Once upon a time there was a planet, lets call it Earth. The people of Earth had a problem. They had no way of communicating with each other. You see Earth was a very big place, and the distances between castles was great. One day a wise old wizard called Al Gore pondered this and decided that a series of tubes was the solution. This is how the intertubes came to be, and they grew far beyond anything the wizard had envisaged, until they became their own mysterious land.
However, all was not well in the land of the intertubes. People wanted to sell things to each other in this new land, but there was no convenient way. Pierre Omidyar was a much lesser wizard than the great Al Gore, but he was still a very clever man. He claimed part of the intertubes for himself, a bay as it happened. He wanted to call it Echo Bay, but someone else had already named another place that. He settled for eBay.
In his new bay he opened a small store, an auction house in fact. It was somewhere for him to sell his own things to other people connected to the intertubes. The renown of his auction house grew, and soon others wanted to sell their wares through it. Pierre expanded slowly, but eventually his one small store had grown into the largest bazaar anyone had ever seen. He had to take on more and more employees just to collect the fees from those using his auction house (for although Pierre was a good wizard, he was not a stupid wizard).
As the fame and wealth ofc eBay grew others tried to found their own stores, for anything that grows large enough eventually becomes a target. There were many battles between these other markets and eBay, but eBay had an advantage. They had a community that they’d been very careful to try and take care of. They realised the community that had grown up around the bay was their real power, and as long as they looked after them they would carry on just fine.[drop]The rivals did not realise this, largely ignoring their communities. Oh, they tried to tempt away eBay’s community with special deals and other tricks, but the community always came back to eBay. These other markets didn’t care about their community nearly as much as eBay did, and that’s why most, although not all, of the rivals eventually faded into the mists of history.
Now we come to the important bit of the tale. eBay continued to grow and grow and soon those from outside of the intertubes noticed it. They wanted to take the market and sell shares in it. Eventually everyone agreed to it, and it was possible to go and buy a piece of the bay for yourself. Of course it was far more complicated than that, but after all this is just a fairy tale.
Anyway it seemed that so many people wanted to buy shares of eBay that the shares became worth a lot, and everyone who worked at the company became very, very rich. This worried Pierre.
He called all of the employees in, some of whom could still remember when it was just one small store, and asked them if they felt the company was any different since its shares had become worth so much. They all replied no, for it had not. The recognition and wealth hadn’t changed a single thing inside the company, only what others thought of it. Pierre smiled, and everyone went about their business.
A few weeks later those same shares that had been so valuable suddenly dropped in price, sadly it’s the way of these things. Again Pierre called everyone in and asked if anything had changed since when they’d been worth so much, and once again everybody said no. This, Pierre stated, was exactly his point. As long as they took care of the community that had made them so large then the rest would fall into place.
Of course that’s just a fairy tale. On an unrelated note I had quite a nice time at the GMAs this week, and didn’t really mind when we lost out to Eurogamer.