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Fast Company Piece on Jeff Skoll

Jeff Skoll On How He Uses The Power Of Storytelling To Push For Change

For his whole philanthropic career, the eBay co-founder has harnessed compelling narrative to help inform and inspire a better future.

Jeff Skoll, the first full-time employee and former president of eBay, believes in a good story. Through the power of storytelling and community, Skoll hopes to inspire people to help solve the world’s problems as well as provide opportunities for individuals to make a difference.

“If you can find ways to give people hope that they can achieve something or make a difference, then there’s an opportunity for something good to happen,” Skoll says.

Growing up in a middle class family in Montreal, Canada, Skoll never thought much about philanthropy. His family spent summers in upstate New York camping, where each week he loaded a box with books at the local library to entertain himself. He was struck then “that the world was heading into some pretty perilous times where there would be a huge explosion in population, big demand on resources, terrible new weapons, potential terrible new wars and plagues.”

Skoll envisioned his future as a writer crafting stories that would get people interested in and engaged in these issues that were shaping us all. He quickly surmised that writing was not the best way for him to make a living and therefore have an impact.

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