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Zappos Family Seattle Coding Challenge And Tech Tweet Up

The Scoop: Open bar, open bar, appetizers… Oh! And did we mention OPEN BAR!

Vegas Baby: Can you code at a bar? If yes, then you can code at Zappos! 

We will be having 2 coding challenges – 30 minutes each – 25 people max in each challenge. You can only do one of the challenges. If you need headphones, bring ‘em. Oh, and a laptop - that’s kinda important!

1st coding challenge at 6:30pm 
2nd coding challenge at 7:30pm

The coding challenge is the first screening step in our interview process for hiring software engineers at Zappos. The person who gets the correct answer first from each round will be fast-tracked to VEGAS BABY! Yep, the second step in our screening process is an in-person interview in Las Vegas at our offices. And as always when we fly folks in to spend the night in Vegas, tour our offices, and interview - expenses are on us! Sorry, any gambling is on you. ;)

You don’t have to do a coding challenge or be a software engineer to hang with us!! We love all you tech peeps indiscriminately. Come on down and have a drink already! And our CEO, Tony Hsieh, will be at the event! If you participate in the challenge and would like one, he’s happy to sign a copy of his book, “Delivering Happiness” for you. 

If you are a helper and know super awesome tech folks, tweet this link!

And in closing, check out what Zappos developers do when they aren't coding:

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Share Widget

Check out the new share widget on! The share widget allows you to share your favorite products on via Facebook, Twitter, and email. You can even post them on your blog! Jen from Zappos IP, Inc explains the new share widget. Check it out and comment below!

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Rapid Order Lookie Lou

Rapid Order Lookie Lou is a great new feature on that allows you to quickly view the items from your orders on your account page. Brandon from Zappos IP, Inc. explains this awesome new feature. Take a look!

Breadcrumbs on Product Pages

One of our biggest focuses this year is improving the findability and browseability of our site. With breadcrumb navigation links on the product page, we're re-introducing a navigation tool we had on our site for many years until we moved to the new Zeta* site a few years back. The basic idea is that when you hit a product page you'll have hierarchical navigation links to allow you to "back out" into broader related searches and categories. This is especially useful if the product page is the first page on your visit to Zappos and you would like to view the higher level category or brand that this product is part of.

Here's some screenshots and photos showing our breadcrumbs in action. 

Breadcrumb Navigation

As you can see you'll now have a hierarchical view of how the product is classified with links to those departments. This also includes a link to the brand page of the product and the product name. 

Stacey and Dave

Stacey Eddy, Sr User Experience Architect and Dave Stevens, Front-End Developer, who both worked on this project are spotted here doting on the feature like proud parents.

Let us know what you think!




* Zappos terminology for "beta". Also, the Zeta site hasn't been in beta for a while now but internally we still call it that.

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Letter From Our CTO

Hi Team,

As we embark on another ambitious year for Zappos Technology, let's remember to play our part in moving forward one of the company's most powerful assets and competitive differentiators - OUR CULTURE. Moving our culture forward entails engaging with departments outside technology as much as engaging with teams inside the technology department. Our culture provides the platform for friendships across teams and departments which then enables seamless communication without the bureaucracy found in larger companies. I'm happy to share how Zappos Tech will be owning and driving various cultural events and projects in 2011 – your participation and engagement in these events would be welcomed!

1. The 8000M challenge – I made the mistake of telling Brent that I would actually do the 8000M challenge if he agreed to lead it – well, he's leading it and I will be doing the 8000M challenge. Hope to see many of you participate!

2. The Rube Goldberg Machine – Dave Fong will lead getting the company involved in the creation of a very fun Rube Goldberg machine!

3. The Pinewood Derby – Frank Zaffino and team are leading this and we expect this to be a fun event in March!

This is in addition to various cultural events like Hackathons, Tech Lunch n Learns, Minute to Win-its, the donut eating contests, the breakfast club for Finance, and more…

Additionally, tech will be enabling and/or driving various cultural projects including the evolution of the face game, the next versions of Wishez and moving the zepic hackathon project forward. 

Let's continue to solidify technology's reputation as an incredible innovation, execution and operational team by leveraging our technical skills and our cultural platform to WOW and deliver happiness to everyone around us!!


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What's Tech Working On?

Hurdling buildings and halting speeding locomotives is an average day in the life of SYS… the team is always “on point” when needed to handle incidents that arise through the normal course of business. 

One such event developed on a normal, wintry day in Kentucky… slight breeze, chill in the air, and all systems were “go.” Out of nowhere, Verizon went down and the company was unable to produce shipping labels for cartons.  Verizon, you see, provides the internet connection between Zappos and GTS (Amazon’s shipping solution).  Bert Hooper, caped-crusader extraordinaire sprang into action, suggesting the team switch to the backup internet connection for SiteManager (Windstream). In an amazing feat that would have only been described by an ex-president as “Thwartin’ the evildoer’s doin’,” SYS worked simultaneously with Verizon to resolve the problem, and with Amazon, to setup a tunnel through Windstream to connect to GTS - in the event that Verizon couldn’t come back online. As was the case, Verizon didn’t come back up, and SYS moved forward with the Windstream workaround once the tunnel had been established. 

Kudos and props go out to Sys and KYFC Ops for their collaboration in bringing a thoughtful and rapid solution to this dastardly situation. Not only was the team able to re-establish peace to the Kentucky quadrant, they saved the system from sure ruin. Though manual shipping stations and automated shipping lanes were affected, the efforts of all involved resulted in no missed paid or VIP orders - quite amazing given the outage. Additionally, the team has already established a redundant solution to avoid an extended outage should this sort of thing happen again.

So the next time you see SYS wandering the halls, give ‘em a high-five, thumbs-up, or blow up the rock… ‘cuz there are superheroes among us.

The Perpetual Cart

With all the shoes, clothes and accessories on our site it's fun to look at lots of product and add things to your cart quickly and easily. With the perpetual cart, we're hoping to make that even more smooth by allowing you to quickly view what's in your cart from any page on the site without having to leave that page. Additionally, we're testing perpetual cart's functionality that allows you to stay on the product page when adding an item to the cart.

This feature also leverages our public API, which allows 3rd party developers to write applications that interface with the Zappos site.

Perpetual Cart

Stacey Eddy, Sr User Experience Architect, and Brandon Murry, Front-End Developer, who both worked on this project give their thumbs up on the perpetual cart.

Stacey and Brandon

Give us your feedback!

A Conversation with the Customer - Listen, Watch, Learn and Tell

This past year, we released a bunch of new features to the site. Some more obvious than others but our growing team got a lot accomplished and it was another amazing year for the Zappos Family. While we delivered on our internal timelines and optimized a lot of things on the site, one thing that we didn't do that well is have that conversation with you, our customer, on which site changes worked, which didn't and give you a heads up about new features that are being released in the future. In 2011, we'll be listening, watching and learning about what's working and what isn't and also telling you about site changes and new features we roll out. 

Listening. We've always had a great feedback loop at, through our conversations with you on our 1800 number (1 800 927 7671), facebook, twitter, blog comments, surveys and testimonials, we get a pulse of how you are doing and how we are doing. We're going to continue to listen to your feedback and be actively asking for your input on existing and new site features. Every comment is read, often multiple times, by different people and a lot of the feedback we get from you start discussions and define what we work on. Keep the comments coming because it's one way to inform the team if we're on the right track and doing the right things. 

Watching. In the past few years we've built out our research capabilities to better see what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Occassionally we'll roll out new features to just a subset of customers to see how they are received and interacted with. In some cases, we'll keep features and in others we won't depending on how things are received. In addition, if you stumble or are having problems with the site we send our team of sleuths out to investigate to find what went wrong and many times escalate that pain point as a project to fix as soon as possible. 

Learning. All of this is in an effort to better Learn how we can offer the absolute best online shopping experience possible and maybe even read your mind so that the next time you visit the site the experience will be even better than the previous. We haven't hired a psychic yet, but it's on our todo list. 

Telling. Finally, we're going to Tell you about changes on the site and at the same time introduce you to the team that's responsible for making those changes. As new features roll out, look out for our new feature kitty,

The New Feature Kitty

that will let you know that we have a new feature on the site. You'll have access to a survey about the feature to give feedback and a blog post describing the feature showcased by the developers and designers that worked on it. 

So, if you're a long-time customer or brand new to the site, let's continue to have that conversation and build that relationship until we're one of those couples that makes our friends uncomfortable. We're looking forward to it! ;) 




FEZ (Front-End Development) and UX (User Experience) Manager