27 July 2010

The New Al Bundy

I happened to run across Tony Hsieh's (CEO of Zappos) presentation from SXSW '09.
Awesome stuff there, here are some of the highlights that I think are relevant for pretty much any technology startup, especially b2c companies (but definitely not only).

Just like Donald Norman said in his presentation at Business of Software, Tony basically says: it's all about the experience (after all he's only selling shoes, it could have easily become a boring, Al Bundy style, online shoe store that most likely would not have succeeded like Zappos did).

"People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel."

Zappos' core values are what made it a success both in terms of it's actual business, in terms of employee satisfaction and attracting talent, and actually selling the company to Amazon a few months ago.

Here are their core values:
  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and a Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More with Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble

Some other interesting tidbits from his presentation:

Interviews & performance reviews are 50% based on core values & culture fit.

He introduces 7 steps to building a brand that matters:
  1. Decide - if you want to build a long term brand
  2. Figure out your values & culture
  3. Commit to transparency (twitter is a great tool for this)
  4. Vision - "Whatever you're thinking, think bigger." Chase the vision, not the money...
    He adds a nice quote from Puff Daddy: "Don't chase the paper, chase the dream."
  5. Build relationships - (not networking) Be INTERESTED rather than trying to be INTERESTING
  6. Build your team - "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." (Al Gore quoting African proverb)
    Hire slowly. Fire quickly.
  7. Think long term - There is no "get rich quick" formula. "Overnight" successes are years in the making

In the end he actually offers a copy of the Zappos culture book to whoever wants one and tours of their offices when you’re next in Las Vegas (they'll even pick you up from the airport or your hotel in a Zappos Shuttle!).

How's that for service?


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