Artificial Intelligence

eBay Chief Technology Officer Mazen Rawashdeh Talks Culture, Strategy and Taking Time Off

eBay News Team

Mazen appeared on the Modern CTO podcast, fresh off his sabbatical, to chat about eBay.

As eBay’s Chief Technology Officer, you’d expect Mazen Rawashdeh to have lots to say about tech, the backbone of eBay’s business. On the Modern CTO podcast, which Mazen guested on this week, he did touch on open source, how to solve problems, and the challenges of engineering — but he started off with something a little different: the importance of not working.

Mazen spoke with host Joel Beasley first about taking a sabbatical. “It’s just amazing,” said Mazen. “I’m fresh, I’m energized. The sabbatical program is just amazing.” Mazen noted that making sure to take time, whether it’s a sabbatical or a day off to spend time with family, isn’t just a benefit: it’s key to eBay’s culture and a major help to productivity and efficiency.

The conversation then dived into Mazen’s personal history, from his arrival in the United States in 1988 to joining eBay in 2003 to his departure and eventual return in 2016 as CTO. Mazen discussed what makes eBay a fascinating place to work, why artificial intelligence and machine learning are so vital to the marketplace, and how to build a good corporate culture. 

“You know you’ve built a good culture when people do the right thing when you’re not watching,” he noted.

 “You know you’ve built a good culture when people do the right thing when you’re not watching,” he noted.

Mazen also examined eBay’s position in today’s technology space, answering tough questions about where the company is going, how open-source participation can help with recruitment, and how to understand and adapt to competition without changing who we fundamentally are as a company.

Mazen previously held technical roles at Oracle and LoudCloud, and was Vice President of Infrastructure Engineering and Operations at Twitter, where he helped scale Twitter’s business as it went through the IPO process. Upon returning to eBay, he took ownership of the technology vision, strategy, and implementation across the company.