Meet eBay's First Employee

By: Jennifer O'Connell and Adam Kohler

Chris Agarpao had "no idea whatsoever" of the exciting future that lay ahead when he joined 'AuctionWeb' in 1996

As eBay celebrates the beginning of its next chapter, employees around the globe have been reflecting on the company’s incredible history and sharing some of their most memorable moments.

And few have as many memorable moments as Chris Agarpao, eBay’s Employee No. 1.

Chris joined eBay in June 1996, just nine months after Pierre Omidyar founded the company. Twenty years later, he’s still part of the eBay family, working in our San Jose headquarters, in workplace resources operations.

Recalling the conversation with Pierre that led to him joining the company that was then called AuctionWeb, Chris says: “Pierre was the best man at my sister’s wedding ... When I told him I was unhappy with my job, he was scratching his beard, like his was thinking. And then he said ‘I might have something in the works, in the future’. He called me up two weeks later.”

Chris admits he had no idea of the fantastic career opportunity that he had just stumbled upon. “No idea whatsoever. At that stage, it was just a hobby for Pierre. I started off working in his townhouse, processing his final value fees. It was just a chance for me to work on my computer skills, and to work with Pierre.”

Eight months into his time at eBay, Chris started to get an inkling of the opportunity that lay ahead. “I was talking to Jeff Skoll, our President, and he said, ‘You haven’t seen anything yet.’ But it was all still big dreams.”

Two decades on, Chris has no doubt about what it is that keeps him enthusiastic about coming to work every day. “It’s the people. I go on my rounds at eBay and I talk to people, and I connect with them. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with great leaders. I love it.”

Read more incredible moments from eBay’s history on our timeline.