A year after taking the helm of eBay in 1998, Meg Whitman made what she called one of her biggest blunders—missing out on the huge Internet market in Japan.
In an interview with CNBC, Whitman said the fledgling online shopping and auction site had to repair its existing website from a major outage caused by rapid growth overwhelming a shaky and underprepared website. That caused eBay to miss a window into Japan, which was the world's second-largest Internet market at the time, Whitman, now the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, said.
"It just taught me—follow your intuition," Whitman said in the interview, which aired Tuesday on "Squawk on the Street." "I had a sense that the technology underpinning eBay was not going to help us scale where we needed to. That miss of eBay Japan is one of the big failures of my time at eBay."
Whitman, who was named No. 18 on CNBC's First 25 list, was the only woman to have led two large U.S. corporations in eBay and Hewlett-Packard. The companies couldn't have been more different when Whitman assumed the chief executive positions.