Podtech interviews 3 folks I work(ed) with

Scoble interviewed Manish Chandra on October 4th. I am on the advisory board of Kaboodle and I think Manish is doing a great job. Kaboodle is a cool service that lets you plan and coordinate with someone else — like furnishing your home or planning a trip with friends. It also allows you to research anything and save it and organize it on Kaboodle. Kaboodle enables these tasks that are otherwise very hard to do on the web. Kaboodle also has an interesting deal with eBay – eBay users of collectibles use Kaboodle to showcase their items. Collectors live to show off their items – to get feedback, to see items that someone else has, figure out how good the collection is and get input from other collectors. This functionality is huge for a collector – something that is impossible in the offline world. As Manish says, Kaboodle has the ability to tackle multiple dimensions of your life. That is powerful.

[Full disclosure: Manish did the deal with eBay as I was leaving/after I left eBay and I had absolutely nothing to do with the deal. In fact, I never even heard about the deal from the eBay side since I was in Corporate Strategy at the time. So, credit goes solely to Manish for making this deal happen.]

On the same day, he interviewed Gil Penchina, CEO of Wikia, who was one of the people who convinced me to join eBay in 2001. Gil talks about how Wikia works, what kinds of people use it and what kind of content is on it. I liked the “safe, well-lit place to write” statement. eBay is one of the earliest businesses that was built by a community — the first community generated “content” site. Every item was listed by and bought by a user. Now, every Web 2.0 company is about leveraging community. The eBay experience will be hugely useful as Gil builds Wikia. I love the OSDN wiki idea- the Open Source Developers Network. So much potential here…

And today, he interviewed Eric Billingsley today. Eric runs eBay Research Labs. I worked with Eric Billingsley at eBay and you won’t find a nicer guy. He’s also super-smart and I’m excited to see his interview on PodTech. Eric talks about the search engine he built for eBay in 2002. It is a phenomenal application. It is the only search engine in the world that will index an item within seconds. He also provides demos of other cool things his team is working on. eBay Research Labs is very different from some of the other research labs out there. The team works on addressing the problems that the company is facing. It is a very important function for eBay and a very effective way to approach research. This type of research can dramatically change the economics of eBay (through better search results, greater conversion rates on items etc.), but it is unlikely to generate the next eBay itself.

All very interesting interviews. Makes me wish (just a little) that I was back in the fray in California.