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Introducing: The 2012 Zappos Summer Interns

Las Vegas, Nevada.

That’s where we, the first ever class of summer interns at the Zappos Family of Companies, find ourselves from now until the middle of August. And if the first 10 days are any indication, it’s going to be an incredible time.

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Back Row: Yong L., Jessica C., Tony G.., Nick HS, Luke Z., Tylan C., Kim H., Lauren A., Ravi R., Alex H., Melodi E., Neil G.

Front Row: Michelle V. , Adrian T., Allison H., Irene P., Anya E., Taylor S.

I’ll be working with the Web Analytics team here at Zappos, so I figured it would be appropriate to start off with a quick numerical summary of the sweet setup we have.

By the Numbers:

  • 18 = # of summer interns
  • 12 = # of weeks in the internship
  • 10 = # of universities we represent
  • 8 = # of hours in our typical work day
  • 3 = # of buildings that comprise the Zappos campus in Henderson, NV
  • 0 = # of dollars we pay for food, drink, transportation, gym membership, etc.

And perhaps the most telling number of all:

Zappos has been ranked in the top 15 on Fortune’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” for three years straight, reaching as high as #6.

Even before the internship, our awesome campus recruiters Mike and Kiersten sent us welcome packages, filled with flip-flops, energy drinks, t-shirts, snazzy toilet kits, and more, all adorned with the Zappos logo. Then, as all of us filtered in to our gorgeous corporate housing at the Marriott Towne Place Suites less than ten minutes from Zappos headquarters, we were greeted by more goodies, as well as personal messages from our Superheroes. Here at Zappos, the terms “mentor” and “intern” were a bit too plain vanilla, so from day 1, we were known as Sidekicks learning from and working with Superheroes.

On Memorial Day, Mike and Kiersten, organized a great poolside welcome barbecue at our suites, where we all met each other and spent a few hours hanging out. Each of us shares a 2-bedroom suite, including a fully-equipped kitchen, bathroom, and extremely spacious living room, with one other intern. We even have a gracious hotel staff that makes our beds, does our dishes, and tidies our rooms each day. It’s slightly ridiculous in the best way possible.

Early Tuesday morning, 2 shuttles decked out in Zappos decals picked us up for our first day at the office. We spent our first three days in onboarding: a series of training workshops, lectures, and team-building activities led by Kelly, capped off by a famous tour of the Zappos buildings. I can now affirm that the office is just as awesome as it looks in all the YouTube videos.

Last Friday, we took a field trip to downtown Las Vegas, the highlight of which was a full-blown tour of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s breathtaking house! A scavenger hunt and evening free time saw us wander through some of downtown Vegas’s hotspots, including the new Zappos headquarters-to-be in the old City Hall building, the Fremont St. Experience, and First Friday. All in all, our first week was a perfect introduction to our Superheroes and teams, the 10 core values by which the company and its employees live and breathe and the unique company culture at Zappos.

Then, last week, we were thrown into the deep end with our teams. My Superhero for the summer is Christina Kim, the senior web analyst at Zappos. Ronn Shaw, my other primary mentor and the second half of the Zappos web analytics team, changed my official job title today to “Porous Sponge” in an attempt to encourage me to soak up as much as possible throughout my twelve weeks.

I’ll be slicing and dicing data, analyzing what customers are doing on the Zappos website and where they’re coming from, and utilizing our conclusions to drive improvements to our website design, marketing strategy, etc. to benefit the business. For the first few weeks at least, rather than being at a desk, I’m working alongside Zappos employees from Marketing, Search, Development, and more from a conference room playfully (or painfully) dubbed “The War Room.”

Christina has had me reading, attending meetings, and playing around with the Zappos analytics software from day 1, and I’m grateful for the opportunity so far to see how all the arms of the business come together and function as a whole.

I know all of us Zinterns are thrilled to be here, so please follow us throughout the summer right here on blogs.zappos.com. A couple of times a week, one of us will post about our projects, experiences, and insights to give everyone an inside look at the first ever internship program from a company that’s created a buzz around the country.

Thanks for reading, and trust me, at Zappos, we’re committed to Delivering Happiness from the CEO all the way down to the summer interns, so it’ll be worth 5 of your minutes each day to check in. But no other promises ;)

 

--Ravi

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Zappos.com Flying High Over the Kentucky Derby Festival

The Kentucky Derby Festival: A two week celebration leading up to the greatest two minutes in sports – Thunder FunderThe Kentucky Derby!   How does a state, known for bourbon, horse racing, and “The Turtle Man” ring in the first race of the Triple Crown?  By lighting up the Ohio River, flying high in the sky, sampling the best food and drink that Kentucky has to offer, and so much more!

 

The Kentucky Derby Festival, attended annually by an estimated 1.5 million people, had an extra-special participant this year as Zappos.com joined the sponsorship team for the first time!  The Zappos.com hot air balloon delighted morning commuters in the Rush Hour Race, placing second with veteran pilot Charlie H.  The race preceded the breathtaking Balloon Glow that occurred on Friday, April 28th, lighting up the Kentucky night sky to the delight of at least 180,000 people.

But the balloon wasn’t the only way Zappos’ presence was felt at the 57th annual Festival.  Zappos employees and guests had the best seats in the house for the kick-off airshow and fireworks display, Thunder Over Louisville.  Spectators watched the largest fireworks presentation in the nation from the Second Street Bridge, with a vantage point that not only gave them an up-close perspective of the pyrotechnics, but allowed for a view of the Indiana and Kentucky shows, synced up as they blasted on both sides of the bridge.  The presentation of the Zappos.com Balloon was scheduled for the Fest-i-Ville Balloon Glimmer, that, despite weather cancellations, allowed for a fantastic time at the large, catered Zappos tent closest to the main stage action!  In addition, over 250,000 people lined the streets to see the floats of the Pegasus Parade, the Zappos Zone filled up with 3 sections of fans, both employees (who donated to Relay for Life in exchange for coveted bleacher seats), and members of the community who were randomly selected to join in the family fun!

 

Zappos.com Balloon Glows at BalloonfestMore entertainment was slathered on the two week celebration as Bed and Steamboat Races took off, free music concerts, including Eddie Money, George Clinton, and AWOLNATION, rocked the river, and nearly 18,000 pairs of feet and wheels pounded the pavement of the Derby Festival Marathon and Mini Marathon.  Some familiar faces could be seen among the runners bounding towards the finish line.  Zappos employee Kari H called the 13.1 miles “a lot of fun”,” running with her father who had come from Atlanta, GA to participate in his first half-marathon.  The 8th mile was the highlight for many runners, when the course rounded the infield in Churchill Downs -- an area that would look dramatically different the following weekend, when the crowd descended on the 138th Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby Festival has come to represent the spirit that enlivens the city of Louisville.  Hopefully Zappos.com can continue to add its own energy to the celebration for years to come!

 

Fast Facts:Crew on the Second Street Bridge - Zappos Style

Attendance Numbers

Thunder Over Louisville- 400,000

Balloon Fest-i-Ville and Glimmer (with Zappos Zone catered tent) - 55,000

BalloonFest Balloon Glow - 180,000

Derby Festival Marathon/Mini/Expo - 19,733

Derby Festival Marathon/Mini Finishers - 16,500

Pegasus Parade - 250,000 ticket holders (more without tickets)

Pegasus Parade Viewership - Televised to over 140,000 viewers on NBC affiliate Wave3 ALONE!

Super Awesome Description-April 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.

super awesome description, KUHL, Zappos Content Team, Zappos Development, inc., Zappos employees, zapponiansThe winner for April is Jonathan B. Jonathan is part of the clothing team and his brilliant description for the Kuhl Agent Shirt was too amazing to ignore. Congratulations Jonathan!

We asked Jonathan a few fun questions to get to know him better. Check out his answers below!

What is your biggest Grammar pet peeve?

Run-on sentences. They drive me crazy.

What inspired you when writing this description?

I really liked the shirt when I initially wrote it. I mentioned it to my fiancé and she surprised me with it as a birthday present. Whenever I get something from my portfolio, I always like to check the details on the tags against what we have on the site, just to make sure everything is correct. When I pulled the shirt up on the site, I wasn’t happy with the product description I had originally written. I started thinking about secret agents and everything just clicked!

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

I just turned 40. Most people underestimate my age by eight to twelve years until I tell them I have a 16 year old daughter and twin eight year old girls.

What is the last book you read?

The Sentry by Robert Crais. Love the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike characters! The series is fast and fun.

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Be a Part of the 2012 Zappos Culture Book!

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Last year's edition of the Zappos Culture Book.

We’re at it again! For last year’s 2011 Zappos.com Culture Book, we asked our customers, employees and partners to submit their photos…a way of getting unique perspectives of the world through different lenses.

This year, we want everyone’s photos to add to the 2012 Culture Book. Here are some of the requirements for the photos:

Good:

What you think of when you hear “Zappos”

-Your favorite Zappos item

-Something fun and a little weird

-Something that makes you smile

-Something you’re passionate about

-Your interpretation of one of our core values.

No Good:

-Your dirty laundry :)

-Anything inappropriate

-Anything excessively photo-edited or Photoshopped.

Feel free to add informative titles, descriptions, your name and where you took the picture (in the email, not on the picture). If you’re submitting a photo, you’re giving us the right to use it in our book and you’re verifying that it’s your original photo (and not someone else’s).

Specs:

-The higher the resolution, the better!

-JPG format only.

-300 dpi 5” x 7” or higher.

-1200 × 1600 pixels minimum.

-You must own the full copyright.

-No trademarks (e.g. logos, brands, entities with copyright or trademarked).

Please send your images and questions to: cbphotos@zappos.com by Friday, June 15th!

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Super Awesome Description-March 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.

super awesome description,zappos content team,betsey johnson,zappos employees,zappos culture,Zappos Development, The winner for March is Amber O. Amber is part of the fashion team and her quirky description for the Betsey Johnson Yacht Club Necklace was too amusing to ignore. Congratulations Amber!

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

What is your biggest Grammar pet peeve?

A: Run-on sentences. Epic misspellings. "These is"

What is your favorite color?

A: Floral.  

What inspired you when writing this description?

A: I got to thinking, “Could I legit wear these? I’ve never even been on a yacht.” So I wrote the description for people like me. You know, to make me feel better about wanting to wear yacht-themed earrings.

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

A: I’ve always wanted to be a dancer. Or better yet, I’ve always wanted to be good at a dancing video game. Either way, I’m no good.

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Zappos' First Annual Earth Day

As part of LEAF’s initiative to make Zappos a more environmentally friendly workplace, we hosted an Earth Day event for our employees on Tuesday, April 17th. We asked several local and non-local vendors to participate by spreading awareness about how easy and fun it is to become eco-friendly, and wow, did our vendors surely step up to the plate! Earth Day was such a success that we’ve decided to make this an annual event with the goal to make each year even better than the previous!

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When we first reached out to our vendors, their responses were overwhelming! They were thrilled to hear the Zappos was starting its journey to become environmentally friendly, and they were even more excited to be a part of it. The vendors that attended our event included: KEEN, prAna, Patagonia, Whole Foods, Vegas Roots Community Gardens, Lunas Recycling, Sierra Nevada, BottleHood, Springs Preserve, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Southwest Gas, and RTC.

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prAna did something special for all Zappos employees that deserves a special shout out. Not only did they showcase their use of sustainable materials in their products, demonstrated how they’ve eliminated poly bags in their warehouse, and discussed their initiatives with clean energy; they surprised us by offsetting all of our Las Vegas employees’ carbon emissions! This means that 1,300 of us will be carbon neutral for the entire month of April!* Thank you prAna for caring so much about the environment and truly WOWing all of us!

Not all of our Earth Day vendors could make a physical appearance at Zappos HQ. However, they still showed their support for our event and sent out information about their eco-friendly products and sustainable initiatives, prizes for us to raffle off, and even coupons specifically made for our employees. These vendors included: ChicoBags, EcoLunchBoxes, Klean Kanteen, Semilla, People Towels, Vessel Drinkware, and Haiku Bags

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One of our goals for our first annual Zappos Earth Day was to promote an eco-friendly change in the daily habits of at least one employee. With the help of our vendors that provided and demonstrated eco-friendly options and initiatives to our employees, I believe the event successfully achieved its goal! The immense turnout of curious Zappos employees also helped promote more green awareness. We really could not have pulled this event off without the help of all of our amazing vendors –THANK YOU!

That being said, it is my personal goal to make next year’s Zappos Earth Day even more successful!

*1,300 individual offsets would be the same as 117 cars removed from the road for a year, or carbon sequestered by 128 acres of trees, or removing the harmful effects from extracting 1392 barrels of oil.

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Happy National Pretzel Day!

April 26th is an exciting day!  It's Hug an Australian Day, Audubon Day, Kids & Pets Day, Poem in Your Pocket Day, Richter Scale Day, Take Your Daughter to Work and, most importantly,  National Pretzel Day!

We're are all about trying out new recipes, so Brooke and I decided to whip up some pretzels for National Pretzel Day!

As an added twist (excuse the pun) we decided to make bacon pretzels in honor of our dear friend and coworker April, whose birthday is today and who LOVES bacon!

You will need:
1 teaspoon of sugar

2 teaspoons of salt

1 packet of yeast

2 oz of butter of margarine

4 1/2 cups of flour

Oil of your choosing

Bacon or cheese (optional)

Plus 2 hours of free time

*Some recipes call for an egg yolk that is mixed with cold water and brushed over the pretzels at the end, but we didn't have one (they were all boiled for Easter), so we just brushed ours with butter.

We hope you enjoy the video! If you look closely you might even catch a cameo from my cat Oliver (but don't look too closely, we accidentally left a microphone cable in the shot - oops!)

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The Happy Hunt in Portland, Oregon

Some of our team members recently headed out to Portland, Oregon to spread “random acts of kindness” all around their fine city.

They made stops at some popular Portland locations such as Voodoo Doughnuts, Koi Fusion food truck and PBJ’s to give out some free goodies. We also spread happiness-filled eggs throughout town for people to find.

Look out for more Random Acts of Happiness! We might be visiting YOUR city to spread some smiles!