestseller, "The 4-Hour Workweek." Truthfully, I wasn't looking for answers or direction, but the buzz about the book was what made me buy it. To think that the CEO of eBay Inc. could actually pull off a four hour week is ludicrous - I have more than four hours a week alone wrapped up in reading and answering whiny emails from Bill Cobb. For some reason he doesn't share the executive vision, or maybe his vision is clouded by the residual former company goal of having the World's Largest Online Marketplace. I keep telling him we're in the telecom / finance / social networking business now....but I digress.

To my surprise, "The 4-Hour Workweek" actually did give me some inspiration, inspiration that I haven't felt (or frankly needed to feel, since becoming CEO of eBay Inc.) for a long time. As I read it ideas blossomed in my head like fireworks on an overcast midnight - I'll be implementing many of these idea during this quarter. That's right, the ideas are so profound and revolutionary that they will immediately impact the metrics of my entire corporation.

1. Cut all staff down to three days per week (21 hours of paid time):
The eBay mega-infrastructure is already in place. Why do we need to have 15,000 employees working full bore? Answer: we don't. We've recently updated the search functions and added lots of new do-dads and thingamabobs that should make the act of buying something online much more fun for many of the empty headed online consumers. We can go for awhile without innovation. Besides, realistically, none of our enhancements have ever mattered one shit. People use eBay to buy things and sell things. Even those with the emptiest heads view eBay as nothing more than an online flea market. Short of stabbing each brainless dolt in the head with a syringe and injecting gray matter to fill the void that their Creator so cruelly left, there is not much we can do.

2. Outsource Everything to a Computer:
Live Help is already contracted out. I'll be buying their contract out and replacing Live Help reps with a program a former engineer created called Robo-Help (but we'll keep the Live Help name, of course). Robo-Help is a computer program that generates canned responses in real time. The engineer who created it sold me on the idea when he had me try it out. He didn't tell me that I was chatting with a computer. I chatted with Robo-Help for twenty minutes, asking all sorts of questions about glitches that I'd noticed on eBay the last time I bought some slacks. I thought the engineer was plugging an exceptional employee's work habits, because the rep on the other end of Robo-Help seemed very personable and more knowledgeable than any of those worker bees in customer service. When he finally told me it was all automated, I was 100% sold. That douchebag Pierre had some objections and whined so much that I had to shelve the idea - until now. It's go time baby.

Same goes with customer service emails. In the next few weeks, all emails will be responded to via computer canned responses. eBay has over 2 million canned responses at its disposal for CS emails and Robo-Help use. And for my little drones who have made Silver Powerseller status or above, we'll still have the phone support available, but needless to say, their wait-times will be much longer. Those who haven't already given up on getting their rep on the phone will do so eventually. Waiting on hold a few times for three hours will make them see what a waste of time relying on help from others really is.

3. Unleash the Gestapo:
The Auction Guild recently had an article about using the power of the eBay Gestapo to squash fraud out of existence on the site. Their plan was for eBay to pay whistle-blowers and fraud spotters. TAG also noted that their idea was copyrighted and that they would entertain offers from me to use their idea. That's right, those morons actually want me to pay them for their idea. Shit guys, this is eBay. We don't pay for ideas, we just take them, and then if we are sued, we crush the rights holder in court under the immense weight of our godlike power. That said, TAG is welcome to sign up as a developer and actually pay us to use the idea. Don't laugh, there are thousands of developers who actually do pay eBay to give us ideas and enhancements. Damn, do we have a good business model or what?

Anyway, we'll use eBay's super-secret Auschwitz Program (Anti-User Scam Cooperative Hierarchy With ID Tagging Zoftware) to allow current eBay users to report individual auctions and users for deletion. Any auction reported by the Gestapo more than twice via the Report This Item link for any violation will automatically be deleted from eBay servers by the Auschwitz Program. Any user that has more than two auctions deleted for any policy abuse will be terminated by the Auschwitz Program - permanently. We've already gotten rid of the bottom 1% of sellers, Auschwitz Program will help us weed out even more criminal, fraudsters, scammers and phishers. Oh, and I will be taking the free advice I gathered by ready the TAG website and will be paying the Gestapo with FREE SELLER INSERTION FEES (when listing products in the lowest fee tranche, using gallery and no reserve - insertion fee will be refunded in two separate billing cycles starting with the billing cycle that falls two months after the item was listed).

4. More Sabbaticals:
I made a point out of making an example of that turd Rob Chestnut. I'll further establish my power by issuing more "sabbaticals" to other high ranking executives and managers. Sure, eBay will have to pay their salary for six months, but when they return, they will be demoted or let go. In the long run it will save millions. And in the end, I'll decrease my workload by not having to respond to dozens of pathetic emails each day from those managers who will be selectively chosen for some "personal time." I love my job.

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