Fresh and Easy.. Incubation Update!

Last week, we had account from Derek F., our inside man in Zappos CLT Incubation, check out his first installment here . We hear from Derek again this week, deep in the trenches and nearing the end of one of the most exciting times for any new CLT member. Take it away, good sir!

Well, the time has come! We are in our final days of Incubation, and then on to the floor of CLT land! I think I speak for most people when I say that Incubation has prepared us for the floor in a way that is much better than just throwing us right on the phones and letting us sink or swim.

With that said, I am happy to say that all of us in Incubation passed the final exam with flying colors, and all of our final QA’s were very good. We have all gotten our team assignments and we have met with our new leads, and after our graduation pot luck tomorrow, we move to our new desks. I think that we will compliment our new teams nicely. All in all, it looks as though we have all progressed to where we can all one day be superstars within CLT, and I know that makes our Incubation Leads proud to be a part of that.

My lead, Abbie, helped me get from a point of frustration to a great place where I can grow and learn and be the best there is on the floor. She was able to help me set goals that were improved on with each quality assessment and she even busted out the Post-its with all kinds of tips on them to help me remember everything that I had forgotten to mention to customers. Those little things helped me get past my learning curve.

Incubation for us comes to end tomorrow and we are going to enjoy our graduation with a little trip to the Mini Grand Prix tonight and a graduation pot luck tomorrow. Goodbye Incubation, you are gone, but not forgotten. We have finally grown up…

_*Congratulations to all of our new CLT members! Rock on!* _

Oh Lovely, Splashy Pool Party!

Oh yeah, my first Zappos Pool Party this weekend. Fun times with multiple “pushed into pool” incidents. And of course, the vast quantity of adult beverages in no way, shape or form contributed to these dunkings. And it’s not a real Zappos Party without all kinds of yummy foods including crab cakes (by Thor!) and chicken wings made on site! Sorry we got some water into the fat fryer Keith. And hey, I was there trying out a Flip Video encased in a snazzy underwater housing . <cough pushing merchandise alert cough sorry my boss makes me do this cough>

The first video clip is me coming up out of the water and then 3 Zappos children turn loose with the water guns. Oy! Kids nowadays!

This video clip starts off with Brian K performing some syncro swimming with his green floaty noodle. What, no Argyle ? And then Sarah gets some water gun practice in on the Flip Video.

And this video clip shows Mr. Keith, our host, being escorted into his pool by Mark G. aka Zu Keeper . Of course, Mr. Keith doesn’t miss any opportunity to show off the buff bod.

Hey pool season is just starting so look forward to more underwater antics <cough swimwear modeling cough> captured on both video and film .

Go You Bacon Fat, Go!

Urk! Look, this post is the followup to the rather greasy situation on Friday . If you found that post disturbing or otherwise unpleasant, you really shouldn’t view the video below. (However you might find this link tolerable) Yep, toward the end of the day, someone stepped up and drank a bacon fat shot.

Derek, you are the man! And thank you Angela for the lovely pep dance!

The Zating Game!

Okay I don’t pretend to understand everything that is going on in this video taken earlier this week. I just know that Chris Peake loves to dress up in funny outfits. Not sure how Jeanne got talked into doing this? Rumor is it was her idea.

Anyway, Chris and Jeanne organized the Zating Game for the Merchandising Assistant I (MA1) class . While the content, the roles and responsibilities of several Zappos departments – Help Desk, Marketing, and Development, could have been presented in a more standard corporate presentation format, isn’t this a bit more memorable? And a side benefit was that many people who are not in the MA1 class also got to see it and learn something. Hey, it’s the Zappos way! Here’s a link to the exciting conclusion !

HOOPLA BABY!

The Safety and Risk Management team were recently in LV. Besides from enjoying the GORGEOUS weather, (it’s still a bit chilly in KY!) we held trainings for members of the management team. The training gave insight into what OSHA is, steps to take when handling a work related incident, types of incidents, and of course, HOOPLA!!!

The class was composed of a wonderfully created slide show, some bogus incident forms and scenarios that involved role playing. The scenarios were a great way to get everyone involved. We had great performances by Fred Mossler, Galen Hardy, Jerry Tidmore, Pat Warren, Lakshan Fernando and Lisa Grossano. The crowd enjoyed the antics of the supposed injured individuals!

These training sessions were a “fun way” to pursue growth and learning”. We want to make sure that everyone at Zappos is safe. It’s all about the HOOPLA, baby!!

A.S.S.E.T. Tag Police

Yep, here’s a hidden camera video clip of the Asset Tag Police bustin down doors and takin’ names. Oh yes, these pretty ladies are classic examples of velvet gloves over iron fists – the fists of finance . Can you imagine how intimidating it must be to have these 3 sirens descend upon your workspace? See how Josh is diffidently standing back. He knows danger when he sees it. D.A.N.G.E.R. :0

Seriously, this (asset tags) is one of the indicators that Zappos is becoming a mature company. The asset tags came out within the past year. The first person in the video is Amy. She is the Asset Tag Architect. Man, you should see her eyes light up when an entire workgroup’s assets have been verified. :D Amy and I started on the same day at Zappos about a year ago. I would not have guessed she would turn out to be so strict!

Next is Erika in the green, she works undercover so that’s why she avoids the camera. B-) Thanks for not tasering me, Erika! Then there is Chrissie, she had a pretty tough prank pulled on her this past April 1st. I’m helping her plan revenge. It’s going to be sweet, simple and spectacular. I’d say we’ll have video when it happens, but then it could be used as evidence against us. So hey, you’ll believe whatever we tell you right? Everything in the Zappos Blogs are 100% true! ;)

Jellyfish, Piranha and Sharks! Oh My

Last Saturday a group of us from the images content team decided to go on a team outing. Newport, KY was the place to be! Newport, which is on the levee, has the one and only Newport Aquarium! It’s about an hour and 40 minute drive from Louisville, but it’s worth the drive, especially if its as beautiful as it was on Saturday!

It was really windy, but it was on the sunny/warm side. Newport Aquarium is right on the Ohio river across from Cincinnati, so you get a beautiful view as well. Once you’re inside they have 70 exhibits and 14 galleries featuring an amazing variety of aquatic life from around the world. They have five tunnels you can walk through, surrounded by marine life. And of course….the shark tunnel! All the sharks, beautiful colored fish and sea turtles wind their way all around you when you walk through. The floors are even transparent so you can see them swim under your feet. It was amazing, really!

The Jellyfish exhibit was also very beautiful! We walked into a low lit room with soft music, huge chandelier and big, round, red, velvet seating. The jellyfish were stunning; drifting back and forth, up and down, just like they were at sea. With the lights so low, they were super bright! We saw alligators, lots of turtles, frogs, tons of fish, eels and so much more!

On the way out they have an area where you can pet sand sharks! Erin, Jessie and Kyle were getting their clothes wet because the sharks looked closer than they appeared, so they were leaning in really far not realizing their sleeves were already wet!

After the aquarium, we went to the Hofrauhaus and had some tasty tasty drinks! They were really crowded with parties and Cincinnati was having a baseball game, so it was going to be a long wait before we could eat. We were really hungry, so after we tried some great beer, we walked down the Levee to find some food and found the awesome Claddagh Irish Pub! We ate lots:Cabbage rolls, meatloaf melts, Irish Monte Cristo, and much, much more. It was great tasting food! I will absolutely go there again!

If you ever visit KY, I highly recommend you to go to Newport on the Levee. You will not be let down! I promise!

Q&A with the Outdoor CLT Business Unit

This is the second installment of Q&A with the CLT business units. The first post happened last week when I picked the brains of the Kids team CLT group . This week features the candid responses of our Outdoor CLT business unit!

Read on to live vicariously through the exciting experiences of William B, Lacy J, and Max M!

From left: William B, Max M, Lacy J

Question: What is the most exhilarating outdoor activity you have done?

William: “Scuba diving.”

Lacy: “Rock climbing. There is no comparison.”

Max: “There are too many times that I could mention and go on and on… but basically anything outdoors.”

Question: Our customers do a lot of shopping in preparation for upcoming trips. Have they ever shared a trip with you that you were totally jealous of? If so, where were they going?

William: “To Patagonia for four weeks. I was way jealous of that.”

Lacy: “This actually happens everyday. Yesterday I spoke to a mountaineer that’s climbing Grand Cathedral in the Tetons this summer. I was born a couple miles from there, so I’m a little biased, but they’re some of the most beautiful mountains in the world! I’m not usually the alpine mountaineering type, glaciers scare me, but even I would like to see the world from the top of Grand Cathedral. I’ve talked to people going to Kilimanjaro, the Alps, and even a couple to Everest and some of the other Seven Summits. I’ve also talked to rock climbers going to Thailand, South Africa, Madagascar, South America, Europe, etc. I can’t go a day without wishing a customer could take me along with them!”

Max: “Some customers taking trips overseas, to Italy, or the one guy who was going to hike across Europe for 2 months.”

Question: What is the craziest animal you have come across in your outdoor journeys?

William: “A giant eagle ray while I was scuba diving. The thing had to be three times my size, it was HUGE. I was both terribly scared and excited at the same time.”

Lacy: “I seem to be a wildlife magnet, so this is hard. But there is a refuge in Jackson, WY where the buffalo can roam and graze freely. You can also drive through this refuge and take a look. I have a picture of a 3-4 year old bull crossing the road, 10 feet from the front bumper of my car. No matter how many times I go see the herd, being that close to such a giant wild animal is a major thrill. And when your little car is surrounded my a hundred of them snorting and grunting and doing their buffalo business…well… let’s just say it’s crazy.”

Max: “I saw a panther on the beach in Guam. While on vacation, I was walking on the beach, just as the sun was setting, and I saw what looked like a large dog on the beach. He was with his trainers. So it wasn’t exactly a wild animal, but I was walking very close before I realized what it was.”

Question: What 5 items would you pack if you were going to be stranded in the desert for a month?

William: “Flint/Clothing /Jerky /Fresh Water /A signaling device”

Lacy: “Nutrogena Full Spectrum SPF 85/Therm-a Rest mattress/Gerber multi-tool with a decent blade and a shovel attachment/Topo map of the area/Snake tongs or a .22 rifle.”

Max: “Enoughwater/Shelter/Food/Map/Compass.”

Question: Would you rather be stranded on a remote island or lost in the mountains?

William: “I would rather be lost in the mountains because you can – eventually – find your way out of the mountains. On an island you can’t get past the ocean. There is also more potential food and fresh water in the mountains.”

Lacy: “That would depend entirely on the specific island or the mountains I had to choose from. I’ve seen examples of both that I would be perfectly happy on and could survive on easily enough, and I’ve also seen examples of each that would kill me in a day. Tropical Islands are okay, Desert Islands are not. The Northern Sierras I could handle, but I would freeze to death in the Himalayas in the first 24 hours. I’d pick whichever one had more stable, temperate weather conditions, lots of available food and fresh water, and potential shelter.”

Max: “I would rather be stranded in the mountains. I don’t think I’m that good at building boats… yet! But I sure can hike!”

Question: What is the most common question asked by our customers?

William: “How does this shoe run?”

Lacy: “It varies by season and also by degree of activity. We have hard core customers and casual customers. Right now a lot of casual customers are looking for hydrophobic shoes and sandals, while the hard core folks are looking for backpacking and mountaineering boots. In the winter we get lots of calls for Sorel bootliners and “fashionable” winter boots that will keep your feet warm in -60 degree weather. Haha.”

Max: “Most customers want to know how different shoes, boots, or sandals fit.”

Question: What was your favorite outdoor activity as a kid?

William: “Riding my bicycle and seeing the ocean.”

Lacy: “Horse Camping. It basically involves riding your horse out to the most remote location you can find, and camping there. You can fish and hunt at the same time. It’s like backpacking, but with a horse to help carry stuff.”

Max: “Riding bikes.”

Question: What do you love most about your job?

William: “That it happens to be at Zappos.com!”

Lacy: “Product testing! I feel so fortunate to work for the lifestyle department that embodies my lifestyle. I shop on Outdoor.zappos.com constantly! Because I love the lifestyle, I also love the product, buying it and using it. A few minutes ago a lady called for help finding rock shoes for her son, who is just learning. I was able to make several recommendations based on actual hands-on experience. I am also a beginner and have tried several of the styles on our site. I was able to give her real life evaluations and personal experience to help her decide. Customers really appreciate it when I can relate to their situation and they enjoy talking about the activities they love with someone who understands and relates. It makes their experience and mine much more enjoyable. Instead of work, it’s just a nice day talking to people about the activities, places and products we love.”

Max: “Being able to help our customers!”