eBay Unveils New Offices In Sydney, Australia Representing "Refreshed" Identity

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


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eBay has a new workplace in Sydney, Australia, creating a "human-centric and agile environment that addresses the evolving needs of eBay’s people."

Details of the project were revealed on the builder's website, including images and a slideshow of the open, collaborative space.

Unveiling eBay’s new workplace in Sydney
Recently inaugurated, this space’s key objective is to create a human-centric and agile environment that addresses staff’s evolving needs.

Multinational e-commerce company, eBay, entrusted us to build a new home for its people in Sydney. The project continues a long-standing international collaboration.

Recently inaugurated, the space is one of the first globally to incorporate updated and refined brand direction. The key objective was to create a human-centric and agile environment that addresses the evolving needs of eBay’s people.

Our journey began in early 2020 when we were tasked to reimagine the Sydney location. Later, a change in local management and the pandemic prompted a reassessment of the project’s vision. In response, our experts collaborated closely with all the stakeholders and the client’s global workplace and technology teams.

Through this process, we realised the need for a flexible and agile office space. An environment that accommodates changing work patterns, fosters engagement and encourages collaboration.

The designer included notes about the key aspects of the project to support daily operations while representing eBay's "refreshed" identity.

Conceived to support daily operations while aligning with eBay’s refreshed identity, the new space empowers people to perform at their best, regardless of their role or task at hand.

Key aspects of the project include:

  • Incorporating branding to set a design precedent: We used our insights to design a workspace that captures eBay’s dedication to innovation and sparks creativity. Colours, materials and design elements are strategically used throughout the furniture, ceilings and wall graphics.
  • Elevating the experience: The focus was on choice and flexibility. From expansive team tables to versatile sit-stand desks and dedicated focus rooms, the workspace is curated for diverse working preferences. Digital screens and dynamic furniture further accentuate the environment’s multifunctional character.
  • Promoting a culture of collaboration: At the heart of our brief was fostering a culture of connectivity. The adaptable town hall, strategically placed at the centre of the workspace, is a focal point for client meetings, training, team events and socialising. A generous breakout area with acoustic booths, team tables and individual settings promotes seamless collaboration.

It's interesting that eBay would OK this promotional release, including detailed images of the workspace, when a similar release by the builder tapped to recreate ex-CEO Devin Wenig's favorite New York pub on the eBay campus was supposedly considered an urgent risk by eBay security personnel and executives in 2019.

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Executive ire about reporting on the existence of the bar by EcommerceBytes and amplification of the story on Twitter by Fidomaster/unsuckEBAY, have been cited in court documents as a significant contributing factor leading up to the cyberstalking scheme aimed at changing EcommerceBytes' reporting and unmasking the identity of unsuckEBAY.

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Wenig (Executive 1), Chief Communications Officer Steve Wymer (Executive 2), and SVP Global Operations Wendy Jones (Executive 3) communicated with Security Director Jim Baugh extensively about the issue in the months leading up to the criminal harassment campaign.

By the spnng of 2019, an anonymous internet user known variously as "Fidomaster", "Dan Davis", and "unsuckebay" (hereinafter "Fidomaster") had also become a source of frustration to Executive 1, Executive 2, Baugh, and others at eBay.

On February 22, 2019, for example, a communications employee asked Baugh and Popp to "dig up some intel" on Fidomaster, noting "He's been relentlessly trolling eBay and [Executive 1] on twitter .... "

At Executive 2's direction, Baugh caused the GIC to prepare a report concerning Fidomaster. The March 2019 report concluded that Fidomaster was an "anonymous twitter user that posts negative content about eBay and its senior leadership." It also asserted that "Fidomaster" communicated with Ina Steiner about issues pertaining to eBay, noting "Steiner and eCommerceBytes are known for publishing negative content about eBay and its executives."...

...On or about May 21, 2019, EcommerceBytes published an article entitled, "Did You Know eBay Built a Lavish NYC Pub-Style Lounge?" The article reported that Executive 1 had commissioned the construction of a pub--Walker's West-on eBay's corporate campus, modelling it after a New York City bar. The article contained links to a contractor's website,which featured pictures of the project and a description of the pub.

Baugh alerted Executive 3 to the article by email that night, with the subject "Fwd: Ina Steiner - Walker's West."

On May 22, 2019, at 9:10 a.m. (PDT), Executive 3 forwarded Baugh's email to Executive 2 and an eBay facilities employee, asking, of the contractor, "Why in the world would they think it's ok to do this and with this level of color???" eBay directed the contractor to take down its website. Executive 3, copying Executive 2 and Baugh, later emailed, "this is ridiculous and has caused serious problems."

Within hours, Executive 2 contacted a public relations consultant about the
Walker's West article. Executive 2 wrote: "I'm just no longer accepting 'ignore' as a broader strategy and want to fight back. Look forward to talking ASAP to get your assessment of how to do that most [e]ffectively."

Thereafter, eBay communications employees sent information to the consultant about the Steiners, including their buying-selling history on eBay and the perspectives of eBay employees who knew them.

The details about Walker's West that Jones believed caused a "serious problem?

A vague text-only description of the project and the fact it was commissioned by the CEO.

EBAY WALKER’S WEST LOUNGE, SAN JOSE

  • Gensler Architects
  • Tenant improvement to convert on campus historic house from office to lounge space
  • Commissioned by CEO to replicate a known NYC restaurant
  • Custom tin ceiling with intricate can lighting cutouts and LED lit perimeter crown molding
  • New bar counter build out with custom mirrors and lighting
  • High end finishes and detailed elements for historical accuracy throughout

It's difficult to understand how Jones could have felt this was a problem when she proudly appeared in a promotional video for the eBay Main Street project (which included these renovations to the historic "Little Blue House").

The fact that eBay still hosts videos showing interior tours of the pub on their official Vimeo and YouTube channels also belies any point the company might wish to make about supposed security threats from the details of the building being publicly available.

The details revealed by Hillhouse Construction about Walker's West were even less detailed than today's release by M Moser Associates about the new Sydney workplace.

If eBay doesn't similarly scramble to have this page taken down as well, we can only surmise the supposed emergency status of the Hillhouse release was entirely due to executive embarrassment rather than legitimate security concerns.

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of experience in online sales & marketplaces, providing expert commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Amazon, Etsy & more at Value Added Resource!