February 14, 2011
The Zappos Tour: Join Me on a Very Wild & Visual Journey
If you live in the U.S., I'd be shocked if you've never heard of Zappos, a unique online store that started with shoes but then moved into other products even before it was acquired by Amazon.
CEO Tony Hsieh is a well known entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and social media circles, and is on the speaking circuit promoting his latest book Delivering Happiness, which is a must read if you haven't read it yet. There's even a Happiness Bus that is touring around the country, which I've had the pleasure to see in a few different cities. Check out a blog post I wrote summarizing a talk he gave in San Francisco last year, which includes a video clip. "If you get your corporate culture right," says Tony, "branding and customer service will naturally happen on its own. Customer service shouldn't be about a department, it should translate to the whole company."
This attitude and methodology has most definitely paid off as he points out in his book - it leads to a sustainable business and to profits. It leads to happy employees and customers. And, it leads to a corporate culture that is fun, memorable and inspiring, one that you want to stay with for a long time.
"Don't chase the paper," says Tony. "Chase the vision, chase your dream....and money will naturally follow. There's a big difference between motivation and inspiration. Make sure you have a higher purpose." He says that his only regret if he had to do it all over again was not having a core set of values in place for the company earlier. If you have passion, you're following your vision and your dream AND your company has alignment with those core values, all of it will extend to your employees, your partners and your customers. And, it shows up when you interact with Zappos employees - from the receptionist and customer service rep to the marketing and blogging team.
I finally had the opportunity to go on the official Zappos corporate tour during a recent trip to Las Vegas. It's more than a corporate tour - you feel as if you're on a ride with Disney, Tony Robbins and Pixar all at the same time, except that the tour includes shoes of course.....lots of them.
The creativity is a mish mash that changes as you migrate from department to department - it's as if you're on a discovery with each floor having its own energy and style, including the Blogging Bus which houses the 'blogging and social media' team. Check out a video interview I did with their social media team in January.
Since Zappos' color and energy was so eclectic and so visual, I thought I'd share my Zappos journey with you through photos. I also had an opportunity to attend their annual holiday party which had a 1920s theme this year and I most definitely dressed up - how could you not? While you'll notice a lot of funky shoes throughout including massive ones that were half my size, there was also a department that looked like a jungle, an official New York New York conference room and quite a few 'retro moments.' They also seem to really love Dr. Seuss.
Join me on my journey. Doesn't it look like a place you'd like to work?
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