Just announced yesterday, Zappos.com was ranked #15 on the 2010 Fortune Magazine "100 Best Companies To Work For" list!(We ranked #23 last year.) Thank you to all of our loyal customers, awesome vendors and extremely dedicated team members for helping to kick off another great year. We could not have done it without you!
Zappos Blogs: tony
You can read and post comments here! (Read the email I sent to employees first.)
Cinderella’s motto was: ”One shoe can change your life.” The Sisters’ motto is: “One shoe store has changed our lives!” Discovering Zappos.com years ago has been the “land of dreams come true” for two Southern sisters with feet as difficult to fit as Cinderella’s! (Think size 5.5 and 6N…) The added bonus of seeing hundreds of shoes from every conceivable angle without leaving the comfort of our homes can only be topped by Zappos saving the best surprises for last: free shipping both ways and delivery the next business day. Can you say INSTANT gratification?
The real reason for this note is to thank the “team members” in charge of shipping and receiving who spend their days inside the Shepherdsville, Kentucky, Zappos facility. My sister’s birthday present to herself and a sister surprise for me was a visit to Zappos in May 2009. This was a true fantasy adventure loaded with perks.
Prior to our flight to Louisville, while selecting magazines at the airport, Sissy found one with an article about Zappos and their CEO, Tony Hsieh. At that point, I had no idea of the significance of ‘the find’ except that we both love Zappos! Just before boarding, Sissy gave me the itinerary of our adventure for the day and many screams later, we arrived in Louisville. A quick twenty minute drive had us at the front door of the shipping/receiving/outlet of Zappos. Ever wonder how your shoes magically arrive the next day? Hmmm… Louisville is the hub for UPS.
On arrival, the plasma screen in the lobby was flashing a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” greeting to my sister Alicia. That was cool enough, but was only the beginning of a wild afternoon with the Zappos team members. Sissy asked everyone who materialized in the lobby to sign her magazine while we awaited Stefanie, the representative who created this magical event. Her energy came through the door before she did and we seemed to hit warp speed as she ushered us through the security “phone booth” and into the Internet Café where team members were yelling “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”; waving pom-poms and directing our attention to a birthday cake, crown & huge Zappos bags filled with goodies for us. After much singing, signing (the magazine) and cake eating, we were introduced to the elusive, Craig A.. He even offered to take Sissy’s magazine to Las Vegas and ask Tony Hsieh to autograph it for her!
Then, it was tour time with Byron and Julie. As a member of the photo department, Julie creates many of the incredible photo shots of clothing, shoes and other items found on the website. Nine shots of each shoe in every color, any way you do the math, that’s a lot of shots! She had been asked to create a photo journal of our visit and as an aside, to answer all my questions. Believe it or not, as we passed through the photo department we interrupted a staff meeting (where someone was wearing a pirate hat and parrot) and folks stopped the chatter to yell, “Happy Birthday”.
Byron was the enthusiastic tour leader who was educating and entertaining us about how each area of the facility functions. At several locations, Sissy was encouraged by Byron to test her skills in the multiple roles of Zappos’ team members. Her favorite job was that of “picker”. She loved the idea of being paid to walk up to 14 miles per day. If you thought that the products that you order get to you by an automated method; think again. Real people pull, pack and ship those babies! Being a nerd, I was fascinated by the “Kivas”, the robots of Zappos. There are 70 of these little orange critters scurrying from station to station in a room the size of a university football stadium and each one has its own name, courtesy of members with senior status.
Following our personalized tour, we had time to visit the outlet store where Sissy was especially taken with a pair of Marc Jacobs denim heels with zippers and bling. I couldn’t get over a pair of “clear” mules (think ‘glass slippers’) with 5 inch heels. Meanwhile, dear Julie was snapping away and laughing as we tried on the most outrageous, the most expensive, the most beautiful and even a few conservative pairs. If I had more grace while hobbling across the floor, I would have come home with RED stilettos!
Customer service really does give Zappos the edge; every member we met had energy, enthusiasm and devotion, not only for Zappos, but for their colleagues. We would love to meet Tony! Then we could thank him for encouraging his team members to exceed the customer’s expectations in any and every way possible. The folks in Shepherdsville earned our respect and gratitude. Stefanie, thank you, thank you, thank you for creating an experience that certainly qualifies as “the adventure of our year” and a birthday extravaganza that no one can top! Overall, it was a fantasy come true where our every thought was anticipated and fulfilled. Customer service exceeded excellence.
And yes, we called and e-mailed everyone we knew about our visit as soon as we got home that evening.
Totally devoted to Zappos…Valerie & Alicia (the birthday girl)
P.S. You must have a reservation to tour the facility.
Written by: Valerie O. and Alicia L.
Recently Tony, Alfred and Aaron were invited to attend the season finale Filming of Celebrity Apprentice . They were milling around the auditorium when our very own Linda L. motioned for the three to come up on stage because she wanted to take a picture of them “Behind Donald Trump’s chair and the Boardroom table”.They didn’t want to come up on stage…thinking they weren’t allowed and the producer said “of course your allowed up here with Linda…” Still hesitant, Linda demanded “Get up there”! Thanks to Linda’s determination and not to mention impeccable photography skills, we get to see the remnants of this fun photo op!
P.S. After our Bald and Blue event last wednesday, some of you may have forgetten what 2 of these guys look like with hair !!!!!!
Zappos Face Game!
Win some awesome Zappos shwag!
All you have to do is play the Zappos face game. Here’s how:
1) Subscribe to our channel on YouTube (Youtube.Com/Zappos)
2) Watch this video and remember the names!
3) At the end of the video, you’ll get 4 choices of names. Click on the right name to move on.
4) If you get it right, it will take you to the next face video. If you get them all right, you’ll go to a final video that will tell you a super secret email address. Email that address your:
- Names Of The Faces (in order)
- Date Of Birth
- Daytime Phone #
5) The sweepstakes will end on 5/7/09 11:59PM PST.
We will randomly select 5 winners among all the entries to win cool Zappos Merchandise!
We all love Ellen so much and we really want her to visit! We even have a desk ready for her. Please come to Zappos!
12/30/08 Update: Wrote follow up post: Poker, Business, Life: It’s Never Too Late to Change Tables
EVALUATING MARKET OPPORTUNITIES
- Table selection is the most important decision you can make.
- It’s okay to switch tables if you discover it’s too hard to win at your table.
- If there are too many competitors (some irrational or inexperienced), even if you’re the best it’s a lot harder to win.
MARKETING AND BRANDING
- Act weak when strong, act strong when weak. Know when to bluff.
- Your “brand” is important.
- Help shape the stories that people are telling about you.
- Always be prepared for the worst possible scenario.
- The guy who wins the most hands is not the guy who makes the most money in the long run.
- The guy who never loses a hand is not the guy who makes the most money in the long run.
- Go for positive expected value, not what’s least risky.
- Make sure your bankroll is large enough for the game you’re playing and the risks you’re taking.
- Play only with what you can afford to lose.
- Remember it’s a long term game. You will win or lose individual sessions, but it’s what happens in the long term that matters.
- Don’t play games that you don’t understand, even if you see lots of other people making money from them.
- Figure out the game when the stakes aren’t high.
- Don’t cheat. Cheaters never win in the long run.
- Stick to your principles.
- You need to adjust your style of play throughout the night as the dynamics of the game change. Be flexible.
- Be patient and think long term.
- The players with the most stamina and focus usually win.
- Differentiate yourself. Do the opposite of what the rest of the table is doing.
- Hope is not a good plan.
- Don’t let yourself go “on tilt”. It’s much more cost effective to take a break, walk around, or leave the game for the night.
- Educate yourself. Read books and learn from others who have done it before.
- Learn by doing. Theory is nice, but nothing replaces actual experience.
- Learn by surrounding yourself with talented players.
- Just because you win a hand doesn’t mean you’re good and you don’t have more learning to do. You might have just gotten lucky.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
- You’ve gotta love the game. To become really good, you need to live it and sleep it.
- Don’t be cocky. Don’t be flashy. There’s always someone better than you.
- Be nice and make friends. It’s a small community.
- Share what you’ve learned with others.
- Look for opportunities beyond just the game you sat down to play. You never know who you’re going to meet, including new friends for life or new business contacts.
- Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you’re trying to do more than just make money.
I’m working on writing a fun poker/business book titled Everything I Know About Business I Learned From Poker. It’s meant to be a short, fun, light-hearted book.
Please let me know what you think of the outline above and if you have any suggestions for other points I should include!
Also, I’d really like to include in the book real-life poker stories and business stories as they relate to the bullet points above. If you have any fun or interesting stories you’d like to be considered for inclusion in the book, please share your story by commenting below or emailing me at tony(at)zappos.com.
CEO – Zappos.com
12/30/08 Update: Wrote follow up post: Poker, Business, Life: It’s Never Too Late to Change Tables
Our CEO, Tony Hsieh, appeared on Fox News to talk about Zappos.com’s successful holiday season!