Roy's Blog

April 12, 2012

“Delivering Happiness” by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

I rarely find an organization that practices what I fundamentally believe is required to distinguish oneself in the market to succeed and survive. My regular reader will know that I am relentless in advocating proven and practical practices to create distance between yourself and the competitive herd.

I am a ‘SIMPLE’, ‘EXECUTE’ and ‘ONLY’ strategy hawk, a ‘VALUE’ marketing guy, a ‘relationship’ sales believer and a ‘dazzling experience’ customer server.

This book is evidence of a leader that also believed in these principles and built a phenomenally successful business by relentlessly applying them.

Tony has created an interesting and enjoyable read by his informal captivating writing style. You don’t have to ‘fight the words’ on every page. You find yourself easily consuming page after page effortlessly. The recounting of his early years and what he did to prepare himself for ‘The Show’ was informative and to the analytical hemisphere in each of us made it easy to predict his future as a business entrepreneur.

But what impressed - no, WOW’d - me was the rich examples of what he did to establish Zappos as a stand-out company; one that focused on a single value dimension to attract and build a loyal customer base; one that literally created a culture that served his chosen strategic direction.


In no particular order, here is a sample of the climax learning moments for me in Delivering Happiness:

> Never outsource a core competency. He unlike others resisted the economic temptation to outsource his call center operations.

> You always have a choice of which table to sit at (from his Poker days). Choose the table - pick the customer group to serve - that maximizes your chances of success. WHO to SERVE.

> He had an audacious goal of generating $1 Billion in revenue by 2010. This growth goal drove all activity in the business. An excellent example of HOW BIG in action.

> Lifelong learning through the Zappos Library. People make their business - everyone’s business!

> THE strategic driving force behind Zappos is to create WOW experiences for customers, employees, suppliers and owners. Tight strategy. Easy to understand. Easy to relate to.

> All activities are aligned to the service experience goal. Direct Line of Sight for all people in the organization. Random Acts of WOWNESS are expected and are a part of performance management.

> When Zappos can’t supply what the customer wants, they are directed to research their competition. They are driven by the relationship NOT the short term sale. Lose a Sale BUT Save the Customer.

> The language of Zappos is all about the customer. NOT Call Centers, BUT The Customer Loyalty Team.

> They created, published AND - more importantly - PRACTICE the Ten Core Values of Zappos.

> The #1 Core Value = Deliver WOW Through Service

> The power of 1%, a blog posted by Alfred the CFO/COO. A brilliant example of ‘get a nano-inch of progress FAST. Increments of advancement add up to impressive performance improvements.

> Weirdness is promulgated as a differential advantage. Tony’s words “We want the company to have a unique and memorable personality”.

> Build a pipeline of people rather than thinking of individuals as assets. You need to build a steady stream of people with the skills and competencies you need. A Pipeline Team delivers courses to various departments.

As an author I was WOW’d by the way Tony and crew distributed the advanced copy of his book for comment. Delivering Happiness was made available to bloggers who post blog articles regularly with a ‘promise’ to blog the book on the Publication date June 7, 2010.
What a slick method of, first, getting the Advanced Copy out to a large group of people; second, receiving complementary promotion of his book, and, third, gathering a repository of Critical Praise testimonials for his book. Brilliant example of how Authors can use Social Media to leverage their work. Nice!

Rarely have I seen such a cornucopia of ‘stuff’ that not only mirrors the business practices I believe in but which also have been executed in the real world. Tony has personally breathed life into the notions that people espouse as the right things to do. He did it and he nailed it in his book.

I strongly recommend Delivering Happiness to anyone looking to build something successful and memorable.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series


  • Posted 4.12.12 at 10:00 am by Roy Osing
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