Tilenius is a former Internet hotshot who did it all. She led eBay's Korea and Asia-Pacific operations, ran eBay Motors, built PayPal to $1 billion in revenue, and after that headed global product and eBay North America. When she left the company last September, Tilenius told us that she hoped to find a CEO position.
So now, she's a VP at Google? Her new gig, she contends, is a better opportunity than being chief executive of any Internet start-up. Her position, VP of Commerce, is new at Google. Tilenius is overseeing development of digital content and commerce in the cloud, plus she's responsible for everything commerce-related, including product search and payments. This means she'll be in charge of Google Checkout, the online payments system that rivals eBay's PayPal. With all the new devices coming out for consumers, she says, there's huge opportunity for innovation in mobile and local commerce.
"The lesson learned here," she adds, "is not to be focused on a title but an opportunity."
Tilenius, in fact, has never followed other people's career rules. Graduating from Harvard Business School in 1996, she passed on an offer from Goldman Sachs (GS) to work for a start-up called Firefly. She recalls that she was one of 10 people from her class who had the courage to go to an Internet company. After Microsoft (MSFT) bought Firefly, Tilenius co-founded PlanetRx.com. She took the online healthcare and e-commerce company public in 1999, postponing her honeymoon for the road show. As the Internet bubble burst, PlanetRx did too.
Tilenius once told me that ever since her days at PlanetRx and throughout her nine-year run at eBay, she's kept a list of lessons learned over her diverse career. Yesterday, on her first day as Google, she agreed to share it. Many of Tilenius' lessons are common sense--all about challenging yourself and embracing change. But her list includes good advice for anyone trying to navigate wisely. And as for her pals at Google, they might learn something about their new VP of Commerce...
1. Hire the best talent. Surround yourself with smarter people who have complementary skills and who challenge the status quo.
2. Think big. Develop BHAGs: big hairy audacious goals. Imagine the impossible and you will be surprised how much you can accomplish.
3. Aim to make a difference. Make the world a better place.
4. Say what you mean and do what you say. Execution and follow-through are critical. Thomas Edison said "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." My father used to always remind me of this.
5. Competition makes you stronger. It also makes you serve your customers better.
6. Always put the customer first. And remember, you have to have a great product or service that is differentiated to win.
7. Take on the hardest challenges. Get out of your comfort zone. If you have not failed at something, you are probably not innovating.
8. Truth-seeking is half the battle in winning. You need to know where you stand in the war.
9. Move fast in a land-grab. Get network effects first. Remember, you need both popularity and profitability.
10. You can be an entrepreneur in a big company.
11. Pay it forward. Be a mentor.
12. If you make a mistake or fail, it's OK. Fix it fast and move forward. But make sure to take the lessons away so you do not repeat them. Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
by Jessica Shambora
On the heels of last week's news that Avon (AVP) president Liz Smith is leaving to pursue a CEO job outside the company, another powerful woman is departing to seek a new C-suite challenge. eBay (EBAY) announced today that Stephanie Tilenius, head of marketplaces for North America, is leaving.
Tilenius, 42, will stay on as an advisor to CEO John Donahoe for the next few months, but her position MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Sep 21, 2009 7:09 PM ET
"Don't think of your career as being about balance within each phase, but across phases. When you think about having it all worked out within one phase, it gets very stressful. You look for that day of perfect balance, and it just never exists. I say, think of your career in phases. And be patient, because you never know what phase is coming."
-- Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, President, Asia Pacific and MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Aug 14, 2008 5:43 PM ET
The Most Powerful Women franchise, just a decade old, is already Fortune's second biggest after the Fortune 500. Amazing, isn't it? This fact attests to the power of women in a year when so many powerful women - including Hillary Clinton and Morgan Stanley's (MS) Zoe Cruz and Lehman Brothers' (LEH) Erin Callan - got so close to the top and then fell. Even so, the power of women in business MOREPatricia Sellers - Jul 25, 2008 2:16 PM ET
We're expanding our Most Powerful Women coverage this year to spotlight rising stars whom we think have a good chance to be on our annual list someday. I'll be interviewing three of them at an upcoming MPWomen dinner in San Francisco.
Fortune reporter Jessica Shambora, who is handling the MPWomen list research this year, asked our three panelists for their definition of power. Their responses reflected common themes around the ability MOREPatricia Sellers - Jul 18, 2008 12:05 PM ET
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