As of today, the green shooting star above will only look familiar to a few individuals around the world… it represents a Feedback score of 500,000. The “Sweating Star” (as I like to call it) on the right is familiar to only one person, Jack Sheng, as it represents a Feedback score of 1,000,000 (something he has achieved not once, not twice, but four times!). I guess the “sweat” represents how hard it is to accomplish such an amazing feat. The stars will be unveiled at the San Jose campuses today when the company welcomes Jack to our offices to celebrate in his remarkable achievement.
The following was posted on the eBay internal blog and it tells a pretty incredible story of hard work, entrepreneurship and perseverance…
It all started about eight years ago in a garage in Arcadia, Calif., where Jack Sheng and his two best friends, Alvin and Eugene, decided to test the e-commerce waters by selling electronics accessories on eBay.The three 25 year olds, who had known each other since they were 12, all had full-time jobs. They thought they might be able to bring in some extra money by reselling goods on eBay, so they gave it a shot.
They started with a $500 investment in cell phone and electronics accessories, which they began selling right away. Before they knew it, they were selling 200-300 items per day and had hired a few friends from their church to help package and ship the items. Eforcity, as the company was called, focused on selling small, lower-priced items like cell phone, camera and electronics accessories, which kept costs and the need for space to a minimum. Still, in less than a year they had to rent an office to keep up with demand.
In 2002, the trio attended eBay’s e-Commerce Forum, where they met former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and several of eBay’s top sellers. They networked, shared key learnings and asked questions of the other sellers. They quickly recognized that they already had more Feedback stars than any of the other sellers (50,000 and counting!). More importantly, however, they realized that the opportunity to grow Eforcity was almost limitless, as long as they could continue to find ways to provide additional value for their customers.
Eforcity: The 90th fastest-growing company in the U.S.
It was around this time that Jack, Alvin and Eugene decided to leave their full-time jobs and dedicate themselves completely to Eforcity. They drafted a business plan, moved into a bigger office and began looking for ways to add value to their products. Jack starting knocking on the doors of manufacturers in China, in hopes of setting up direct relationships with the makers of the products they sold. While it was tough at first (the manufacturers only wanted to deal with well-known distribution companies), Jack was able to show them that he had a thriving eBay business and he was worth doing business with.
Today, Jack and his partners have established direct relationships with more than 100 manufacturers in China, and in many cases they help influence the design of the products they sell based on customer feedback received through eBay. Eforcity now offers a wide selection of cell phone, MP3, printer, digital camera, PDA, HDTV (HDMI Cable), and Bluetooth accessories.
In 2006, Inc. magazine named Eforcity Corp. the 90th fastest-growing company in the United States on the famous “Inc. 500” list. Today, Eforcity is one of the largest eBay retailers for high tech gadgets, grossing more than $40 million in annual revenue. The company has almost 200 employees working around the clock and around the world, shipping 25,000 – 30,000 orders per day.
“In just eight short years we have been able to grow our business from a mere idea into a reality that far exceeds our original expectations of success,” said Jack.
Listening to your customer
He credits much of this success to the dedication he and his partners have to providing a good customer experience. Being able to collect feedback and act on it in real time, he explains, has allowed Eforcity to evolve according to customer needs and stay one step ahead of the competition.
“Every small-business owner should develop a system for collecting feedback from their clients,” he adds. “It can mean the difference between a $3 million business and a $30 million business.”
He also attributes his success to a great partnership with eBay. “We’ve learned so much by working closely with the internal teams at eBay. eBay employees should be proud of the positive impact they have on people’s lives.”
When asked how he would advise other eBay sellers and entrepreneurs looking for success, Jack encouraged business owners to get objective feedback on their ideas from others.
“One of the toughest parts of being an entrepreneur is that there’s no one to bounce ideas off of and give you feedback. Having three partners has been critical to our success – there’s never an even split on decisions so it’s easy for us to decide on the path to take. If you don’t have a partner, seek outside counsel. Try to self-evaluate as much as possible and ask others to give you feedback on your plans and tough decisions. It will greatly improve your success.”
Jack is looking forward to continued growth of the business. He notes that while many businesses see slowed growth during an economic slowdown, in his experience, eBay sellers always fare better. People come to eBay for deals, he notes, making it a great place to shop when budgets are tight.
I realize Jack’s schedule will be pretty tight when he pays a visit to our campus later today but it would be great to get the opportunity to shake his hand and congratulate him on a truly amazing achievement.
John and Jack
Jack Sees Stars
(Looks like everyone is picking up on this “sweaty star” moniker):
TameBay: New shooting stars for people with lots and lots of feedback
eBay Strategies: The new eBay ‘eforcity’ stars