A Learning Culture to Propel Innovation

Mazen Rawashdeh, SVP & Chief Technology Officer

A test-and-learn culture is key to building the best experiences for our customers.

Editor’s Note: Our newest innovation documentary series takes a look at how anyone can shape the future at eBay. The new series follows our technologists over six months as they create, test and develop their prototypes through our Innovation Program.

Customers are at the heart of every new eBay feature or project. We know that what we do impacts the lives of millions who depend on our platform for their livelihood. And, we are passionate about ensuring that eBay buyers and our sellers have a seamless experience.

One thing I have learned throughout my career is that as teams strive to deliver for customers, culture and technical skills are equally important. When a culture is unhealthy, new ideas can be stifled. When a culture is healthy, it speeds innovation, encourages collaboration and champions creativity. In a changing landscape, you have to be adaptable to changes around us in order to continue to compete and win.

At eBay, we embrace a test-and-learn culture. It is a trusted and transparent environment where our technologists can succeed by trying new things or taking new approaches to solve real problems and improve the customer experience. No matter where someone sits on the team, their ideas and unique views are valuable.

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Our Innovation Program

I love how we bring culture and creativity together in our annual Innovation Program. It is a sandbox-type environment where employees work cross-functionally to make the impossible possible. The journey starts every summer during Hack Week, with thousands of our brightest minds participating worldwide — building, testing and developing hundreds of new prototypes. Following Hack Week, teams submit their projects for eBay’s Expo in the fall, where they pitch their ideas to business leaders in hopes of landing their ideas on our roadmap.

Teams collaborate to solve both customer and complex engineering problems at scale. eBay has 1.2 trillion data queries each day! Our data footprint is more than 700 petabytes, which is equivalent of 1.4 trillion songs, 3.5 million hours of movies and is enough to back up the American Library of Congress over 420 times.

In 2019, more than 250 working prototypes were created through our Innovation Program, and many of these are incorporated into existing company initiatives. 

The program celebrates eBay’s test-and-learn culture and our teams’ visionary innovations with honors like the Innovation Rotation Award. Winners are granted four months to step away from their current assignments to focus on developing their projects.

I’m very proud of the culture we foster. By rewarding people who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo, to think the impossible, to dream bigger and to allow their curiosity to roam free, we are building a better eBay in service of our customers, and helping to improve lives around the world.

Watch our new innovation documentary series at