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Lessons from the Silicon Valley Trenches

Maynard Webb

Maynard Webb, Chairman and CEO of LiveOps and former COO of eBay, shared the story of his success as part of the School of Engineering’s celebration of National Engineers Week, presenting his “Lessons from the Silicon Valley Trenches: 10 Guiding Principles for Success” to engineering students, alumni, and faculty.

Webb forged his own path to success.  He attended his home state college of Florida Atlantic University, where he majored in criminal justice and worked to support himself.  An early position in security at IBM opened doors for him: he was groomed to be a computer security specialist, soon became a supervisor and ultimately ran computer security.  “I had energy and passion and desire to always learn something new; IBM gave me opportunities,” he said.

Maynard credits his tenacity and eagerness to take on more than his own job - even volunteering to take on new responsibilities – as characteristics that helped open doors and allow him to prove the merit he can bring to his employers. 

He continued, “Many people have questioned my choices because the challenge seemed to outweigh the benefits.  Yet, as I have shown time and again whenever I’m trying to do something everyone else is running away from—I’m in my sweet spot.  Bottom line, I don’t fear hard work and love a good challenge.”

Webb’s interest in doing “the hard work” has not gone unnoticed.  He has been recruited by a broad spectrum of companies, including start-ups and Fortune 100 firms, to coordinate technology development and implement business strategies leading to success.  In some cases, he has been recruited in the darkest hours for a company. The most notorious example is eBay.  He was brought in when the business was at a critical juncture in its development and feeling the most pain in its IT and technology.  As President of Technology, he charted a course for the technology and engineering organization that not only catapulted the company to become a household brand but established a reputation as a leader in technology innovation.  During his tenure, eBay grew from $140 million in revenue to over $4.5 billion in 2005, during which time the employee base grew from 250 to over 12,000.   For many in Silicon Valley, Webb is known as the “guy who saved eBay.”

Through his career, he has developed the following principles for success:


  1. Be voted onto the team every day.
  2. Be trustworthy: it’s all about integrity.
  3. Have a great attitude.
  4. Work for a higher purpose: don’t have a job, have a calling.
  5. Pick your battles. Do the right thing and good things will happen for you. Be happy where you are, but never satisfied that you are where you want to be. Don’t let people stop you.
  6. Be brutally honest about who you are. The tougher you are on yourself, without beating yourself up, the better you will do.
  7. Hire people who are better than you.
  8. Don’t confuse action for traction. It’s all about outcomes. Make progress. Do something that matters.
  9. Focus on expanding your “sphere of influences” (Stephen Covey). Don’t stress over things you have no control over.
  10. Take time to reflect and ensure you are aiming high. Elevate and focus on the things that matter most.

In his current position at LiveOps, Maynard Webb continues his goal of impacting the world in a big way by building a next generation cloud computing technology company on the foundation of a great engineering organization.  As a member of the School of Engineering’s Industry Advisory Board, he is voted onto our team every day!