In many respects, Thompson is back working with partners he knows well. ShopRunner launched 22 months ago as a service to allow members to pick up packages at retail store locations. ShopRunner is an offshoot of GSI Commerce, which ran distribution centers for retailers such as Dick's Sporting Goods and NFL.com. When eBay bought GSI, ShopRunner was spun off.
ShopRunner sells two-day shipping and pick-ups for a $79 member ship fee. For now, ShopRunner counts Toys R Us, Petsmart, Lord & Taylor, GNC and Drugstore.com as partners. The company, however, needs a larger network to compete with Amazon Prime. Ultimately, ShopRunner may need every retailer not named Amazon in its network.
Thompson's first job will be recruiting partners. Thompson, who led eBay's PayPal unit, is familiar with former GSI CEO Michael Rubin, who also happened to kick off ShopRunner and is the majority shareholder via his Kynetic company.
Simply put, Thompson is in a world he knows well with executives he's familiar with. In other words, Thompson could do a lot worse. He takes a bad situation---being humiliated at Yahoo---and has turned it into something positive.
ShopRunner CEO and co-founder Mike Golden will become president to clear the way for Thompson. In a statement, Thompson said:
While PayPal and ShopRunner are fundamentally different businesses, there are similarities in each of their success. Both companies are focused on building the broadest network of satisfied merchants by providing the value that creates a large and loyal customer community, creating a virtuous circle.
Bottom line: Thompson is in a fine position to revamp his career and notch a few wins in an area he knows well. Years from now it's quite possible that ShopRunner may yield more upside potential than the outcome of pushing Yahoo up a hill.