Pierre Omidyar and Bob Kagle gave an extremely interesting talk that described the early days of eBay and how they created a culture of "empowering people". They described their A-HA moment about viewing user testimonials and hearing a woman talk about how she was able to purchase items at Flea Markets for 25 cents and resell them on eBay for 25 dollars to lift herself out social assistance. This event caused Pierre and Bob to realize the power and potential of the marketplace that they were creating.
Tying into yesterday's presentation by Eric Billingsly on the Future of eCommerce, Bob Kagle spoke about his initial opposition about utilizing 3rd party developers to help eBay drive innovation. However, once Paypal came onto the scene Bob slowly began to change his mind. eBay at the time was of the opinion that they could create a large enough ecosystem to innovate internally. However, as they soon discovered eBay's own payment system BidPay was no match for Paypal. As Bob mentioned "at 300 million Paypal was too expensive, at 700 million Paypal was too expensive, at 1.5 billion Paypal was a deal!". Paypal allowed eBay to realize the fantastic innovation can take place outside of eBay.
Fast forwarding to present Bob and Pierre are very strong advocates of leveraging outside developers to help eBay grow and drive innovation. In fact, they are looking to the community to drive as much innovation growth.