GENE COOK, BA’94
In little more than a decade, eBay has grown into the world’s largest online marketplace, with more than 88 million users worldwide. As the company’s director of buyer experience, Gene Cook has the task of ensuring that users have a good experience when searching for those things they simply must have.
“The people here are highly committed, very bright, creative and driven—and they’re here because they genuinely get excited about what the company does and what it makes possible for both buyers and sellers,” says Cook, who has worked with eBay in San Jose, Calif., for six years. “There’s a feeling of personal satisfaction in the experience of finding and buying things that really mean something to you.”
Cook knows that feeling firsthand. When he was a 12-year-old in Kentucky, his dad bought his dream car, a silver ’69 Corvette Stingray with red leather interior and chrome side pipes. Father and son quickly bonded over the car and mourned the day it was sold years later, just before Cook headed off to Vanderbilt. Cook promised himself that he’d somehow find the car one day and get it back.
Nearly 20 years later, it happened: His dad’s old Corvette—the very same one—popped up in an eBay auction last January. In a rush of adrenaline, Cook snatched it up, and today he’s sharing his love for the car with his 4-year-old son, Dylan.
“It really is our car,” says Cook. “Just as I shared it with my dad, a third generation is enjoying it. Now I’ve got some competition—Dylan says the car is his best friend.”
© 2014 Vanderbilt University | Photography: Trish Elston Cook, BA’83, MA’90
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