We believe that diverse teams lead
to the best results.
Our teams are composed of the best people for each job, hailing from a variety of backgrounds, walks of life, and fields of expertise. But at the end of the day, the glue that holds us all together is simple: Our love for humanity and our desire to empower economic opportunities for all.
Hi Yael, what are you working on these days?
“I am in the middle of a very significant project for eBay – creating a unison user experience on the platform – whether you land on a product page using a search engine or via eBay’s internal filters. My team is responsible for creating and maintaining unified landing and search pages (browse nodes). This is an automatic process – every day new pages are created in accordance to eBay’s inventory.”
How do you create a unison user experience in a platform whose inventory is based on seller’s content?
“It is a great challenge. That’s why we created a smart system, which can take the huge amounts of data we have, and create the exact info for each page. For example, our system knows to fit the items on sale on each page, the best picture, update the meta data, choose the exact title and make these pages work on external search engines and our in-site search.”
Sounds fascinating! What do YOU like best in your day-to-day?
“First of all, I love coding. Secondly, our Browse Nodes system is decentralized, and has a lot of small components, so you need to think about the backstage design of it – which raises a lot of challenges. We are always debating design and architecture and there are many solutions. The solutions can be great for a time, but then some new needs pop up and we try to think a million steps ahead, so we won’t need to make too many changes in the future.”
How does being a mom and a developer work for you?
“eBay offers a lot of flexibility. On the one hand, you are expected to deliver results and meet the objectives. On the other hand, there are longer days and shorter days that allow you to be with your family, and it really helps to have this flexibility.”
Thanks Yael and good luck!
Hi Yan, we heard you broke a record when you produced perfect code in a week!
“Hmmm, yes, it was a quick development”.
How did you become a developer and where did you work until you got to eBay?
“When I was a kid I loved developing games. Later, as a programming student in Ben Gurion University, I took part in a big research and other academic projects and became part of the faculty. After school, I was chief architect and engineer in Limelight, Amdocs and Matomy. Then I landed in eBay”.
A high-end developer like you needs a lot of challenges. Does eBay give you that, and how?
(Yan asked that we edit out the compliments, but we refused, because he is very talented) “I am Tech Lead in a relatively new team, that took over old code that was written by another team, abroad. It’s a big challenge to take responsibility over code you didn’t write, especially since it’s at the core of eBay. If there are bugs, it’s critical. How do you edit foreign code? How can I be confident that I don’t lower its quality? Beyond that, because it’s eBay, the magnitude of the information and the amount of service calls are something that not many companies know how to handle. Really. Despite the fact that everybody says Big Data, it’s really about how big is your data, and how many users you have. You can work with NO-SQL, but the question is – do you really need it? Not many companies do. I have worked with Big Data before, and I can truly say that the scope here is completely different”. There’s a reason we say eBay is Huge Data. “Some Huge Data!”.
What do you like here the most?
“It might sound pretentious, but there are great people here, smart and with good experience. There’s freedom to make changes and a very comfortable eco-system. We can do almost anything we want in a very short time, because there are internal tools that allow that. For example, we managed to emulate almost all of eBay’s systems and run everything locally, so it all goes quickly. We also have internal meetups, in which someone from the team talks about tech stuff, and it’s very good for the development of the programmers. The fact that our company enables these talks isn’t trivial. You actually get paid to learn. Beyond that, I am a father of two cute kids (cute when they are asleep), so like most employees here, I get one day a week in which I finish early in order to be with them. eBay really respects the whole work-life balance and really enables it”.
Thanks a lot Yan, keep up the good work!
Hi, Seif, we heard you commute 4 hours a day to get to work and back. How did we manage to keep you for 13 years?
“When I was a student, I started as an analyst in shopping.com, the year it was bought by eBay. I’ve been through a lot of changes in eBay and in my professional life, I switched 4 positions, and what really keeps me here is the organizational culture and the team spirit. eBay has good people, good friends and the company invests in you – through new technologies, courses etc. eBay gives you the tools to succeed”.
What do you love hear at eBay so much?
“Many things. One is being able to work with the newest technologies. In eBay, we work with an array of technologies like Java, Spring Boot, NodeJS, React, Kafka, MongoDB and more. Another advantage is the huge scale of data, and because it’s eBay, any line of code touches millions of users, so code quality is important and challenging. Moreover, there’s diversification: I deal with many aspects – the buyer’s, the seller’s, the mobile apps… Everything. I also feel like there’s a start-up atmosphere in the teams. The work is dynamic, decision making is quick and lastly, there’s great flexibility so you can work from home. Because I live far from work, I work from home every Thursday, and I go out early when I need to”.
Is it true your team got the title “DiversiTeam”?
Yes, we have a diverse team. I am a Druze, we have a Christian, an Arab, Jews – everything. It’s a special, very accepting team. For example, if we go out to eat, and I can’t sit in a place that sells alcohol, for religious reasons, no one minds simply going somewhere else”.
What did you develop in eBay thus far?
“A lot, actually. I developed apps and in-house tools for shortening and automating processes over a large scale. I developed a service that helps our teams understand, for example, which car parts fit which car and this helps our sellers to understand what car can use the parts they sell. I was also a part of a team that developed a service that improved an inner system – before the service, the system took 2 weeks to upload a product to eBay’s site – today it takes fifteen minutes”.
Software engineer on the Products team
This time we are happy to introduce our very own Moran Zilberstein.
– She is 38 years old and lives in Pardes Hanna
– She has a boy and a girl
– She’s been with eBay for about ten years
– She’s tried a wide variety of jobs: started out in development, went on to management, missed the dev and came back to coding.
What do you do on eBay?
I am a software engineer on the Products team. We are responsible for arranging the catalogs and for building product entities on the website, from the moment the information goes into eBay’s systems to the time it comes out as a product to the world outside, whether it’s the site users or different groups inside the company, that leverage the info for different needs. eBay’s product is complete, it has an image and all the relevant information. It’s important and it serves the sellers as well as the buyers.
How did you get to work for eBay?
My love for computers started in the military, while serving in Mamram (Center of Computing and Information Systems). After I finished my service, I went to the Technion and studied Industrial Engineering with a specialty in information systems. As a student, I worked in various positions in the field, and applied to eBay as soon as I finished my degree.
What have you been doing in the company since?
I started out as an ETL engineer, and went on a maternity leave after about two years. When I got back, I started as an Account Manager of Motors. It was a more managerial position and was my first time as a manager. After nine months of that I took my second maternity leave (which was kind of a surprise and was received extremely well by eBay). After the leave, I asked to return to a more technical position – Integration Engineer. After a year, our team leader relocated to Singapore, and I took over for him. It was a challenging job that required me to manage people in a very heterogenic team. It was a tremendous experience in management, politics, people – things I didn’t experience before.I learned and developed and had a lot of fun, but after a year and a half, I missed the technical aspect of really “typing in the bits”. I realized I really love this part, and asked to be transferred to a development position. Ever since then, I’ve been with a few teams and experienced a variety of technologies. I really appreciate the fact that eBay has allowed me to experience a range of positions. It showed me that the company believes in me and is ready to help me develop.
What are the challenges of your position?
One of the main challenges for me is the need to come to a “collective agreement”. In software development, there are plenty of ways to arrive at the same result, and each developer thinks his way is the right one. Since we are all professionals, eBay encourages us to come to decisions together, and every person needs to explain and convince the others why they are operating the way they are. I’ve always felt that my voice is equal and resonates well, but it’s still exciting to finish writing code and wait for feedback from my peers
The second challenge is the life-work balance. It’s important to me to be present and raise my children, and all through the years, eBay has helped me with this balance. For example, the company allowed working from home for one day, even before the coronavirus crisis. Even as a manager, I could leave the office early a few times a week, in order to pick up the kids, and then continued into the night, after they went to bed. I had this option as a manager and as a developer. It’s a flexibility that may create some challenges, but I thank eBay for the possibility to combine a career and an involved parenting.
How do you deal with the challenges of the coronavirus?
At first, when the kids studied at home, it was very challenging. My husband and I both worked from home, and at some points in time it felt like it’s going to explode. When the kids went back to their educational institutions, it was calmer, but I find working from home kind of a downer. I miss the people, the meetings and the chats. eBay really pampers us and sends us lots of packages with treats. I want to take this opportunity and thank the wonderful welfare team, which makes us really happy. When you are stuck at home and can’t see other people, suddenly getting a delivery is a great thing. Lately I moved on to a new team. It’s not ideal, working remotely. Thankfully, the new team is excellent, we met every day and they helped me transition perfectly. Generally speaking, things are working rather smoothly. I guess even production is up since we are home, but I really miss meeting in the office. The year is 2020, but high-tech is still considered a male-dominated field. It’s true, but I don’t see that or acknowledge that. It’s not that I am sticking my head in the sand, but I really didn’t see that sort of thing on eBay. I never felt less acknowledged or that my opinion mattered less than anyone else’s. I believe that the way you carry yourself influences they way other people see you. I am not a silent woman, and my voice will be heard whether they like it our not. I believe women should have a strong spine and let their voices be heard, just as insecure men should do. I believe you need two to tango – if women recognize themselves as equal, no one will dispute that. Bottom line is this: once you show you can do something, no one argues with you anymore. If you prove to be a professional, even the biggest chauvinist won’t be able to belittle you.
What’s your message to women who want to work in high-tech?
First, believe in yourself because it all starts with you! Second, don’t be afraid. Even if at first you meet resistance, try to understand where it’s coming from. Sometimes people feel threatened and sometimes it’s not about gender. No matter what, don’t let it block you – set your goals and go on to achieving them. I made a change when I was 35 – moving from management to development, and it wasn’t easy. I needed to learn to strip down my ego, get jaw-dropping criticism and build myself from that. I am much better today, much more secure in my coding, I believe in myself and I have the results to prove my skills. I believe that if you want to work in this field, go for it. Accept the fact that you won’t be the best at first, but you’ll learn and develop constantly. I am happy to say eBay is a heterogenic company, it’s not only looking for the best developers, but for those who understand the business, that bring in more skills other than typing on a keyboard, like social and business skills.
When I started at eBay, it was because of its size and power. I love working in big companies, because it allows me to develop in many directions. It proved itself – I got to work in different positions. After a while, I realized it’s because of the people. I got to work with amazing people all through my career, and it’s fun. I wake up every morning with a smile. Other than that, it’s a company that supports employees. I feel that over the years, eBay has helped and supplied me with everything I wanted professionally, and it keeps doing that. I really enjoy working here.
Moran, thank for sharing.
We wish you many more years of learning, developing and fruitful give and take.
Programmer in the integration team
What do you do in eBay?
I am a programmer in the integration team. We are responsible for receiving external data, processing it and making it accessible to other eBay systems, in order to improve and optimize the user experience. We take data that is sent by data providers or received from Machine Learning processes. We process the data and insert it into eBay systems. For example, merging two identical products into one entity, or deleting a specific item from a product it shouldn’t appear on. We are trying to make things happen automatically and in a reasonable time. The purpose of this entire process is to improve the user’s experience on the website.
How did you get to work in eBay?
I am a religious woman. I grew up in Jerusalem, in a community that isn’t very familiar with the high-tech industry. I knew about programming from mothers of friends of mine, who worked in the government. In high school, I was encouraged by my teacher and decided to get a degree in computers. I knew I was going to love it and that it’s highly likely I can find a job in the field. I studied software engineering. While studying, I got married and had my first child. I admit, when I started working, I knew very little about the high-tech arena. At first, I worked in a small startup company. After it was bought by a big corporation, I started learning more about working for big, international companies. A friend of the family recommended eBay. I wanted to work in a place that will allow me to learn new things and experience new technologies. I realized eBay is very open to new technology and new ideas. It’s not a startup, but the flexibility is great, and we keep learning and adjusting to new developments. More than that, I discovered a bunch of wonderful people and a great atmosphere. It’s more important to me than technology. Working around people who care, and they are not just about the technical side of work, makes coming to the office feel great. I enjoy taking and giving advice to colleagues, and I have a lot of motivation to work and perform my tasks to the best of my abilities.
What challenges you on the job?
The challenge is mostly about our huge amounts of data. Unlike other ecommerce sites, eBay allows its sellers a lot of flexibility when they list products. It’s a great advantage for the users, but it creates big challenges of constantly changing data. We are required to create software that’s effective runtime-wise, and to monitor the data efficiently. At the same time, we’re dealing with data changes, that happen because of the system’s flexibility, and we need to maintain the system on a regular basis.
First of all, I think eBay’s product is unique and important, and due to its flexibility and knowledge, it has advantages no one else can provide. As employees, we enjoy the organization and conduct of a big international company, but at the same time, it’s a dynamic company, that’s very open to changes and innovation. There’s a lot of investment into employee welfare, and I enjoy the best working conditions. For example, the kitchen allows for a variety of dietary needs, like vegan, celiac and more. Kosher certificates are provided for religious employees. It’s 2020 and high-tech is still dominated by men. I feel that I am well integrated into the high-tech world. I was always accepted the way I am. It’s a very enabling area of employment. I feel that interviews were always focused on my abilities and not about the fact that I am a woman or a mother. I think that being able to manage a career and a home helped the interviewers appreciate me more. Of course, we mostly needed to adjust the family structure. When the children were younger, my husband did the laundry and the dishes, while I was putting in more hours at work. It’s very different than the traditional family ways of my childhood. eBay offers a lot of consideration for family – from family events to gifts. During the holidays, when kids have vacations, I can bring them to work. The company designated rooms for them, so they can entertain themselves. Generally speaking, eBay allows for a lot of creativity in order to balance work and home. It requires adjustments but has great advantages. I choose to start the day slightly later, in order to drop the kids off at school, and then I stay in the office till late in the afternoon or evening. Some women choose the opposite way – to each her own. Alongside the flexibility, we are committed to work and that can require a lot of hours. You need to love what you’re doing, and your family needs to lend a hand. My kids are proud of mommy’s job, I feel they are willing to ‘pay the price’ of the fact I am home late. Maybe they enjoy the benefits or maybe they just see I come home happy.
What’s your message to women who want to work in high-tech?
I think women in high-tech aren’t a rare phenomenon, and we shouldn’t focus on it too much. If you think it’s dominated by men, it’s not. There’s a lot of room for a “woman’s touch” in high-tech. However, and this is true for women and men alike, you need to love the business. You can’t survive this kind of work just for the money or the benefits. You need to be motivated and broadminded. You have to constantly think and be creative. There are lot of talent and lots of advancement opportunities in this business, so women can do what they really love. We had a short Zoom session with Techiya, to ask how is she dealing with the coronavirus crisis. It’s not so bad, We are actually used to working from home from time to time, even though it’s not the most convenient option. We had to reorganize the house and the family because both me and my husband are working from home now, and the kids are with us. We have a schedule that makes clear when I am working and what the kids are doing at the same time. We have designated computer time, prayer time, breakfast time and so on – things they usually do at school. We have lunch together, which is a new experience and very enjoyable. Alongside the pleasure of spending more time with the family, it is indeed a challenge. I spend a lot of my day on Zoom meetings. Our team has a meeting every morning, in order to synchronize and start the day. After that, we have different meetings which can be very long and a lot of independent work – all of it in order to deliver and meet our objectives. At the same time, I need to be present at home – to stop fights among the kids, to prepare food and to come up with creative ideas on how to keep the kids busy. The company is great to us during the current crisis. At first, when we still were at the office, there were lots of signs about hand washing and hygiene, like sanitizing gel, gloves and tongs to pick up cookies. I felt eBay is very concerned for us. We were sent to work from home very quickly, and I feel like we are being taken care of. After we started working from home, eBay Israel’s CEO and all of the employees met on Zoom, in order to share, update and encourage each other. Also, eBay delivered treats to our homes, which was great for me and the family.
Thanks Techiya! We are glad to have you with us, keep up the good work (at home, too).
software developer in TMS team
What do you do?
These days I’m a software developer in the TMS team. We develop tools to manage eBay’s taxonomy – those are the terms through which we try to describe listings and products on eBay, with the intention of creating a uniform language, that can connect the sellers and the buyers. Our tools are used by data designers on eBay, which include teams in the US, London and Israel, and also in India and Eastern Europe. The information produced in the systems is used all over eBay – from sales apps to the search function.
How did you get to eBay?
I’ve loved computers ever since I was young. My father is an IT man, and we’ve always had a PC at home. At the age of 20, I started prep school, met some friends and graduated with them. One of them became my husband
As a student, I started working in different high-tech jobs. I came to eBay when a friend from the university called upon me to join. There were already four of us here – friends that graduated together. I started on the Integration team (ETL). My job was mainly to operate and maintain existing processes, and at first we didn’t do much development or improvement. In time, and with the help of our great manager, we got more responsibility and we became a full development team. I became Scrum Master and Agile Lead of the team. Four years after that, I transfered to TMS.
What do you find challenging?
At first, the challenges were mainly about technological development and my personal learning. I didn’t come from the world of development, and I had a lot to learn. As the SM, the challenge was to study the subject and to accompany the team’s transfer to Agile. We did that well, I am happy to say. On top of that, I was learning about the responsibility of P.M. and that was a fascinating time. My current position is very challenging and there’s a lot of growth and learning included. I chose this position in order to learn more about development and leverage myself as a developer. The team is responsible for central processes in eBay, it’s very strong technologically and my peers are very professional and supportive.
How are you dealing with the coronavirus?
So far it’s been a positive experience. Working with Zoom is good, and I think my productiveness wasn’t impaired – it might have even improved. The team meets on Zoom on a regular basis and there’s a very good feeling of cooperation all along the way. The year is 2020, but high-tech is still dominated by men. I know there’s a male majority, but I have to say I’ve never felt any difference in my position or in the way I was treated as a woman, especially in eBay. The company has no gender bias whatsoever. I feel anyone can find their place here and be very comfortable. In the past few years, I participated in some of eBay’s empowerment programs. It’s very important to me that the company is trying to raise awareness of high-tech among women, and I hope it has an impact and that more women choose this path and find themselves working in this field.
What’s your message to women who want to work in high-tech?
Dare! Try! The sky’s the limit in high-tech and there are a lot of fields and areas to work in. Bring yourselves, and your strengths, and it will always produce good results. Project management, IT, devops, software development – any woman can find something that interests her.
Because I have been a user ever since I was 16 :). I knew the company and loved its product since I was a teenager. When I got the chance to work here, I was delighted. I’ve felt at home since day one, I had a manager who identified my strengths and directed me well, allowing me to grow. Generally speaking, it’s a company that encourages its employees to grow, team-wise and firm-wise. I took courses and was exposed to technologies and opportunities I didn’t know existed. Also, eBay is very advanced technologically. During my four years here, I got to oversee the transition of tools to microservices and Kafka, and these days our processes are a lot smarter, more flexible and controlled. We have great professionals here, and we all support each other and grow together.
Sasha, thank you.
We’re glad to have you. We wish you all the best in your new position and we hope to grow and develop our product and our great professionals.
SEO Team Product Manager
Hi Jonatan, tell us what do you do in eBay. I am a product manager on the SEO team. It’s a small unit, located in Israel, which reports t o a bigger team abroad. Our product is Browse Nodes.
What does that mean?
Browse Nodes are entities based on structured data, and they try to detail buyer’s intent and build a static page behind it, as part of the user experience for buyers on eBay, but still something Google can index, so that users can reach it using search engines. We are trying to be the basis of the buyer’s experience, when the main idea is to create a shopping funnel. The buyer starts with a search term, and we find him more in Google, get him to enter the website and navigate him through relevant pages to his search.
Let’s say I’m looking for a watch. I’ll get to eBay’s page and then navigate through relevant questions, such as whether the watch is for a man or a woman, maybe different brands or types. These questions will help me move from page to page, until I get to the product pages themselves. That’s the idea of the experience behind browser nodes. We want the buyer to be comfortable. We are part of the Buyer Experience group. Our approach is that we don’t work to rank at the top search results on Google, but that we work for the customers. If the buyers are comfortable, Google will rank us higher, and if we have more unique, relevant content, that makes the buyers stick around the website, Google will find us more. Our team is made up of two parts – the part responsible for the data, the entities, the look of the titles and images; the development is the other part of the team – these are the guys who work on the platform that manages the entities.
Sounds interesting. How did you end up in eBay?
I came to eBay immediately after finishing my studies at the Technion and moving to Tel Aviv. It was a tiny company with a huge name. That was my first job. I started as Data Manager on the Catalog Intelligence team. I was responsible for building catalogs and defining their metadata. The purpose was to understand what’s important and relevant in any catalog, so we needed to research it and become experts on the subject. One of the first projects I led was the synchronization process between the catalog’s metadata and that of the categories. After almost five years in the company, I moved to UMS, a central data system, that was designed to unify all data under one source. That’s where I first started to work on product worlds. When the product manager who worked with me went on maternity leave, I replaced here, and when she didn’t come back, I just continued to work in that position. Three and a half years ago, I moved to Browse Nodes.
What are the challenges in your job these days?
Right now, I am trying very hard to find other places in the company that can use our product. I think we built a very good product, with a high level of technology, that creates a strong basis for a lot more other uses in eBay’s systems. I think the size of the company makes it easier for everyone to create their own, local, solution, instead of using existing ones. One of the challenges I have today is finding other places that will use our product instead of developing a new one.
It’s a very big, established and stable company. I personally believe the idea behind it. I think it’s one of the first companies in the world that built a unique platform, in which anyone can buy and sell. It actually a place that helps many (many!) people make a living. I know people who make a living off of selling in eBay for years now.
These days of the Corona crisis help you understand just how important those things are, how big they are. That’s part of what’s so good here – the buyer’s success is our success. Other than that, it’s just a great place to work in. There are great people and great atmosphere in the office. On the professional level, there are always many interesting technological challenges. You are constantly challenged with things you don’t know and find new areas to learn and develop. I enjoy having a lot of professional independence. I’ve been a product manager for a few years, and my boss is in the USA. Me and my teams were always allowed full independence on the road map, I always had the freedom to initiate, lead and change.
How do you deal with the Corona challenges?
Actually, I’ve been working a lot from home even on regular days, because my boss is in the US. So, I’m rather used to the situation. Working with quarantined teams in Israel was a bit more challenging, it’s harder to communicate within a team that’s used to being next to each other in the office. I am responsible for keeping in touch with the people and for making sure everything is happening and developing as it should.
Jonatan, thanks for sharing! We hope we’ll go back to the regular
routine, be together in the open space and communicate more closely.
Hi Maytal, tell us about your job.
“I am part of a team that is responsible for developing a learning algorithm that can match any item a seller uploads, to the proper catalog product. The algorithm needs to analyze data that is composed of text and more structured data (like prices, specs etc.). The algorithm then needs to conclude when an item and a product are the same things. In order to do that, I use algorithms and advanced techniques of Deep Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP)”.
This sounds complex. What are the challenges of your everyday work?
“One of the biggest challenges is to collect large quantities of samples of items and products that don’t match, and samples of those that do match, in order to train the algorithm to identify a match and a mismatch. Since human-based tagging is unrealistic what you need so many samples, we think of creative ways in order to create the samples automatically. For example, products have their own unique identifiers, so if we find a product and an item with the same identifier, it’s highly probable that it’s the same product and that they match. This assumption, along with other heuristics, we can use in mass, since we have huge amounts of data”.
What do you like best about your job?
“It’s nice to know that what we develop here, influences the shopping experience of tens and hundreds of millions of users. I really enjoy working on a subject that I find fascinating – which is also the subject of my thesis – quantifying semantic similarities between two entities. My thesis was about examining two general entities (people, places, etc.), using data from Wikipedia, and on eBay we are talking about products and items for sale – but there’s a lot of similarities in the challenges”.
Hey Gad, tell us what do you do in eBay?
I am a Data Manager. We are the people who go through the product catalog, and we are responsible for content-related projects, from data gathering through organizing it to writing and optimizing it.
What does that mean? Give us an example.
Right now I am working on a project. It’s purpose is to go through the different categories in the website, and define IDentity set for each category. This way, we can identity the products in the category. For example, if a seller publishes a phone for sale, or when a buyer looks for one to buy, we can identify the phone by its brand and model, but that’s not enough. In order to identify a specific phone, we need more information, like color, storage, compatibility to different operators and more. By identifying these sets of data and making them accessible to sellers, we make the uploading process shorter and more efficient, and we cut down on item labeling mistakes. When a seller chooses a model from a predefined list, he’s less likely to make a mistake.
Sounds interesting. How did you end up on eBay?
I’ve loved gadgets all my life, and I also enjoyed buying and trying new technological inventions. Before eBay, I worked in a price comparison company. I was a content manager, and wrote reviews for products. I decided I wanted to go out to the “big world” and started looking for a job. eBay were looking for Data Managers and I applied. I came here with great passion to the field of products and consumerism, and with a good mileage and understanding of products, but it was only when I started working here that I began to learn and understand the world of Structured Data, on the scale that eBay deals with.
I was interested in the job from the get-go, but on my first year here I started missing the actual gadgets, the ability to play with them and review them. That’s why, on 2013, I started my blog, Hafitzim (Gadgets), in which I review new technological products. I cooperated with Haaretz and starting writing a review column there. It’s been five years since I’ve started that. I really enjoy what I do, on eBay and on my blog. It’s very satisfying professionally and I come to work with a smile every day.
What are the challenges you face on the job?
For me, the challenge is the tension between human-knowledge-based research and manual work, and wanting to make a tool automatic. I am a bit old school, and as a person who gets to physically handle some of the products, I have a point of view that makes it harder to let go and let machines do my job. I want to succeed in making these things and my knowledge of these products accessible to users on eBay. My challenge is to live with the balance between the manual research and these automatic processes. It’s an everyday challenge.
Because it’s a very very good place to work at! Really, the conditions are excellent and the people are great. I really appreciate my managers and it’s fun to come to work in the morning. Other than that, eBay is very progressive when it come to work-life balance. I get to see my daughters every day, and not just to tuck them in. eBay encourages parents and parenting. The best indicator is that people stick around. A lot of employees have been with eBay for many years. How are you dealing with the challenges of the coronavirus? Personally and professionally I have no problem with working from home. Work goes on as usual, we deliver and everything is running smoothly. That’s also the feedback we get from management. Of course, it’s not always easy. At the peak of the lockdown it was very challenging to work when everybody is at home, but we got used to it. I am happy to say eBay is an output focused organization, it’s not about the amount of hours but on what we deliver. Naturally, after everyone got back to their routine, it was easier. While I miss the social aspect of working in the office, working from home has its own advantages.
Thanks for sharing, Gad. We hope you continue to enjoy your work, and we will continue to enjoy your blog. Hopefully, we’ll go back to chatting in the open space soon.
Hot Products Track Lead
You Should know: He came to us four years ago, straight after 10 years of army service, which he finished as Captain. He still serves actively in reserve duty and being called upon frequently.
Hi Igor, tell us what do you do in eBay?
I lead the Hot Product track as a part of structured data operations team. Our goal is to make sure the websites’ catalog has all the newest products and that they are available to our sellers and buyers community. We are constantly monitoring new products: we locate the products we think people should see on the website, we insert them into the catalog in the best configuration possible, and we make sure they are accessible in different languages. During the last couple of months we had Apple and Samsung product launches. Those are usually huge events that influence thousands of buyers and sellers. Although the main launch events were canceled, due to Covid-19,the products were released to the market only via the official Apple Site and we held our part in supporting this launch. The products are now live on the site and surface in many of our experiences.
How did you get to eBay and your line of work?
After 10 years in the military, I got discharged as Captain. I started studying Industrial Engineering. I knew I wanted to combine work with my studies, in order to gain experience. I saw an eBay ad – they were looking for Analysts. I came for an interview and got accepted as an intern BI Analyst in the business division of eBay Israel. I worked in this position until I finished my Masters in Business Management.
It was a real shocker for me. Working in eBay immediately after years of service in the IDF was a different challenge, but also a cool one. To this day, when I do reserve duty, I can utilize knowledge from work while I serve in the army and vice versa – sometimes the structured thinking of a military man can help my job, especially when it comes to process management. Since then, I moved on to the structured data team. My biggest challenge was to learn a completely new environment – structured data is a very complex and interesting world.
What are the challenges you are facing these days?
Today’s challenges revolve around performing processes automatically and combining them with BI tools. When we investigate which new products we need to create, we try to bring information from different sources around the web and to internally shorten operation times.
For me, it’s because eBay always allows us to learn and cooperate with different teams and people from different backgrounds. I love diversity. I am very happy that not everybody is from the same background or location. More than that, the knowledge base that’s available in eBay is one of the biggest in the world – hundreds of millions of products in hundreds of thousands of categories. It’s very challenging to find ways to leverage this diverse information to something that contributes to our seller and buyer communities. Also, the company is very attentive to its workers and allows flexibility. It’s very supportive of my family and reserve duty and always find solutions to combine it with my work. Some days, I finish work and go straight to the army for reserve duty. Above everything else, it’s the people. Technology and high-tech are fun, but when you come to work every day (well, not these days…), you enjoy the company of good people, who communicate openly and in a straightforward manner. You learn a lot and you can also share knowledge with others.
How are you dealing with these days?
It’s challenging and it’s not easy. There’s no kindergartens. My wife is pregnant and still working. She goes to work and I stay home with our 2-year old son. I need to manage my day correctly. I know when my son needs my undivided attention. Sometimes, when there’s no other choice, he joins me at meeting, and he is very well behaved during those. eBay is very flexible when it comes to working from home in this situation. Everyone is in the same boat. We all need to plan and divide the day and create anchors in the team level. On the other hand, we have times in which we find it difficult to work, so we ask our peers and managers not to schedule meetings in those time slots. We can deliver more easily, because we work with the US team, so the time difference actually helps. We try to stick with the routine with meetings, and we hope it all ends soon and we can go back to the real routine.
Igor, thanks for sharing!
We hope we can grow and develop together, and to go back to our normal routine soon!
Sr. Manager – Core-AI Data Operations
Hi Michal, We’ve heard you have been working at eBay for seven years now! What do you do?
“My group provides data services for different groups at eBay, especially those who specialize in AI, and more specifically – Computer Vision and Machine Translation. Our services also include preparing data sets, which are used for training models and analytics – analyzing and checking those models, and also monitoring them after they go live.”
How did you get to work in eBay?
“I came from the world of system information. I was a developer, and later worked as a project manager. I wanted a change, so I took an interest in e-commerce. At the time, I didn’t even know eBay has a R&D center in Israel.
During that period of time, an acquaintance approached me via LinkedIn and suggested I should come for an interview. The minute I arrived at the site, I knew there was magic in the air. Something about the atmosphere, the people who worked here – it felt like coming home. I am a people’s person before everything – I fell in love with the people, the atmosphere and the place. We spend so many hours here, I think it’s nicer to like the place you work in every day.”
Ever since then, what did you do in eBay?
“I started as Program Manager and advanced through various positions, such as Product Manager and Team Manager. It’s not always easy – I had to learn new things for new jobs, but it’s part of the fun – the ability to learn, develop, and not being stuck at the same place. I worked with different departments inside the organization too. Today’s market demands that you will be able to learn things by yourself – we need to read the trends and adjust accordingly.“
What are your challenges on the job?
“First of all – the amounts of data. The fun (and frustration) on eBay comes from the huge amounts of data. On the one hand, it provides you a huge playground, if you love Big Data, but on the other hand, you can’t deal with it with regular tools. Everything we do here requires unique tools. For example, you can’t run on all of our data with a relational database. We have to use systems like Hadoop. It means that regular SQL isn’t enough, and we must use tools such as Hive or Spark. It’s challenging and fun, but to be honest – it can also be very frustrating. The second challenge is Machine Learning technology. It’s a field that is constantly developing, and we need to learn new models and techniques all the time. Furthermore, developments in this field aren’t always compatible with the huge amounts of data we have. Eventually, a model can only be as good as the data it receives. Therefore, all of our data needs to be well tagged. For example, when someone sells a dress, our system needs to understand it’s a “dress” and not a “cat”, but it also needs to be able to perform object identification, and recognize the outline of the dress inside the image. At the same time, we are always checking how can we use data sets that we built, in various models all over the world. This is where we can collaborate with different teams on eBay, globally.”
It’s 2020, but high-tech is still considered a man’s world.
“Gender was never an obstacle for me. I never felt I was being held back at work because I am a woman, but I was also never given special privileges for being one. I present myself with emphasis on my abilities. I know my skills and I can say directly what I can contribute. I am happy to say eBay is very supportive of work-life balance, regardless of gender. For example, when my husband went to Germany for his post-doctorate he was rarely home. For three years I was practically a single mother. During that time, I continued my managerial work on eBay, and got full support. The company enabled me to work from home or in flexible hours, so I was fully productive and delivered on time. My home and my family never became an issue.”
“I think one of the greatest things about eBay, is that the company really emphasizes community and involvement. For example, I am a part of a group of eBay employees who volunteer in different places all through the year. eBay really creates opportunities for its employees to learn and develop themselves, but also encourages us to give back to society and to become active, contributing citizens.”
Thanks, Michal! We are glad to have you onboard and we wish you many years of challenges, satisfaction and enjoyment at work!
You should know that he… Was born in Argentina, lives in Kefar Saba, has been in Israel for 10 years, 4 of which he spent in eBay Israel’s R&D Center.
Hey Matias, tell us what it is you do on eBay.
I am Track Lead of Motors on the Verticals team. Before that, I worked on the Top Top Products project.
Yes, the best of the best products. We receive information about the best selling products, and those who have the best performance on Search, and we make them even better. We enrich them and make sure the product page looks good on the website. This project directly affects the customer’s experience.
Interesting! How did you get to your position on eBay?
I’ve loved computers and coding my entire life. I tried a few things before coming to eBay. Right after high school, I started working as an IT professional in the Argentinean Treasury department. When I made Aliyah, I started studying in a preparatory program for new immigrants, while working in the IT department of the Hebrew University. I also got my Business Management, Sociology and Anthropology degree there. After that, I worked as a bank teller. During breaks, I studied coding from books, mostly Java, just for fun. One day, my wife got a call and was offered a job on eBay. She told them she wasn’t interested, but recommended me. When I arrived for the interview, I knew immediately this is where I want to work, no matter what, and I said that to the recruiters. At the beginning, I studied SQL and Structured Data, and learned how to become a Data Manager. After a while, I was a part of bigger and more interesting projects. Today I am Track Lead in a team that’s responsible for improving and optimizing information in the product catalog, while also making it accessible to the customers.
There are so many reasons. It’s a company that changed my life. Through all my years here, I was always given support and encouraged to develop professionally and personally. I could join courses that weren’t always directly related to my work, and I was also encouraged to improve my soft skills. Then there are the people. It’s wonderful to work in a group of people who appreciate one another, love working, always happy to help and do it all with a smile on their faces.
What challenges you at work?
When I just started, most of the challenges were around learning. We had new challenges every day in the support team, because we got questions from different places – from the company and from the sellers – so I had to understand the systems quickly and thoroughly. I learned a lot, especially the technical side and how it relates to business. These days, the challenges revolve mainly around the huge amounts of data we work with. It’s a challenge, because every little mistake replicates automatically in many places, and makes the problem worse. It means you need to pay attention to details and be aware of how your actions influence other elements. It’s a huge system and there are a lot of teams working on the data. The challenge lies in understanding that even though you are just a tiny part of the system, you’re still an important part that influences hundreds of thousands of sellers and buyers on eBay, who make an honest living through our system.
What are you drinking?
This is Mate. It’s like tea. I always drink it in the office, and now at home…
How are you these days?
It’s challenging. My wife and I are at home with a two-year old kid. We’ve converted one room into an office and we need to be very flexible. eBay supports us fully in this situation, I am happy to say. We continue to deliver but we are very flexible with the hours. The company considers us as human beings – not just workers. We also got some cool gift baskets, which is wonderful and heartwarming. Matias, thanks for sharing! Hopefully we’ll beat the challenges and continue to grow and develop. We wish you, your family and all of us, lots of health.
Technician on the IT team
But first, a few words about Dror. Dror lives in the Sharon region’s Moshav Sde Warburg. He is happily married to Hadas and is the father of three amazing kids, aged 8, 10, and 12. When off the clock, he is an extremist at heart. Over the past year, he took advantage of the airport closure to travel the country through every possible means: on foot, bike, and ATV. But wait – there’s more! Despite having a very hectic schedule, Dror spent his lockdown nights learning everything he could about the real estate world, believing that versatility is the ultimate name of the game.
How long have you been at eBay? “11 years (but time flies when you’re having fun – it feels like I’ve been here for a much shorter period.”
He joined eBay after serving as one of the pioneers of Israel’s largest price comparison website. There, he established the entire catalog, reviews, and product/store rating system. But he actually started off as a customer portfolio manager, and was later promoted to a product management position. “I was the first project manager to create an initial connection between entities such as Search, SEO, Merch, etc. Later, I assumed a management position. At first, I oversaw a small, top-notch team that provided insights to Development and Product teams, so that they, in turn, could develop better cataloguing platforms.”
Dror’s CV includes endless impressive data positions in fields pertaining to catalogs. Today, he is in charge of an exceptional group made up of three teams that tend to all of the catalog’s operational needs Tagging for machine learning and developing the next generation of the Catalog platform, identifying trends and optimizing the most important products on eBay and around the world, improving the user experience by providing full cataloging solutions across those categories that are important to eBay, and providing 24/7 support to internal and external customers.
After such a long tenure at eBay, what still manages to excite/surprise you? “Many things! First off, the people! I’ve always known that a good company is made up of quality people who care about their place of work, as well as about each other. Now (during the pandemic) more than ever, I see how amazing the people who work here really are; how much they want the company and their colleagues in Israel and abroad to succeed. Above all, my group plays a significant role in the company’s response to a huge and complex challenge: creating the world’s best catalog for buyers and sellers, on a single platform.”
Every manager claims their department is the best. What, in your opinion, makes your department the best? “There isn’t a shadow of a doubt that my team is the best. It’s made up of quality people from all walks of life. Together, we’ve created a unique, human fabric and team DNA that truly gives its all to succeed and meet challenges as they face us. My team brings new and creative ideas to the table, flexibly adapts to changes needed to meet eBay’s mystifying pace, helps other teams, and solves problems speedily and efficiently.” rad2deg To conclude, how about a tip from the point of view of a recruitment manager? “Catalog Operations is a group that enables its team members to contribute to society, while each individual remains able to flexibly find their ideal place in the company. In this way, my employees are able to bring their best selves to the table. During the pandemic and while working from home, five new employees joined our teams, and despite the remote working environment, each new hire integrated phenomenally and quickly became an indispensable part of the team.”
Technician on the IT team
If you aren’t one of the eBay Development Center’s employees, it’s time you got to know Anastacia Zohar Madar. She’s been married for 18 years, is a mother to two precious children, lives in Yokneam and is studying the psychosomatic field through an international program. And, if you ask us, her sense of style is out of this world.
Title: Administrator and Employee Experience Coordinator. Has been at eBay for 3 years.
What do you actually do?
My role is extremely diverse. I am responsible for volunteering and community outreach, I manage and execute Employee Experience projects, I am a contact person for employees and managers alike, and I support onboarding and HR processes.
How did you come to work at eBay?
I spent 15 years working for an international fashion company (aha! You don’t just have style). In 2015, I decided to make a career change and venture into high-tech, where I learned about and fell in love with the world of Employee Experience as a profession that places people in the center and meets employees at so many different levels - within the formal work environment, as well as in informal settings.
What do you love about eBay?
Working with the amazing people I meet each day, as well as the dynamicity and the motion. Over the past three years, I have felt that I have advanced professionally, and have acquired many new skills.
What challenges you?
There are always those daily challenges that require me to come up with creative solutions and other ways of thinking. I don’t view this as challenges, but rather as opportunities to grow in different ways, every single day.
How do you drink your coffee?
I don’t – I drink a lot, a lot, a lot of tea! I have a special tangerine tea that I really love. I grew up on the border of Finland and Russia, where snow covers the ground 9 months of the year and there really isn’t much sun in the summer either, so I drink tea even when it’s really hot outside. Growing up there leads you to find many ways to warm up. Aside from drinking tea, I also ski a lot. I have been skiing for over 20 years.
Employee Experience Coordinator, Volunteer Program Lead, and Administrator. Are you the real-life Wonder Woman? How do you find the time to do it all?
I coordinate the Impact volunteerism program and am very much connected to my role. It is a privilege to be able to give back to the community within (or adjacent to) which we live. We have the means, which are mainly human. The only thing that is needed is to connect our manpower to the various volunteer opportunities. I am very happy that people here are so motivated, aware, and interested in giving back; over 33 percent of our employees volunteer at 11 locations on a regular basis. One of the subjects that most excites me is the connection to Holocaust survivors. Aside from the contributions we make, we are also in constant communication with them. We celebrate holidays with them and try to keep them from being too lonely.
As Employee Experience Coordinator, I attempt to understand employees’ needs in the best possible way, to determine how we can help them. Something that we provide our employees with are in-office yoga sessions. I started attending these sessions and fell head over heels in love. During the pandemic, we shifted to online classes. I found that I was still able to integrate morning exercise (before the kids wake up, I am able to squeeze in a workout and a cup of tea), which helped me find balance and serenity during trying times. This is true today as well. It’s a really useful gift.
Who would you want to sit down with, for a cup of tea? (The original question involves beer, but for you, we’ll let it slide)?
Dr. Ryke Hamer, the Founder of Germanic New Medicine, which helps people recover without medications. I am currently studying the psychosomatic field, and am extremely focused on the connection between mind and body.
What can always be found on your desk?
Metaphorical cards – cards for consulting, and of course, tons of sticky notes evidencing the many tasks on my to-do list. I used them to create a self-management protocol that helps me prioritize tasks and stay organized.
The first (smiling) face – What is the first thing you tell people who visit our office, for the first time? “Welcome to the company that cares about its employees!” Also, “The bathroom’s over there.”
Anastasia, it’s a pleasure to have you as the face of our company. We can’t wait to meet in the office again!