Patti Louise Ruby, an Indianapolis native, was born to work on a computer. In junior high, she took a class in the programming language Fortran. She excelled and enjoyed the class: The die was cast. Patti went through several jobs as a programmer and then became a consultant. In the late 90s, Patti was part-owner of an antique mall, and coincidentally found a Web site called AuctionWeb (the original eBay). She was fascinated by the concept, and began selling on the site. She also became an integral part of the chat rooms, which initially served as loose customer support where users helped other users. Patti s ease with computers helped many a new user feel comfortable on the boards and with using the AuctionWeb system.
In February 1997, Patti was hired as AuctionWeb s second Customer Support Representative. In this position, she became the main interface between the engineering staff and the user community, where she communicated members bug reports and suggestions for site enhancements. When AuctionWeb became the new eBay site in the fall of 1997, she headed up a live question-and-answer board that was set up to help members make the transition between platforms.