Around the office with eBay's Dan Tarman

The SVP and CCO walks us through a day in his life at the renowned ecommerce company.

Why pick comms over a career in law?
I consider myself a recovering lawyer — I wasn’t a good one, so it wasn’t difficult to make the switch. Both disciplines require critical thinking and advocacy skills; the ability to convince stakeholders of the merits of your arguments; and a strategy to determine how to make your case. 

What book(s) you’re reading?
The Pinstripe Ghost, which I’m reading with my 7-year-old son Miles, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, which I’m reading with my 10-year-old son Leo.  

Any tips for staying sane in Silicon Valley?
Get outside of the bubble, early and often. 

Best pizza place back home in New Haven, Connecticut? 
It’s a photo finish between Pepe’s and Sally’s, but Pepe’s by a nose. And for the record, there is no real pizza in California. 

What's your average start time in the morning?
In the office between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., which still feels like mid-morning after working Wall Street hours for eight years. 

What's the first site or app you check?
Twitter, The Washington Post, The New York Times. "Real news." 

Tips for keeping up with an East Coast schedule on the West Coast?
I’ve been doing it for so long now that it just feels intuitive. 

What's the best way to beat traffic?
The three Ls of real estate: location, location, and location. I live six miles from my office.

How many meetins do you average a day?
EBay is a very collaborative culture, and the comms team is as well. So each day can have upward of 10 meetings. I prefer shorter meetings — 15 to 30 minutes — unless we’re dealing with a major strategic issue. 

My biggest tip for scheduling is I’ve learned the indispensability of having an amazing executive assistant. 

How often are you on the road?
Our business is global, as is my team, so my travel equates to about a week per month. I make sure my hotel has a gym. And Ambien.

What's the most distinct aspect of your personal office?
The six-foot-wide photograph of a sunrise on Miami Beach. My happy place. Purchased on eBay, of course. 

How do you manage to put away work on nights and weekends?
Unless there is a real issue that requires my attention, the minute I walk in the door at home I am dad, not CCO. 

The biggest thing I’ve learned is to keep my priorities straight and live life in balance. I’ll quickly forget about that issue at work, but I’ll always remember my son’s soccer game or my other son’s performance in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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