Friday, June 11, 2010

Delivering Happiness

This is my third blog post to review Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. The entire book is full of great ideas. Will discuss a few more here. If you leave a comment, you may win a free copy of Tony's book.

#1 Driver of Growth
For Zappos the #1 driver of growth has been repeat customers. This has been driven by the passion they have for customer service and the customer base has responded. In our business it always amazes me how much of what we do results from repeat customers that enjoy being told the truth, being treated fair and getting what was agreed upon at the price quoted. Such simple concepts but not followed often.

Culture Equals Brand
Many companies spend tremendous amounts of money on branding. At Zappos the belief is their culture is their brand. There culture centers around customer service and this has become their brand. Most companies have a brand and that brand is determined by the customer not the company. Customers decide what they think of you by how you treat them. If you want a great brand - have a great culture.

This is one of the ten core values for the company as well as how Tony lives his life on a personal basis. If you ever see video of Tony you quickly realize

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Delivering Happiness

This is my second blog post to review Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. As I worked my way through Tony's book I was amazed at the number of strong lessons. Here are a few more. If you leave a comment, you may win a free copy of Tony's book.

You Don't Need Too Much Money
Early on at Zappos there wasn't enough availability to money. Tony and his co-workers tried and tried to find additional funding but not until later in the company were they able to get the funding levels they wanted. This turned out to be a good lesson. They had to cut expenses and then when that was done they had to cut some more. This forced them to focus on what they could do for each other and for the customer that didn't cost money. The same spirit lives on at Zappos.

Have A Clear List of Objectives
Early on Tony and his other top managers focused on a small number of clear objectives. They knew they couldn't be everything to everyone, so they kept it simple. They focused on the brands that sold, they focused on training, they focused on strong customer service and they focused on a wonderful culture. Many companies spread themselves so thin they are weak at all skills instead of being great at a few things. It is almost always better to have a clear set of objectives and stay focused.

Never Outsource Your Core Competency
When Zappos was young, they experimented with outsourcing their warehouse function. On paper this seemed like a good idea because they could save money and

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lessons from Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh - Free Book Give Away

There will be three posts this week about Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. This will not be the typical book review with the standard info about Tony’s background, early successes and the selling of two of his companies. When reading this book it became clear to me that Tony is sharing a large number of success principles that are common in success literature. He doesn’t call them principles but they still are principles.

The publisher also gave me a second book to give away. I am going to give this book, I will pay shipping, to a random comment author to my blog. At the end of the week I will pick the winner.

Here are the principles from the first part of the book that I found enlightening.

“There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” Morpheus, The Matrix. Tony teaches us that everything takes action – life without action is just theory and theory doesn’t accomplish much. You have to live life and be in the game to find and deliver happiness.

Humility is a theme and a core value for Tony and for Zappos. This has allowed him to endure many tough times personally and professionally because he was not focused on how he would look or how he would be impacted. When a person can separate himself or herself from the issue or opportunity, great things can happen.

No Man Is An Island
Early on Tony realized he couldn’t do everything himself. He knew he didn’t have the skills to cover everything in the business. One of his early businesses was website development and he was the sales person while his partner, Sanjay, was the programmer. Tony said about the two, “we made a good team.” He kept this mindset throughout his career – it takes more than one person to win.

Delayed Gratification
Tony had a chance to sell LinkExchange for $1 million when it was only 5 months old. When the company was about a year old, Yahoo offered $20 million of the company. Tony and his partners decided not to sell even though financially they would have been set for life. They know better things were down the road so they kept growing the business. To postpone pleasure into the future is a strong principle that has served Tony well.

Hire Right
Tony said “we hired a lot of smart, passionate

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Delivering Happiness

Delivering Happiness is a new book coming out next week. The author, Tony Hsieh, has lead for the last decade while growing the company from a small organization to over one billion in sales. An incredible feat considering their primary product is shoes which are a commodity. As a seller of a commodity, does not rely on being the low cost leader and that is the real essence of the company.

Culture and customer service drive