All it Takes is Passion: eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar

French-born Iranian American innovator, entrepreneur and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar has significantly changed the way people shop with his unique strategic vision and planning. He is widely known for founding the multi-billion-dollar online auction and shopping platform eBay, where over 90 million buyers and sellers across the world connect and share their common interests. According to Forbes richest list, he is the 141st richest person worldwide and 50th richest person in the United States with a net worth of about $6.7 billion.

He was born on June 21, 1967 in Paris, France to an Iranian surgeon father and mother Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar, a doctorate in linguistics at the Sorbonne. He moved to Maryland, US at the age of six and his father stated his residency at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center. Omidyar had passion for programming and started writing computer programs at the age 14. The first program he wrote was for cataloging books for the school library. In 1988, he completed degree in computer science from Tufts University and started working for Apple subsidiary Claris that would develop software for the Macintosh. In 1991, Omidyar along with his three friends co-founded Ink Development Corp, which was was taken over by Microsoft in 1996.

eBay was launched on September 5, 1995 in San Jose, California. The site expanded rapidly and by the middle of 1996, eBay was successfully hosting approximately 800,000 auctions a day. In 1998, eBay became a public company and by the end of the same year it had 2.1 million members and generated $750 million in revenues. Ever since, eBay has been profoundly impacting the global business and marketplace.

In 2004 Omidyar and his wife Pam founded a philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network, that is committed to helping for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations who are creating opportunities for people to enhance their lives and make a difference.

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Quotes by Pierre Omidyar

“I was raised with the notion that you can do pretty much do anything you want. I always kind of just went ahead and tried things.”

“Don’t let people who you may respect and who you believe know what they’re talking about, don’t let them tell you it can’t be done because often they will tell you it can’t be done, and it’s just because they don’t have the courage to try.”

“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.”

“It’s all about treating each other the way you want to be treated yourself so that you can do business with one another.”

“The Internet is changing everything, and has changed the world in such a short period of time, and will continue to change things in very positive ways that we have yet to anticipate. I’m very excited by the prospect of what we haven’t seen yet.”

“To truly prepare for the unexpected, you’ve got to position yourself to keep a couple of options open so when the door of opportunity opens, you’re close enough to squeeze through.”

“We believe people are basically good; we believe everyone has something to contribute; we believe that an honest, open environment can bring out the best in people; we recognize and respect everyone as a unique individual; we encourage you to treat others the way you want to be treated.”

“You have to really believe in what you’re doing, be passionate enough about it so that you will put in the hours and hard work that it takes to actually succeed there, and then you’ll be successful.”

“You should pursue your passion. If you’re passionate about something and you work hard, then I think you will be successful.”