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Culture Project: Azzazinz

Upon acceptance of the Zappos Intern position, we were forced to sign, in blood, an agreement to create a culture project. It may have just been some cherry syrup, but that’s beside the point. We were forced – against our will – to…to… CREATE FUN AND A LITTLE WEIRDNESS ( Core Value #3)!!!! Ghastly, I know. But really, right between “don’t suck” and “work your little butt off” in job requirements, there is a bit about creating a company-wide project embodying the ten core values.

This project may encompass anything as long as no bodily harm is involved (cross off Zappos MMA), it doesn’t cost boatloads of cash (#8 - Do more with less, people), and wasn’t Barbara Streisand karaoke. Okay, the last part was my stipulation, but then again, who doesn’t agree with me?! We all broke into groups and worked our little butts off to come up with something equal parts fun and creative.

Zappos Interns, Zappos Internship Program, Zappos Summer Interns, zombies, Zappos Core Values, Zapponians, Zappos Employees, create fun and a little weirdnessThese were the fruits of our labor: a paper plane contest, a secret admirer initiative involving clues and gifts, and a Merch/Tech lovefest with positive affirmations. My team came up with Azzazinz. This game, like the typical Assassins or Zombies and Humans you may remember from college, involves stalking, staking out, and acting like a total sketch in order to get the target assigned by yours truly. To make it more Zapponian and to Build Open and Honest Relationships Through Communication (#6), we required the hunters to take from their target a picture of their attack and a random factoid. We had a total of 88 people sign up – way more than we had hoped! It was such a success (and still is, as the game is still going) we have been asked to make this an ongoing game. Hoo-rah!

Unfortunately, your captain this evening has been slain. Go look at the website chronicling the attacks as I nurse my wound…

--Taylor

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Three-Week Recap from the Zappos Interns

Hey everyone!

It’s been over three weeks since the last blog post from the Zappos Interns, so here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve been up to lately:

1. Our first All-Hands meeting: On June 22, we participated in a Tech All Hands with all the other tech employees at Zappos. The afternoon included the usual briefings from top company officials, the CTO doing a ridiculous dance, and even a spoof video made right here at Zappos called “Sh*t Developers Say”. After that, we all enjoyed a Happy Hour poolside at Green Valley Ranch, which had been booked out specially for Zappos employees. Pretty sweet. But the highlight of the afternoon was definitely the surprise appearance of the legendary Steve Wozniak, who indulged us with a half-hour Q&A about his time at Apple, his thoughts on the future of technology, and some funny stories. That was surreal.

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Ravi R. and Yong L. with Steve Wozniak 

2. A volunteer day at the local Animal Shelter: Zappos is really involved in the Vegas community, and it trickles down all the way to the interns. All of us spent a day learning about the great animal shelter here, as well as walking and playing with dogs. It was ridiculously hot outside, but hanging out with dogs usually makes things much more bearable!

3. General craziness around the Zappos campus: Probably the best part is the frequent table tennis sessions all around the office. Zappos even has a unique 3-on-3 version of ping-pong, aptly named “Zing-Zong”. It’s a bit ridiculous to outline all the rules (basically because when you watch it seems as if there are no rules, and when you play you learn a new rule every time). Suffice to say that it’s a cross between regular ping-pong and volleyball, with each team setting up teammates and the ball not being dead till it hits the ground. It’s sick.

4. July 4th week(end): My superhero Christina had a July 4th pool party, and that night we all walked to a nearby parking lot to watch fireworks. The display here in Vegas was definitely better than what I’ve seen in most other places. Then, on July 6th, for another day outside the office, all of us hiked up the nearby Mt. Charleston. The weather was beautiful, about 20 degrees cooler than in Las Vegas, and the views were fantastic.

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Left to right: Adrian T., Nick HS, Jessica C., Alex H., Kiersten S., Kim H., Michelle V., Luke Z., Ravi R., Yong L., Irene P., Tylan C., Anya E., Tony G., Taylor S.

5. A trip to the Grand Canyon: One of the best things about working in Vegas is the proximity to so much nature (e.g: California beaches, Zion, Grand Canyon, etc.). Three of us decided to make an impromptu trip to the Grand Canyon a couple weekends ago, and were there within two hours. We spent all day taking in the sights and climbing to as many treacherous places as possible. Good times.

All in all it’s amazing how quickly the time has gone – we’re already starting our eighth week here at Zappos! I’m pretty bummed that summer is over in a month. But up to this point, I couldn’t have asked for more. As interns, we’re always involved and in the middle of things here, it’s never lonely, and there’s a great work-life balance – all things that I’d heard thrown around at the beginning of the summer, but that I’d never truly understood until now. It’s a great feeling.

Till next time,

Ravi

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Going Bald (& Blue) for the American Cancer Society

Bald & Blue/Yell for YellowSpirit Week has been a highly anticipated, widely celebrated, and often promulgated tradition at Zappos.  This year, the Zappos Fulfillment Centers, Inc. not only showed its love for both the Zappos and Amazon families during the ever-popular Bald & Blue/Yell for Yellow day, it participated in the face-painting, head-shaving, temporary-tattooing, and hoop-hollering good time for a great cause!

In a show of community involvement and support, Zappos donated on behalf of each participant (up to $5,000) who took to the spray-can, the razor, nail polish bottles, and more.  In addition, the three warehouses in Shepherdsville, KY pursued a side bet: collect the highest total of personal donations in a single warehouse, and see a “celebrity volunteer” get buzz cut.  Raise $1,500 of personal donations from members of the Fulfillment Center as a whole, and see the new General Manager Al O. get his inaugural head shaving. 

Ladies_BeforeLadies_After

The team members banded together and accomplished both feats. More than 1,000 team members participated in the various displays of Zappos spirit and went home covered in yellow and blue. With the maximum Zappos donation; in addition, team members contributed their own funds in droves, raising well over the $1,500 minimum and cheering as both Hector E., Process Manager in W2.5, and Al O., GM, went under the razor.

The 2012 Spirit Week was a great success, and the Zappos Kentucky Family enjoyed fun, friends, and family festivities.  Over $6,500 was donated to The American Cancer Society.

 

So, how did KY Team Members earn these Zappos donations?

  • Spray Your Hair Blue and Yellow: $1
  • Get Tattooed: $1
  • Polish Your Nails Blue and/or Yellow: $1
  • Wear a Blue and/or Yellow Hair Ribbon: $1
  • Wear a Blue and/or Yellow Shirt: $1
  • Shave Your Head
    • over 12 inches: $100 (Males)/$150 (Females)
    • 6 inches - 12 inches: $50 (Males)/$100 (Females)
    • under 6 inches: $25 (Males)/$75 (Females)
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Tank Top Tuesday!

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As you may know, Las Vegas gets hot during the summer. Really, really hot. That’s why a few of us in Zappos Development have decided to start what we affectionately like to call “Tank Top Tuesdays”. It’s literally just that; every Tuesday, we rock our super awesome tank tops for everyone in the office to admire. Yes, even the dudes…or should I say, especially the dudes!

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It's an Under Armour Parade!

A few Zapponians decided to welcome Under Armour to Zappos.com in the best way we know how—a Zappos-Style parade!

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Super Awesome Description-May 2012 Winner

The Super Awesome Description award is a way of recognizing a member of the Zappos Development content team once a month. If a product description is particularly witty or creative, anyone in the company can nominate the person who wrote it.  The nominations are then read by other members of the content department and voted upon; the description with the most votes wins. The writer of that description is rewarded with a trophy and a certificate, not to mention recognition from their peers.

The winner for May is Jennie W. Jennie is part of the athletic performance team and her quirky description for the Raskullz Cutie Cat Helmet was too amazing to ignore. Congratulations Jennie!

We asked Jennie a few fun questions to get to know her better. Check out her answers below!

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What is your biggest Grammar pet peeve?

I’m not thrilled when I see pronoun/antecedent disagreement committed in pursuit of gender neutrality. Just make it plural, people.

What is your favorite color?

If frequency is any indicator, then black is the likely choice. But my dad will probably read this and tell me that black isn’t a color.

What inspired you when writing this description?

Raskullz generates extensive back stories about all of the characters in the line, so they actually make my job much easier. Then I just imagined my ten-year-old niece Soraya talking with her friends. They probably don’t talk anything like that, and I’ve just invented the what-a-33-year-old-believes-preteens-say language.

What's a fact people would be surprised to learn about you?

I was a four-year member of my university’s pep club. Apparently, people don’t normally find me peppy. Go Bears!

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Photo Shoot Shadow Session

We are already in our fourth week of summer internship at Zappos, but it feels like no time at has passed at all! This, I suppose, is a good thing, as no one wants to dread their job so much that it crawls like a paraplegic snail. If these few weeks are any indication, the end is going to jump out of nowhere and surprise us all!

I am the intern on the 6pm side of things, so here is my spiel: 6pm.com is the sister site to Zappos, selling items at deep discounts (this equals lots of shiny new shoes for not a lot of shiny dough). Think of it as an online Marshall’s. Great deals, people!

One of the great attributes of Zappos is the fact that EVERYONE (not generalizing in the least) is open to mentoring me. The best example of this was this past Tuesday. I reached out to the Style Editing Team about a possible day of shadowing so I could see how the department operated. Marie, one of our style editors, proceeded to invite me to a photo shoot soon after. I was on that like orange on a carrot!

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Behind the scenes of a Zappos studio photo shoot with model Julianna.

Most of Marie’s job as a stylist happens prior to the shoot: picking the outfits, coordinating with our photo team, and lots more. It involves lots of planning. The day of the shoot, however, is all about the model and achieving the desired look. Marie and her team are really great at their jobs, and the model Julianna was a total pro. Just being able to watch it all in action set my heart aflutter!

During the shoot, I helped with a few things like hanging up clothes and operating the fan (to achieve the windblown look), but mostly, I talked to anyone and everyone and took in as much as I could.

Working at Zappos sometimes feels like a little slice o’ Heaven. If this is what work is like, I may never want to leave!

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Just a Little Weird...

“To be honest Mom, they’re all just a little bit weird,” that was the only phrase I could muster when my mother asked me how I was getting along with the other interns after my first week here in Vegas. I had just left all of my closest friends in New York City, and here I am on the other side of the country with a group of strangers who would comprise my new social circle.

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“Mom, they’re all from weird places like Canada, Alaska, and like – Michigan. One of them is obsessed with nail polish, one of them was born a conjoined twin, one has deformed fingers and there’s even a girl with a cat.” At first I was bewildered, I thought to myself, how did they pick the 17 weirdest people in the country for me to work and live with? But, then it hit me, that’s the beauty of Zappos, that we get to work in an environment that embraces and encourages weirdness. It’s even one of our core values. A place where it’s completely OKAY to be yourself, where you can wear WHATEVER you want to work, and put up as many Justin Bieber and Edward Cullen posters at your desk that’ll fit. I feel like one of the luckiest people on earth. I’m immensely proud to say that I work with a “stone-cold pack of weirdos,” and that I’m one of them, and that I may even be the weirdest. And yes, that was a quote from Bridesmaids; the interns are obsessed with quoting that movie.

I was super nervous at first to trade in the gritty streets of NYC that I called my home, for the sunny lanes of Las Vegas. Like I said before, in NYC the weirdos are all on the street, here in Vegas, they all work at Zappos. I realize now that it was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made. I thought I would constantly miss NYC, but the Zappos family is so welcoming, I feel like I’ve lived here forever. One of the things that initially struck me about living and working here, is how in NYC it’s unheard of to hold the door for the person walking behind you (I’m guilty of this). You only crack the door open a slither, that’s just wide enough for you to slip through. Here at Zappos, we fight to hold the door open for one another, no matter how large the procession, no matter how long you have to stand there. Even better, while you do it, you smile and greet every person that comes through; it’s quirks like this that make Zappos an amazing place.

I have my fair share of internship horror stories. There was that time I was working at that magazine, and I had to walk the Editor-in-Chief’s aggressive toy-SharPei every day through Soho. There was also that time my boss made me pass out fliers in the grueling sun of Midtown. And let’s not forget I even worked for someone on the Lower East Side who didn’t know my name. But, so far here at Zappos, everything is smooth sailing. Horror stories like that don’t exist at Zappos. No matter what this zany and scorching Las Vegas summer has in store for me, I’m glad I’ve got a family of 17 Zapponians (who are all just a-little-weird) to experience it with.

XO

TY