Ever wonder how massive marketplaces like eBay measure and improve their performance?

There’s no big secret about it – they just collect tons and tons of data. And they get someone who’s amazing at data analytics to go through it and dig up the insights. This week, I found that someone.

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Davide Cervellin is eBay’s Head of EU Analytics. He and his team’s responsibility is to dig through the mountains of data eBay collects and test, make tweaks and ultimately improve performance. A huge job.

We talked about:
• Why data decision-making has got SLOWER as data improves;
• What a really good data team looks like;
• The most critical skill for making change in a business;
• Just how big eBay’s numbers are;
• Balancing the needs of eBay’s buyers and sellers;
• How long the data journey actually takes (you might be surprised);
• And the things you need to start yours.

Davide on…

The importance of telling a story with data:

The reality is finding people that can run secret code or pull data is not difficult. The difficult part is when you plug these people into an organisation of executives with complete problems and willingness to actually do something about them. You need to tell them a story, you need to understand what problem they have, what solution they might be willing to listen to and then you need to create your story along those guidelines.

The power of eBay:

We offer the merchants a unique opportunity of comparing the buyer behaviour when the buyer is exposed to their inventory and someone else’s. We don’t compete with them. They can really know what the buyers will do by testing on us and sometimes we are used as a test platform. They can make decisions that would spread all over the organisation.

The way to implement data into your strategy:

It will be a multi journey and the only way to make sure this happens is to have CEO or board endorsement to make sure that you never lose sight of what the goal is at the end of the journey which is three years, five years, whatever.


People Tell Richard Stuff: Episode 7
Davide Cervellin, Head of EU Analytics, eBay

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Davide Cervellin, Head of EU Analytics, eBay