Whew! I gotta say, I’ve wanted to update the site a whole ton more than I’ve had the chance to in the last month. As I’m sure many of the people that come to this site know, I’ve moved on from Tireco. After almost 4 years, I felt it was good time for a new challenge. In mid-September, I finished up in California, and at the beginning of October, I moved all my stuff out to Vegas, and started at Zappos.com!
What a rush! Shannon and I drove out to Vegas, and over one weekend, saw about 20 apartments, condos, and houses. Over the course of the next couple weeks, I made at least a couple midnight drives out to Vegas to sign paperwork, move stuff in a uHaul, and get ready to start life all over again (seemingly).
My first week at Zappos was pretty neat. It was national Customer Service week, and Zappos had set up a bunch of different activities for everyone in the company to enjoy. My first day, there was a pancake breakfast. Also, there was an glass box that shot air upwards. They filled this with pieces of paper, and every employee was encouraged to get in and try to grab a piece of paper. Whatever they got was the prize they got. Crazy! Day two was a ho down, replete with barbeque and a mechanical bull. Day 3 we got t-shirts. Day 4, there was an Asics vendor party for Zappos employees at the Hard Rock Hotel. And Friday was come to work in your pajamas day. That was my first week. Along with meeting, seemingly, a million people, attend more meetings than I had had in my last 4 months at Tireco, and help out on 6PM.com’s 10-10-10 sale (in my first week!).
I have to say, everything you’ve ever heard about Zappos – about it’s unique culture, about the unique atmosphere, about the people – it’s all true. What an amazing place! It is about as progressive as you can find a company in America. The benefits are amazing, but more than that, the people are truly an incredible asset to this company. Talk about a group that works hard and plays hard. For example, I was originally placed next to “Cougar Court”, 3 ladies who handled travel for all of Zappos employees. I can only guess as to why they are nicknamed Cougar Court, but I do know that they have a keg set up every day, and a bevy of harder liquor on hand. Employees would drop by everyday at the end of the day to enjoy an adult beverage. Some wouldn’t even wait until the end of the day. Yeah. If this sounds weird… it is.
Everyone has to go through a 4 week customer service training near the beginning of their employment. They’re continued employment is contingent upon them completing this CS training course. It requires you to be in the classroom prior to 7AM everyday, without fail. Show up late – even by 1 minute – and you no longer have a job. I think it’s a great program. 1) they train everyone to service the customers and give everyone the party line, 2) everyone understands what’s important to the company, and 3) as Anthony Bourdain says (and I paraphrase): “you can teach skills, but you can’t teach character.” If someone can’t even show up on time for 4 weeks, how can you assume they will be dependable, trustworthy or useful?
I am currently in week 2 of this course, and while the classroom portion is slow, being on the phones at a company that, literally, trains you to pretty much say yes to almost anything a customer asks for is a huge rush. People are so happy at the end of the call! And another benefit: you make friends with people in other departments that you generally wouldn’t have much interaction with. It’s pretty neat.
Today was our “all hands meeting”, a quarterly presentation for the entire company. For this one, Zappos rented out the KA theater (yeah, the Cirque du Soliel KA) at the MGM. It was streamed live. You can view the recording at the below link (I’ve also embedded the video). I think the video will give you some insight into the kind of company Zappos is.
Pretty crazy! Afterwards, there was a happy hour at Studio 54. Sweet! I got to meet Tony Hsieh today, which was kind of surreal. He’s so quiet.
Anyways, it’s late, and I need to get to bed (have to be at class by 7!), but I just wanted to put up an update to let you know that I’m alive and well. Oh, and who the hell knew, but Vegas has a monsoon season. It’s been raining like CRAZY all this week. So for all you that though Vegas would be like … Palmdale, CA, it’s not. It rains here. Till next time.