Inside Ebay's Cockroach Cult
September 27, 2020 1:18 PM   Subscribe

[NYTimes] [SFGate non-paywalled]
Baugh was convinced that there was a sinister relationship between the Steiners and Fidomaster — that they were actively conspiring to damage eBay. (He even indulged a theory that Fidomaster was the Steiners’ secret alter ego.) Eight days after Wenig’s “take her down” message, a member of the security team flew across the country and drove to the Steiners’ home, a steeply roofed charmer on a quiet street. On their fence, prosecutors say, he scrawled the word “FIDOMASTER.”
posted by benzenedream (13 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

This is such a fascinating and horrifying story.

With great power comes great irresponsibility indeed.
posted by Ouverture at 1:39 PM on September 27

Fascinating and horrifying, indeed. The Coen Brothers couldn't outdo this.
posted by SoberHighland at 2:37 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]

Wenig and Wymer have no such worries.

Of course.
posted by confluency at 2:45 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]

Quite how a nonprofit thought that Wymer was good enough to hire after this, I'll never know.
posted by scruss at 2:48 PM on September 27 [3 favorites]

trusting that the ex-police captains on your team know the difference between right and wrong

if recent events are any indication, they absolutely know the difference and will happily stand on the side of wrong.
posted by axiom at 3:13 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]

When I first heard about this story it sounded terrible, but somehow the article is even more terrible than I had imagined.
posted by wuwei at 3:21 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]

Devin Wenig, who made $18 million as C.E.O. of eBay in 2018, was infuriated by Ms. Steiner’s writing. “Take her down,” he told a subordinate.

Steve Wymer, eBay’s communications chief, shared Mr. Wenig’s vitriol toward Ms. Steiner. “I want to see ashes,” he said at one point. “Whatever it takes.”

I have issues with social anxiety but even I can't imagine being so incredibly insecure.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:40 PM on September 27

Depressing and terrible.
posted by interogative mood at 6:14 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]

Running it like a business.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 7:51 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]

“We’re a family,” James Baugh, the boss, and Stephanie Popp, her immediate supervisor, would say to the analysts. “We’re Mom and Dad.”

This is always, always a very bad sign, when a corporate hierarchy is pushing family hierarchy.
posted by away for regrooving at 11:55 PM on September 27 [8 favorites]

This is yet another example of no matter how terrible a thing people in the C suites may do, someone else will hire them for another top, high paying job.
posted by Warren Terra at 1:20 AM on September 28

Wymer has a new job, as chief executive of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley. The chair of the board said the nonprofit was “aware” of what happened at eBay, but believes Wymer is “a leader with integrity” and was the unanimous choice for the job.

[headdesk on behalf of the entire nonprofit sector]
posted by desuetude at 11:52 AM on September 28 [6 favorites]

That was a really well-written piece. I can definitely empathize with Zea -- when I was a young woman right out of college at my first job, my relationship to my supervisors was a little bit blurred between "professional" and "these people are stand-ins for parents", due to big age and experience gaps, and being low-paid, and having a lot of student loans with no wiggle room on payments. I'm grateful and fortunate that none of my supervisors behaved inappropriately and/or encouraged me to do unethical things, because as much as I like to think I would have been able to leave or say no, at the time I doubt I would have had the ability (financially and intellectually) to walk out.

As a young employee, especially as a woman who is already conditioned to be deferential, you are very susceptible to "older, wiser" bosses saying "This is just how things are done, every job is like this." -- and tech is uniquely yucky with this because of the "renegade/move fast break things/we're geniuses that can't be held to normal standards" aesthetic.

Especially with the weird diet of steady film clips and erratic, scary outbursts -- Zea and her coworkers were being groomed to accept this type of treatment. It is gross that the people who directed and encouraged this sadistic plan have failed up to even better jobs while a low-paid employee like Zea seems doomed to financial ruin.
posted by rogerroger at 12:37 PM on September 28 [8 favorites]

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