fortune cover, fifty million, all in

Can Meg Whitman save California?

In a bad economy, this sorry state has the worst credit rating and the highest taxes. The former eBay chief wants to run it like a business. Is that a good thing?

A grand gamble

Her record at eBay gives clues to the kind of governor Meg Whitman would be. She was famously hands-on. “If we had a 911, which is what we called a site outage or other emergency,” says OpenTable CEO Jeff Jordan, who ran eBay North America and then PayPal, “it was all hands on deck, and you weren’t going to sleep till you were done.” Whitman consistently met ever-rising quarterly profit expectations until 2006. “Meg used to say, ‘Last time I looked, the long term is made up of quarters,'” says Rajiv Dutta, eBay’s former CFO who went on to head PayPal. (Recently retired, Dutta, a Democrat, is another campaign finance co-chairman.) When Whitman tried to be a visionary, she sometimes scored (buying PayPal) and other times didn’t: She took a $1.4 billion write-down on Skype, acquired for $3.1 billion. “Did we pay too much? Yes,” she says, while insisting that eBay is better off owning Skype. Clearly outdone by Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) and Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), eBay is undergoing its own reinvention by Whitman’s successor, John Donahoe. Analysts speculate that he may sell the Internet telephony service. No question, her latest career move is Whitman’s grandest gamble yet. In the governor’s race, the one person who would probably beat her and anyone else who enters is Dianne Feinstein, the U.S. senator who has broad popularity across California. But Feinstein, ever formidable at 75, recently moved up to chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Though she has long wanted to be governor, most people think Feinstein would be crazy to give up her powerful position in Washington.

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2 responses to “fortune cover, fifty million, all in

  1. Smut Peddler, Guv Hopeful Meg Whitman

    Is this someone you want your Children to know as Governor while growing up ?

    Waffles on Porn Subsidies
    By Matt Smith in Politics
    Wed., Apr. 15 2009 @ 4:37PM
    Domimeg2.jpg

    Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who as eBay CEO proved her mettle as a hardcore fetish pornography entrepreneur, did not respond to an inquiry Wednesday about whether as governor she would seek to continue a California program that, until recently, subsidized the production of smut.

    Next week’s SF Weekly includes an exclusive report about a California economic development program that has routed tens of thousands of dollars in subsidies to an Internet pornography producer. Continuing — or even bolstering — this practice would seem a tailor-made campaign issue for Whitman, who bills herself as a business whiz ready to revive the California economy. She backs her economic talk with real chops: In 1998, just as eBay was preparing an initial stock offering, Whitman oversaw the creation of a special eBay site exclusively for the sale of pornography. The move was prescient — though much porn consumption has shifted to streaming Internet video, there’s still a market for specialized fetish material best sold in DVD — or otherwise physically-shippable form.
    In this spirit, Whitman’s “eBay Adults Only” brainchild is a place where, on April 15, $5.94 got one into the bidding for a DVD titled Redneck Trailer Torture. With $12 one could vie for “porn star Brianna Ryder’s personal g-string,” and $7.99 put one in the running for the DVD Grandma Has Sex With Everybody! Anal, Oral, Group!
    By mid-day on April 15, Whitman’s adults-only Web-auction brainchild had more than 87,000 items for sale, with prices the $5-$20 range. If this is typical, a back-of-the-used-thong calculation suggests an eBay porno-based income of several million dollars per year, potentially funding dozens of California jobs.

    On Wednesday SF Weekly asked Whitman spokesman Mitch Zak whether, given Whitman’s smut-peddling success, the porn-industry could count on her support as governor. Zak had not responded by press time.
    Tags: eBay, fetish, Meg Whitman, pornography
    Related Content

  2. Smut Peddler, Guv Hopeful Meg Whitman Waffles on Porn Subsidies
    By Matt Smith in Politics
    Wed., Apr. 15 2009 @ 4:37PM
    Domimeg2.jpg

    Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who as eBay CEO proved her mettle as a hardcore fetish pornography entrepreneur, did not respond to an inquiry Wednesday about whether as governor she would seek to continue a California program that, until recently, subsidized the production of smut.

    Next week’s SF Weekly includes an exclusive report about a California economic development program that has routed tens of thousands of dollars in subsidies to an Internet pornography producer. Continuing — or even bolstering — this practice would seem a tailor-made campaign issue for Whitman, who bills herself as a business whiz ready to revive the California economy. She backs her economic talk with real chops: In 1998, just as eBay was preparing an initial stock offering, Whitman oversaw the creation of a special eBay site exclusively for the sale of pornography. The move was prescient — though much porn consumption has shifted to streaming Internet video, there’s still a market for specialized fetish material best sold in DVD — or otherwise physically-shippable form.
    In this spirit, Whitman’s “eBay Adults Only” brainchild is a place where, on April 15, $5.94 got one into the bidding for a DVD titled Redneck Trailer Torture. With $12 one could vie for “porn star Brianna Ryder’s personal g-string,” and $7.99 put one in the running for the DVD Grandma Has Sex With Everybody! Anal, Oral, Group!
    By mid-day on April 15, Whitman’s adults-only Web-auction brainchild had more than 87,000 items for sale, with prices the $5-$20 range. If this is typical, a back-of-the-used-thong calculation suggests an eBay porno-based income of several million dollars per year, potentially funding dozens of California jobs.
    Her jobs to California ; Smut , alcohol & Pharmaceuticals but , what do you expect coming from someone who is 100% against legalizing Marijuana ?

    On Wednesday SF Weekly asked Whitman spokesman Mitch Zak whether, given Whitman’s smut-peddling success, the porn-industry could count on her support as governor. Zak had not responded by press time.
    Tags: eBay, fetish, Meg Whitman, pornography
    Related Content

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