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Letter From Our CTO

Hi Team – welcome to the final Technology Newsletter for 2010! WOW - what a year this has been! As we discussed at tech all hands, we've had incredible successes by over-delivering on the roadmap and doing a spectacular job running a robust technology operation. There were many naysayers when we laid out our goals for the year but this team has collectively proven that we DELIVER ON OUR COMMITMENTS regardless of the difficulty or complexity of those commitments! We are in the midst of a very heavy peak season and it is clear that our work has paid off – a rock solid, error free and super fast website (our technology handled a $12.8M day flawlessly!) , an array of website features, unprecedented visibility into our business for merchandising and finance via the EDW, our ability to respond quickly to business changes via tools like Baffin and the Drools Rules Engine, APIs that have enabled us to deliver our ipad and iphone apps in record time, our newly minted category agnostic technology platform (away from a shoe centric platform) aka sizing, that takes findability/customer experience to the next level and so much more…

We go into 2011 with great confidence that we can take on any challenge that comes our way!! Our 2011 roadmap is being worked on by team members from all departments across technology in partnership with business teams – look for this to be published in the coming weeks!

Once again, I want to convey my most sincere thanks to this team that has gone above and beyond to deliver a spectacular 2010 for the Zappos Family– here's to an even more spectacular 2011!

 

Thank you and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Arun

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Shop From Your iPhone and iPad

That's right. Thanks to the combined efforts of multiple departments within Zappos tech, users of the Apple iPad and iPhone can shop at Zappos.com anytime and from anywhere.

To get started a customer just needs to download the fee app from the iTunes app store and start shopping. The customer will see the familiar brand styling and identical catalogue to our "regular" site. In addition, the mobile application adds some extra functionality not found on the website. For example, users on the mobile app can simply tap, pinch and swipe to easily navigate the storefront. And thanks to the great work of our API team, customers can shop with confidence, as the app even offers secure transactions.

So far, iTunes has served up 70,000 downloads of the free Zappos Mobile App, we've had a near-constant 4 star rating, and we were even highlighted in Apple's featured shopping Apps section!

Each app required close to 10 weeks to complete. Development required the bulk of the time at close to 6 weeks. This is a remarkably efficient turnaround based on the complexity of the application and relative unfamiliarity tech had with the format. The most interesting hurdle that they had to overcome was that the team couldn't view the complete app until the very end when all the various components are included. At that point, it was a mad dash to put the final touches on the app, get all the QA done, and release the app to the public.

The team that brought Zappos.com to our adoring and tech savvy public is comprised of all-stars from various departments. The UX team designed the customer-friendly look and feel. The DEV team provided the underlying code to support this highly-functional app while the QA team kept everyone honest by making sure no "bugs' made it to the final app. Special thanks also to the CLT for fielding customer support inquiries and keeping our customers happy. Finally, the Product/Program Management team wrangled all of these teams into one cohesive, efficient and creative whole. We've all been busy working on various projects, and it's been humbling to see these teams come together to take advantage of this evolving segment of the market.

Next up, will be the development of apps for the Android and Chrome OS. Like all projects that we get passionate about, the team will also constantly tweak, update and improve the current apps. Feel free to stop by and say hi to the team! They're sequestered in the Penn and Teller room in building 2290!

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Get the All-New VIP Experience

zappos, vip, user experience, development, improvements

There are some exciting changes on vip.zappos.com for all VIP members (if you aren’t a VIP, click HERE to sign up). One of the Zappos Family core values is “embrace and drive change” and we are excited to announce some features that will improve your shopping experience. Shoppers will be happy to find a helpful “More from the brand” link next to the brand on each product page for easy navigation. Navigating to a brand page has never been easier. Enjoy the ease of viewing every angle and magnification of each item on the product page without having to open a separate viewing window. The reorganized color swatches will make it more simple to choose the product of your fancy. And lastly, tell all your Facebook friends what you are shopping for with the “Like” button on each page. The Zappos Family is always developing new methods of improving the user experience for our customers. We hope you enjoy the changes that our teams have worked so hard to deliver for you.

Calling All Developers - We're Hiring!

At Zappos, our developers speak many languages: English, Spanish, Polish, Japanese, Hindi, Perl, Java (to name a few).  However, an equally important language we speak on a daily basis is one of take-no-prisoners geek fun and good times.  Check out this video featuring some of our truly next level events from the past year!

Be sure to check out our available jobs here: http://jobs.zappos.com

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Dev Hack-A-Thon: Cast Your Vote!

While these projects are mostly in concept-form only, it should give you some visibility into potential future advances that we could build for our customers and employees. We are going to ask you to vote for your favorite project, which we will then get ready to go live. So, go ahead and place your vote!

Development Olympics!

Our Development Department redecorated each row of their department with a sports theme….and then tested it with real, live sports action!

Development's Hack-a-Thon

Development, or Dev, for short, is the department at Zappos.com that truly makes some magic happen on a basis that is quite daily, we gotta say. They build the Front and Back End of the website…and that is the simple explanation. If you want the ‘more simplistic than necessary’ explanation that I came up with, here you go:

“They type things into a black box on a computer screen, and then Zappos can sell you clothing through the computer screen.”

I know, I know, that doesn’t help. No one ever accused me of being smart in the ways of a Dev-er.

But I digress…This past week, the Dev Department were allowed 2 days to create and build whatever their hearts desired and all of the current projects that they are busy with were put on hold. Just to see what kind of Technological awesomeness that they could come up with to make our customer’s shopping experiences better.

The Blogs Team crossed over into Dev to see what we could film without being reprimanded by Dev’s Forces.

What you are about to see is Top Secret.

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Things On My Desk, with Pawel S.

Pawel S. from our Development team shares his desk with us. I assume tea time comes after the nerf wars.