Zappos walks the talk

Zappos Culture

Zappos Culture Book

If you had to ask my students to name a company that they think I particularly admire they would unhesitatingly say Zappos, the online shoe store recently bought by Amazon for $1.2 Billion.

Well I have just had my first experience with them and I am even more stoked.

On Thursday last week I listened to a talk given at LeWeb which was being live streamed by Ustream. Tony Hsiesh the CEO of  was talking about thier secret weapon, company culture. Its worth clicking on the link or here and listening to him, I promise. Toward the end of the talk he offered to send a copy of the Zappos Culture Book to anyone who wanted it.

So I sent him a mail. A short while later I got a mail to give me a link to the slides and to say that they would soon send me a copy of the book. The email was from one of Tony Hsiesh’s team, Stephanie, who introduced herself like this:

Thank you for contacting Tony! He reads every email he receives and asked me to respond on his behalf so you could receive a timely response.  Tony receives over 2,000 emails each day, and I am part of a small team that assists in answering them.  He would have responded directly, but he doesn’t have the hands necessary to type up 2,000 responses at the same time. We’re currently working on replacing Tony’s arms with spider legs, so look for more responses from Tony in the future!

Today is Tuesday, and this is South Africa, well this morning a real printed book of about 350 pages arrived and in it are a whole bunch of little comments from Zappos staff and people associated with Zappos about what Zappos means to them.

Just getting it to me at that speed is impressive enough. So I sent a mail back to the “spider -man” team answering Tony’s mails and tweeted to @zappos to thank him. Interstingly enough @Zappos was on of the first 20 people whom I followed on twitter.

So within a short while I get a reply from @Zappos_service “@walterpike Cool! Look for Christine B. and my silly entry about PBJ’s :)” and sure enough on page 43 is Christine B’s take on the Zappos culture – so I respond and she comes back with “@walterpike I’ve made some pretty amazing friends working here… and some pretty amazing sandwiches.”

Then I get a mail in response to mine; “Thanks for taking interest in our company. I hope you enjoy the culture book. Each employee had the opportunity to write what culture means to them. If you get a chance to check out my entry, it’s on page #70 under “Jess B.”

And sure enough I find it (see the pic above) so I respond to her and soon Jess comes back to me with “I’m so flattered! We really do try our very best to provide exception service. Thanks for the mention on Twitter. If you have any questions for the case study please let me know, I’ll do my best to answer them. Happy holidays =)”

If I was a fan before I am even more now.

I hope that  the folks at Zappos don’t mind me sharing this with you, but I am really impressed and I am reading the culture book with real appreciation, and I can tell you Mr Bezos you would have got Zappos at a bargain at twice the price.

UPDATE: Jon from Zappos, in a comment on this post, invites anyone who also wants a copy of the book to email him.

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Posted on December 16, 2009 at 12:46 am by Walter Pike · Permalink
In: Marketing · Tagged with: , , , , ,
  • Jon

    Walter, I am so glad your book arrived so fast! Tony's Spider-man team do a great job getting the requests to me as quickly as they can, and I just love to hear that the books have made it to their destinations (specially when they are as exotic as yours!). The team and family spirit here at Zappos is a big part of who we are and what we do. We are always very excited to hear that what we are doing makes a difference to people! If you know of anyone else who would like a copy, let them know they can send an email with a physical address in it to:… My entry is on page 74

    • Walter Pike

      Thats Jonathan W I guess.

      That is such a cool idea sending people to your page, is it a strategy or just spontaneous? What it does is that it instantly makes you real.

      Thanks very much.

    • Rob


      I emailed the address above and havent got a response. Seems very un-zappos, perhaps the email is not working?

      • Walter Pike

        try – ceo (at) zappos (dot) com

      • Walter Pike

        just got a comment to say they sent you the book :)

  • Scott Allison

    @zappos was also one of the first accounts I followed on twitter too, in fact it's the only reason I found out about them (they don't operate outside north america – yet). It led me to attend their Insights bootcamp in October of this year, and it was an amazing experience. More on my blog

    • Walter Pike

      Scott – thanks for the link to your blog. I would love to go on that tour as well.

  • Allan Kent

    I was just speaking about Zappos this week with some people at the office, so your post could not have come at a better time. I actually saw Tony speak at SXSW earlier in the year and was inspired then by his words and attitude. It is good to see that what he said then has been borne out by actions and results.

    • Walter Pike


      I think that that book is so significant, I don't know how many companies in the world that would be able to do the same book and for each individual be so proud of their own contribution that they will proudly point you there.

      They also have obviously got serious listening posts out the internet to hear what people are saying, all sorts of Zappos people have contacted me.

      … and people – REAL people who like Jon have convinced his wife to come work at Zappos because he loves it so much.

      Lots and lots of lessons to learn – go check out the ustream of the talk at LeWeb Paris.

      Happy Holidays :)

      • Jon

        Happy Holidays!

        Rob, Sorry for the delay, the book is on its way!

        Walter, thanks again for the great post! We are so glad that we can be here and do our best to give everyone a great experience.

  • greggwenger

    Exactly the same WOW here : They rock !

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