Amazon & Zappos on the same tree!

Jeff Bezos mentions in his video that he “gets all weak kneed” with customer obsessed company. Well, I am a sucker too for businesses & business cultures that make customer the focus of their existence. And its great to hear that two of these exemplary companies – Amazon & Zappos – are coming together (link to the news).

In announcing the coming together of these brands, Bezos mentions a short but complete list of his business principles.

  • Obsess Over Customers
  • Invent
  • Think Long Term
    Its always Day 1!

Tony Hsieh (CEO – a typical Zappos fun way to announce the news to Zappos employees.

Zappos‘ customer service obsession reinforces Amazon’s mission to be the earth’s most customer-centric company.”

Update: Check out the sequence of Tony’s tweets leading up to the announcement of the acquisition. Interesting.

  • Big day! Email I just sent to Zappos employees today about the Amazon acquisition – 1:32 PM Jul 22nd from web
  • “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” -JFK 7:02 AM Jul 22nd from web
  • “Some see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” -George Bernard Shaw 6:08 PM Jul 21st from web

Tony Hseih on Zappos Culture

Tony Hsieh

Download Audio File [link]

In this presentation at the Web 2.0 Conference, CEO Tony Hsieh talks about his first business selling pizza in college, starting Link Exchange after college, and how he eventually ended up leading Zappos as the CEO.  Tony discusses how his experience at Link Exchange influenced him to focus on corporate culture as a top priority, and why he thinks culture is so important to a company’s future growth and success.

Tony talks about the internal vision of Zappos not just to be an Internet footware merchant, but to be a brand that is known for an excellent customer experience.  He goes on to list a number of specific techniques that the company uses to enhance customer service, and explains why he thinks that the telephone is still one of the best branding devices available.

How do you define culture?  Tony talks about some of the core values of Zappos, and why it’s important to have values that aren’t just a plaque on a wall.  These values permeate every aspect of the company, and Tony details some of the hiring and training practices that Zappos uses to ensure that every employee fits into the corporate culture.

Custommerce – Customer Centric Initiative in India

UPDATE (as on 6th Nov 2008)

The folks from custommerce mailed me soon after this blog posting. They have indicated that ways of engaging a wider community for this movement has been discussed in the Kovalam conclave. And they will have some concrete steps soon. 


custommerce – Strategies for a Customer-Driven Economy
Vision: A customer experience driven globally competitive Indian economy. 
The above mentioned vision statement has prompted me to check on this initiative a couple of times earlier. On trying the join custommerce call for action, a response seem to have emanated from the sales desk of Servion. Though custommerce is termed as a movement, no answers are forthcoming about how I can be a part of the same. 
To be fair, I did receive a notification about their latest conclave in Kovalam. Presentations from the conclave are also available at their site. The presentation Customer Centricity: Challenges in Getting Top Management Buy-in is an interesting topic & on target. 
Still trying to figure how best to contribute to the movement though.

Gandhi on Customers

Intended for this to be a Oct 2 (Gandhi’s birthday) post. Better late than never.
I also know that I have mentioned this before. But then, there are still many who haven’t learnt from this.

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption to our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our business. He is a part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportuity to do so.

– Mahatma Gandhi –