Customer service is one of the main underlying themes in this book. Quality control, improving experience and long-term professional relationships have always been things I harp on throughout my professional career. I've actually read this book 3-4 times and it is a wonderful guide for general direction for company culture.
This book by Tony Hsieh is an absolute classic. He is a guy that really found a nice balance between what he was passionate about (being his own boss and growing a business) and what could make him money. His desires in life are relatively low as compared to most CEO's who seem to like to flaunt their wealth and success. Tony on the other hand likes to make people feel included and important in the process of shaping his companies.
The aspect of the Zappos culture I didn't like was the emphasis on blending professional and personal time together. I've always been a "I am done at 4:30 or 5:00, so it is now my time" kind of mindset. It isn't that I don't work hard or dislike co-workers, it is I have other goals in life outside of my career. Namely, for myself it is getting to the gym by 5:30, which includes running home to change, eating a small snack and getting to the gym. I just think it is healthy to have that distance.
What Did I Learn?
1. In this book I take a little something different each time I read it. Now, I know the words don't change but my life changes around it. Tony is a guy that seems to struggle with the transition between small start-up and corporate. He seemed to learn a lot of lessons from mistakes at his first major company, LinkExchange, that he didn't want to repeat at Zappos.
2. Much like Tony I have a desire to one day be my own boss. Life is really about getting yourself to where you want to be or making someone else rich. I prefer the first option. His words make me think.
3. There seems to be genuine care from the top-down about the development of all employees at Zappos. Although profits are important and keeping investors happy is key, it isn't the only thing that matters. I think this is a lesson that a lot of corporations can take from this book. The other thing I liked about Zappos is they embrace a philosophy of being a little weird. I love that.
It is about developing your team and rewarding them when they take a step. I've worked in places where you work hard and get rewarded and others where you always see new hires coming in making comfortably more than you do. Those places are tough to get up and go to.
4. I liked how all new hires, regardless of role, had to spend time in the customer service call center. I really think many organization could benefit from all employees spending at least a few weeks at the front line to understand concerns.
About the Author
Andy Rupert is a Penn State (B.A. John Curley Center for Sports Journalism 08') and a Southern Miss (M.S. Sport Management 09'). He has spent his whole career working in sports and tourism digital marketing and metrics.