A Visit to Zappos in Las Vegas

This week I’ve had the unbelievable privilege of spending time with a handful people from the Zappos team. Yes, that included Tony Hsieh and Fred Mossler. Peter, John and I had a drink with them last night. (No, I didn’t take any pictures with/of them. That would have been extremely awkward.)

Here are a few highlights from our adventures yesterday:

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Three of the four Iron Yard partners trying to wake up after a 4:30am start to the day.

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Lots of work gets done on the phones when we’re on the road. Catching a quick charge in a restaurant.

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This is one of the “pods” in Zappos’ new office, which used to be City Hall. They have done a marvelous job renovating the inside of the building already (they’ve only been there about six months). One fun component of their culture is letting employees propose ideas for how a space is outfitted and then letting the company vote. Zappos funds the buildout of the winning idea. A few proposals for a “pod” on a different floor were 80s prom theme, Super Mario Brothers, 24-hour masseuse, and a giant slide to the ground level.

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At Zappos every employee goes through customer service training so that they know what it’s like to interact with the people they serve directly. The actual customer service group is called the “CLT,” or Customer Loyalty Team.

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This is a ‘typical’ floor in the new office.

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This is Tony Hsieh’s desk. A few executives were out of the office, so we got a sneak peek at “Monkey Row,” as they call it internally. The leaders who were there, Mike and Steve, were as friendly as could be even though we made an unexpected visit to their work space.

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It’s very clear that Zappos employees LOVE to decorate their desks—and each others’ desks. Whenever one of their employees has an annual anniversary for time spent at the company, other people on their team celebrate by decorating that employee’s work space. From what we could tell, lots of the decorations stick around.

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Each employee gets a license plate with a “registration sticker” that represents the number of years they have been with the company. Until your first year, you have a “temporary tag.”

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Each individual team seemed to have their own identity—they name themselves, give each other “culture names,” or nicknames, and create email distribution lists for those specific groups. The “WowerRangers” were a part of the CLT.

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We happened upon a 1-year anniversary for one of their employees. Everyone on that floor who passed by the lobby was invited to come celebrate.

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Keeping track of progress.

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One year anniversaries are a big deal. As you can tell by the faces, Zappos employees are happy people.

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Each year Zappos prints a shirt to celebrate the day that they reach a daily sales record. In 2012 that number was $22,000,000.

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The Royalty Room is Zappos place for people who want to set and achieve personal or professional goals. They have a point person whose only job is to help people become successful in meeting their goals.

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We’ve wanted to incorporate astroturf at The Iron Yard somehow for a long time. This “Sky Yard” was great inspiration.

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Mr. John Saddington, doing business and taking in the mountain view.

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We ended the Zappos experience by having a drink at The Boozery with Tony and Fred, the people who run Zappos. We talked company culture, Las Vegas, Greenville, code education, Fernet shots and making a difference in people’s lives in general.

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Of course, no trip to Las Vegas would be complete without a walk through the neon jungle.

6 thoughts on “A Visit to Zappos in Las Vegas”

  1. Looks like a great time! I had a friend that worked there doing order management type stuff for a few years. He would meet with all the brand reps to decide what would go up on the site each quarter. He loved the culture, but is moving to find a quieter place to live to start raising a family. His hiring story was a bit crazy because the guy that did his interview is even from the same town we all grew up in. A small town on the border if Wisconsin and upper Michigan. Such a small world. They never knew each other before the interview happened.

    1. It was a great time, Jacob. Are you ready for some twilight zone stuff? One of the people who hosted us was named Jacob and from Wisconsin. Dun dun dun…

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