Leadership Lessons and Building & Scaling the Marketplace – Ramkumar Narayanan and Vivek Pathak – eBay

Leadership Lessons and Building & Scaling the Marketplace by Mr. Ramkumar Narayanan, Global Head and Mr. Vivek Pathak, Head- Business Strategy, eBay Product Development Centre

“Success comes before work only in dictionary”, the words of Mr. Ramkumar Narayanan reverberated inside the awestruck class as it broke into a thunderous and delighted applause. “Engaging the community is the key”, the words of Mr. Vivek Pathak presented the essence of market place model in the current e commerce scenario subtly, intensifying the delirium of the audience. On the 10th of September and under the renowned guest lecture series of Vinod Gupta School of Management IIT Kharagpur, Vaarta’15, the students of MBA had the privilege and honor of attending the lecture by two eminent personalities in the modern business world, Mr. Ramkumar Narayanan, Global head-Monetization & General manager, eBay product development center and Mr. Vivek Pathak, the head-business strategy and operations, eBay product development center.

In the current dynamic world, it is essential to understand the importance of the work-life balance. The invaluable experiences shared by Mr. Narayanan reinforced the importance of introspection and its implications on work-life balance. He unveiled the secret of his 25 years of successful career. He started with stating the importance of taking calculated risks in life. The importance of learning something new and gaining new experiences at every stage of life was stressed. With curiosity grows the depth of knowledge, and with it one reaches the expertise. This simple yet astounding principle of success was portrayed by Mr. Narayanan in the most interesting way. He later went on to state the importance of executing tasks with precision as there are no shortcuts to success. In the highly active customer market today, the importance of communication is even more elevated. It is really difficult to grab the customer’s attention and even more difficult to hold the attention by communicating the message effectively.Be it verbal or non-verbal, it is extremely important to convey the message in its true sense to the listener.Mr. Narayanan emphasized on the importance of communication skills in the world today.

Honesty and ethics are two crucial building blocks of a charismatic personality. The decision to behave ethically is a moral one and it tries to create a sense of right or wrong. Mr. Narayanan appealed to the audience to adhere meticulously to ethics by doing the right thing.The superior sense of satisfaction is derived from giving back to the society. Mr. Narayanan substantiated this fact and asked to inculcate the habit of giving back to the community at any level. He intensified the sense of responsibility in the audience by alluding to a plethora examples from his own career. The journey of life is a roller coaster ride of experiences. The moments of excruciating pain are followed by the moments of euphoria and amid these transitions, the sense of direction of a human being is generally lost. He lucidly portrayed the effect of introspection in determining the course of journey. He ended the enticing lecture by stating the fact that it just takes a moment to leave back the legacy. He indeed left back the legacy which, the audience anticipated, is extremely difficult for anyone to follow but what followed is another session of sheer brilliance.

The world is consistently moving into the digital realm each and every day. E-commerce is gaining importance with this new transformation and is proving its importance based on the fact that time is essence. There are a lot of things that happen in the background to power up the fascinating ecommerce place. Mr. Vivek’s workshop on the business models of ecommerce firms and their relevance proved to be very engrossing. He started the speech by presenting the fact that the entire world is a market place. The increased connectivity through social, analytics and cloud has paved the path to a hyper connected world. The impact on the e-commerce, therefore, is humongous. He presented the stats which show that Asia pacific region is poised to be the number one in ecommerce. From clearly stating the importance of ecommerce, he later moved on to explain the means to decode the modern customer. He explained the importance of logistics to shine to successfully run the business in the ecommerce industry. He touched upon the growth of mobile industry and how the mobile has become the first touch point. With customers getting deeper each day, personalization is extremely important to retain the customers. Moreover, the ecommerce industry, to an extent, is capitalizing on the reduction of time spent by the customer in transacting with the firm. Given this, the failed transactions are proving to be the greatest threats to the firms in the industry. He reiterated these facts by citing a few examples.

The onus of the success of the business lies on the business model it adapts. Facing the ever demanding and dynamic customers, the business model that the business adapts, should be accommodating and effective. Mr. Vivek presented the marketing place model and the characteristics that help this model to outperform any other model in the ecommerce business. He explained how eBay effectively invests in building and re building the trust of customers. He vividly described the motive of eBay to provide a platform for sellers. Mr. Vivek ended the evocative speech by emphasizing the need to reduce the friction in communication to build the trust. Thus ended the interactive and informative session. The valuable insights shared by the esteemed guests will go a long way with the audience.

VGSoM Kharagpur

The Vinod Gupta School of Management is a business school in India. It was established in 1993 at IIT Kharagpur and was the first management school to be set up within the IIT system. It was initiated by a distinguished alumnus and a Life Time Fellow of the Institute, Mr. Vinod Gupta. In the year 2018, VGSoM completed 25 glorious years of its existence as a premier B-School of India. Today it is consistently ranked as one of the top 15 Institutes for business management in the country and boasts of a list of illustrious alumni holding prestigious positions in companies across the world.

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