I'm in a bit of a dilemma as I write this post because we were asked to keep these blog posts brief, but we were also asked to discuss the Zappos culture, and if my two weeks here has taught me anything, it's that those are conflicting requests. Why, you ask? Because the culture is unlike that of any other company I have encountered. In our culture class yesterday–a course taken by new hires here at Zappos, we were asked to write a single word to describe the culture. My first reaction to this request was disappointment, because I knew that of all of the words in the dictionary, any single one would not be able to do the culture justice. I considered inventing a word; something like "AwesomeFunWelcomingJoytastic" may have worked, but in the spirit of the exercise, I set out to find a word that exists in real life.
Imagine a work environment where you feel like you are getting to know the people that you work with, and not just their drone-like at-work counterparts. That's Zappos, which is why the word I chose to describe the culture is "ORGANIC". Not only because the employees are encouraged to bring their personality, quirks and all, to work, but also because the culture itself evolved organically from the bottom-up. Since getting to Zappos, I have been trying to figure out how they managed to scale the start-up feel to a company of more than 5000 employees, but the answer is simple; it all comes from the employees being themselves, not being forced to conform to their environment, but rather allowing, and helping their environment to conform to them.
After onboarding last week, everyone was excited to branch off and see what they would be doing with their respective teams. I'm on the Zeta team for the summer here at Zappos. I'll spare you the details of the multi-page, diagramificated email that my superhero, Patrick sent me, but simply put, my team manages tons of code that keeps the website's gears in motion. Because continuing to write in paragraph form is frustrating me, I'll leave you with a list of totally awesome things I have experienced in my short two weeks here that I don't think I would have experienced at any other company:
1. The other tech interns and I had lunch with the CTO, Arun Rajan yesterday.
2. I have been encouraged, on multiple occasions to stop everything I am doing and play a game of Zing Zong–a super intense game that can only be described as a hybrid of ping pong, volleyball, and soccer (or fútbol, if that's your thing).
3. Every so often, in the middle of working, music begins to play and the search team, Patrick and I do push-ups.
4. As I was writing this post, Tony, the intern on the search team, turned on a laser machine he brought from home causing everyone to leap up in excitement telling him he can never turn it off.
5. We already experienced one of Tony Hsieh's legendary email messages that he talks about in Delivering Happiness.
6. Because I indicated that I like Swedish fish on a personality survey, I had 8 bags of Swedish fish waiting for me at my desk on my first day.
7. Last but not least....this:
Until next time,