Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
This interview with Tony Hsieh, the chief executive of Zappos.com, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.Skip to next paragraphMarilynn K. Yee/The New York Times
Tony Hsieh is C.E.O. of Zappos.com, the shoe seller that Amazon acquired last year. A core Zappos value, he says, is to “create fun and a little weirdness,” so he values individuality in hiring.
Q. What are some of the most important leadership lessons you’ve learned?
A. After college, a roommate and I started a company called LinkExchange in 1996, and it grew to about 100 or so people, and then we ended up selling the company to Microsoft in 1998. From the outside, it looked like it was a great acquisition, $265 million, but most people don’t know the real reason why we ended up selling the company.
It was because the company culture just went completely downhill. When it was starting out, when it was just 5 or 10 of us, it was like your typical dot-com. We were all really excited, working around the clock, sleeping under our desks, had no idea what day of the week it was. But we didn’t know any better and didn’t pay attention to company culture.
By the time we got to 100 people, even though we hired people with the right skill sets and experiences, I just dreaded getting out of bed in the morning and was hitting that snooze button over and over again.
A. I just didn’t look forward to going to the office. The passion and excitement were no longer there. That’s kind of a weird feeling for me because this was a company I co-founded, and if I was feeling that way, how must the other employees feel? That’s actually why we ended up selling the company.
Financially, it meant I didn’t have to work again if I didn’t want to. So that was the lens through which I was looking at things. It’s basically asking the question, what would you want to do if you won the lottery? For me, I didn’t want to be part of a company where I dreaded going into the office.
So when I joined Zappos about a year later, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t make the same mistake that I had made at LinkExchange, in terms of the company culture going downhill. So for us, at Zappos, we really view culture as our No. 1 priority. We decided that if we get the culture right, most of the stuff, like building a brand around delivering the very best customer service, will just take care of itself.
Q. So how do you do that?
A. About five years ago, we formalized the definition of our culture into 10 core values. We wanted to come up with committable core values, meaning that we would actually be willing to hire and fire people based on those values, regardless of their individual job performance. Given that criteria, it’s actually pretty tough to come up with core values.
Q. Tell me what happened.
A. We spent a year doing that. I basically sent an e-mail out to the entire company, asking them what our values should be, and got a whole bunch of different responses. The initial list was actually 37 long, and then we ended up condensing and combining them and went back and forth and came up with our list of 10.
Today, we actually do two separate sets of interviews. The hiring manager and his or her team will interview for the standard fit within the team, relevant experience, technical ability and so on. But then our H.R. department does a separate set of interviews purely for culture fit. They actually have questions for each and every one of the core values.
Q. Can you give me an example of the value and the question?
A. Well, some of them are behavioral questions. One of our values is, “Create fun and a little weirdness.” So one of our interview questions is, literally, on a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you? If you’re a 1, you’re probably a little bit too strait-laced for us. If you’re a 10, you might be too psychotic for us.
It’s not so much the number; it’s more seeing how candidates react to a question. Because our whole belief is that everyone is a little weird somehow, so it’s really more just a fun way of saying that we really recognize and celebrate each person’s individuality, and we want their true personalities to shine in the workplace environment, whether it’s with co-workers or when talking with customers.
I think of myself less as a leader, and more of being almost an architect of an environment that enables employees to come up with their own ideas, and where employees can grow the culture and evolve it over time, so it’s not me having a vision of “This is our culture.”
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
I admit that some of the editing in this piece is a little gimmicky and giving away free stuff isn't exactly an original idea. But it's pretty fun to watch students freak out. The balloon animal was my favorite part.
I'd love to see an Ed Hardy t-shirt vending machine stunt like this on the Jersey Shore boardwalk.
What do you guys think?
Sunday, January 17, 2010
This Macallan Ice Ball Machine is amazing. It uses gravity and copper properties to melt a big chunk of ice into a perfect sphere - which is apparently optimal for drinking.
The Macallan team found the machine in Japan and bought exclusive rights to it for a few years. I'll find out more. But now, off to the bar...
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
We’ve just confirmed that the Red Cross has already raised more than $800,000 for Haiti through their $10 text message donation initiative (text “Haiti” to 90999), which is backed by the United States State Department.
Susan Watson, director of marketing and visibility for the Red Cross, tells us that they’re getting reports every half hour with the latest donation numbers, and the current total — as of 4:30 p.m. EST — is greater than $800,000 for text message donations alone. Watson says, “The needs are so tremendous in Haiti, and we are honored that people continue to give to the American Red Cross. Raising this amount of money, $10 at time, is a true testament to the American spirit.”
The Red Cross’s involvement in the relief effort is to be commended. Not only did it immediately set up the simplest donation method possible, but its social media presence and outreach, when combined with the State Department’s involvement, has turned this into a viral funding initiative, topping Twitter trends and inspiring action. The Red Cross is also contributing an initial $1 million from the International Response Fund.
If you want to help the cause you can text “Haiti” to 90999 to send a $10 donation to the Red Cross. There’s also this collection of organizations that are accepting donations online.
Here at Release The Hounds, we finally put our text addiction to great use. We contributed $10 to the Red Cross to help the devastated people of Haiti. It's heartbreaking. Please help if you can.
Simply text “Haiti” to 90999 to send a $10 donation to the Red Cross
Monday, January 11, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Sorry for the spammy headline, but it's true.I was in Target yesterday buying my wife the Flip UltraHD camera for her birthday. As I'm standing in the checkout line, I remembered that I had recently purchased the RedLaser App for my iPhone. RedLaser uses the camera on your phone to scan product barcodes and searches to find the best price using Google product search. I scanned the box and a price list came up almost instantly. I reviewed it and noticed that Best Buy had the camera on sale for $40 cheaper. I clicked the link for proof and sure enough, it was on sale. I laughed diabolically, returned the camera to electronics department (Lie: I put it on the magazine rack. Sorry.) and headed to Best Buy. RedLaser cost me $1.99. Easy math. Awesome App.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Twitter has become the ultimate turncoat lately, functioning as a soldier for the police and drunken drivers alike.
, and now cops report that the culprits themselves are using the microblogging site to inform others of the location of sobriety checkpoints.
According to a 2001 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these checkpoints reduce alcohol-related accidents by an average of 20 percent. So you can imagine what effect a bunch of New Year’s revelers with the inside scoop on checkpoints could have.
It’s common knowledge that holidays such as New Year’s Eve and Thanksgiving present ample opportunities for folks to get smashed, get behind the wheel and get into accidents. That’s why police set up sobriety checkpoints in the first place. Consequently, when folks make use of Twitter, FacebookFacebook
apps to bypass said checkpoints, we could be in for a world of hurt (literally).
Still, according to The Seattle Times, some think that there’s no difference between tweeting about a checkpoint and the police department’s own promotion of the security measure (police basically inform citizens that they will be enforced, but decline to give specific locations).
What do you think of this phenomenon? Do you think it will contribute to more accidents this NYE? If so, it might be safe to pull up a couch and party at home.
[img credit: tsand on Flickr]
If some people evade police using Tweeting while drunk, how many drive their cars into trees trying to do so?