Web App Summit: Delivering Happiness

by Luke Wroblewski April 26, 2009

Tony Hsieh's Delivering Happiness keynote presentation at the 2009 Web App summit in Newport Beach, CA outlined Zappos' commitment to culture and customer service, and the impact this approach has had.

  • Tony sold LinkExchange to Microsoft for $265 million because the company culture had diminished over time
  • Zappos brand: Tony wants it to be about customer service not about shoes.
  • Zappos is committed to wowing customers. 75% of their purchasing comes from returning customers.
  • Instead of spending money on advertising, Zappos spends it on customer service: shipping, communication, etc.
  • Zappos' number one priority is culture. If you get culture right, rest will just fall into the place.
  • All employees get 5 weeks of culture training and two weeks of phone answering. Interviews and performance reviews are 50% based on core values & cultural fit.
  • Twitter is introduced as part of company training. Helps create relationships between people that work at the company.
  • Take costs for security, monitoring and instead put it into the hiring process.
  • Focus for 2009: owning the three c’s. Clothing, Customer Service, Culture.
  • It does not matter what your core values are as long as you commit to them.
  • Decide: if you’re trying to build a long term sustainable brand. Doing so requires more patience with revenues & profits in order to lay the foundation. Decide sooner rather than later.
  • Zappos gave up short-term revenues to be true to long term vision.
  • Vision: chase the vision, not the money. Get more engaged and passionate about your company. “What would you be passionate about doing for 10 years even if you never made a dime?”
  • What’s the greater purpose for employees other than profits. Inspiration over motivation.
  • Build relationships, not networking. Be interested rather than try to be interesting.
  • Build your team: hire slowly, fire quickly.
  • Think Long Term: repeat customers, customer service. Takes years to develop right approach. “Overnight” successes are years in the making.
  • What is your goal in life- if you ask “why?” enough, you end up with people want to be happy.
  • People are very bad at predicting what will bring them sustained happiness.
  • Few different frameworks of happiness: 1) perceived control 2) perceived progress 3) connectedness 4) vision/meaning (being part of something bigger than yourself)
  • Three types of happiness. 1) pleasure chasing the next high 2) flow –engagement and time flies 3) meaning/higher purpose –be part of something bigger than yourself.