Pierre Omidyar is an economist and business tycoon who is famous for his role in founding the internet bidding site, eBay. He is also the current chairman of the company and part of the board of directors of ePeople. Before establishing the commercial site, Omidyar worked with firms like Apple Inc. and helped with the development of Macintosh technology. Unlike most successful business magnates, he never envisioned the career path that brought him to fortune. At first, eBay was just a side hobby and then success happened. Read on to learn how it went came to what it is today.
Who is Pierre Omidyar?
Pierre Omidyar was born Parviz Morad Omidyar on June 21, 1967, in Paris, France, however, he is of Iranian descent. His mother’s name is Elahe Mir-Djalali Omidyar, an academic with a doctorate degree in Linguistics, obtained from Sorbonne, while his father’s identity is unknown. However, it is known that his father was medical personnel – currently a doctor at Aliso Viejo, California – who attended the John Hopkins Medical Centre in Baltimore for his residency, which was the reason the family moved from Paris.
For his education, Omidyar attended St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Potomac, Maryland, and while in school, he was fascinated by computers and would skip physical education classes to use the school’s computers. It is also known that his class skipping paid off when his principal caught him and instead of being punished, he was asked to create a programming code for the school library. This coding was to enable the school to print the school’s library cards and he was paid $6 per hour.
He attended the University of Tufts, Medford where he bagged a degree in computer science in 1988. While in Tufts, Pierre also studied at the University of California. After graduation, he began working at Claris, a subsidiary company of Apple and created programming codes there, one of which upgraded MacDraw to MacDraw II. In 1991, Pierre and his friends developed a web start up called e-Shop. The product was so good that it attracted the attention of Microsoft who later bought it and renamed it e-Commerce. It was revealed that Microsoft bought e-Shop for less than $50 million and Pierre only gained $1 million from the deal.
Success With e-Bay
e-Bay was not born out of any job with friends or any companies but from a complaint from a girlfriend. In 1994, while Pierre Omidyar was working at General Magic, a software making company as its developer relations engineer, he created a small auction site on his personal website to help his girlfriend-turned-wife, Pamela Wesley to meet likeminded Pez dispenser collectors. This small auction site began growing fast as a lot of people started biding and selling items through the site. At this time, he took no responsibility as regards the authenticity or guarantee of the items being auctioned, he only provided the platform.
With the growing number of the sites users, Omidyar alongside his programmer friend, Jeff Skoll moved e-Bay to a more expensive business site and began collecting small commissions from its customers on items sold. The auction site, e-Bay, fulfilled the need of people to communicate with others who had similar interests, hence, creating a market niche that later turned into a fortune. As expected, Pierre Omidyar quit his job to focus on building the e-Bay community; and with over 150,000 users bidding on 794,000 auctions every day, it became the most visited site in mid-1997.
Pierre Omidyar knew a better management plan and venture capital was needed to ensure the continued success of the ever-increasing business and this made him collect a check of $4.5 million from Benchmark Company who also got a 22% stake of the company. For management, Margaret Whithman was made the C.E.O and she transformed the platform into a more organized and profitable venture. By September 1998, e-Bay went public, making Pierre Omidyar a multi-billionaire at the age of 30.
Other Endeavors – Foundation
Asides e-Bay, Pierre has established other ventures one of which is an online news site called Honoululu Civil Beat. In February 2014, he established a news company, First Look Media and its subsidiary, The Intercept. The organization delivers online news. Like most billionaires, Pierre Omidyar is a philanthropist and in 2004, he created the Omidyar Network, a foundation created with the task of financing and supporting small businesses. Also in 2010, alongside his wife and Nduna Foundation, Pierre founded an enterprise that aimed at improving the Zimbabwean economy named Enterprise Zimbabwe.
Pierre Omidyar became a billionaire through the expansion and explosive growth of his side hubby, e-Bay. In 2015, he was estimated to worth $8.3 billion making him the 168th richest person in the world and 58th in the United States. This figures rose higher and by August 2018, he had an estimated net worth of $10.5 billion, putting him up as the 145th richest person in the world.
Other Facts About Pierre Omidyar
Pierre Omidyar is happily married with three children. He is married to biologist and longtime girlfriend, Pamela Wesley. Pamela grew up in Hawaii Kai and met Pierre in the United States. However, their wedding date is unknown, so also are the name of their children.