Photos from Zappos Tour
Friends have been asking for more information about my Zappos Tour. Here goes: Anyone can sign-up for a free tour. (See post on Zappos and transparency.) They even run shuttles to help you get there. My tour started at 9 a.m. this Wed. Checked in and started checking out the lobby: [caption id="attachment_3333" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Zappos Lobby"][/caption] The lobby also holds the bookshelves where Zappos employees can come and pick-up books on management. No check-out, just use the material to learn. (When asked for a "tour-confession" later that morning, I declared that I would get copies of my book into that bookshelf.) The lobby has a tiny museum. Here are a pair of shoes like the ones that caused Zappos to be born. Nick Swinmurn couldn't find these and it gave him the idea to start Shoesite.com in 1999. The switch to Zappos.com came as it's a better name (my view) and so they wouldn't be constrained to shoes. [caption id="attachment_3342" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="AirWalks"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_3349" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="1999 Pitchbook"][/caption] This is Jon our tour guide. He's part of the Zappos Insights group and I think is also head of tours. He did an amazing job. [caption id="attachment_3350" align="aligncenter" width="168" caption="Jon telling us the Zappos history"][/caption] Heading down the first hallway we saw framed commemorative t-shirts for each major sales goal. On the other side of hallway are caricatures of employees who have hit major goals/successes. A little further down and I spy the tablecloth quilt of brainstorm ideas from the April 2010 all hands' meeting! [caption id="attachment_3353" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Part of Quilt of Ideas"][/caption] As we get into the main floors we get our first greeting. Groups sit together, decorate their own area and have a special way of saying hello to people who come to visit. (Zappos now has three buildings in this office park, two occupied at the moment. They're working on how to keep employees visiting both.) In the Zappos Lab area we get to see a pair of size 20 shoes. [caption id="attachment_3354" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Very cool Zappos Labcoat"][/caption] Zappos thought about having an open door policy for the execs. Then they decided it was just easier not to have doors. The execs sit in an area called "Monkey Row." [caption id="attachment_3355" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Jungle theme for Monkey Row. "][/caption] Keith Glynn wasn't in. I would have liked to have said thank you in person for all the help with the fulfillment article. [caption id="attachment_3356" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Keith\'s seat on Monkey Row"][/caption] We had a great time visiting with the different groups. In the customer loyalty area (people who take help & order calls), Jon tells us about how each new employee works in the loyalty area, no matter what their ultimate job. Video of him describing the importance of making connections with the customers: Zappos Insights offers for-fee courses on their whole process.) [caption id="attachment_3357" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Longest Call (7h 28m) Record Holder"][/caption] Training is very important at Zappos -- across your current job, job development, and personal growth. Three different groups: on-boarding, Pipeline, and Zappos Insights. [caption id="attachment_3358" align="aligncenter" width="168" caption="Tony the DJ (Desk Jockey for the day), Part of Customer Loyalty training group"][/caption] In the downstairs hallway there is a bulletin board with pictures of teams that have taken immersion trips to Kentucky and the Fulfillment Center and teams from the Kentucky Fulfillment Center that have come to learn about the Las Vegas operations. The lobby also has a TV running video from the Fulfillment Center. You can tell they work hard to be a single family. End of my tour included one-on-one time with Jon and then with Robert. I'd paid the extra bit for a "tour plus." Even though Jon answered a ton of questions during the tour, it was nice to know I could ask all my management-nerd questions at the end. Overall, there was never a rushed moment, never anything we couldn't ask --- and yes, I even got to meet Tony Hsieh. We'd seen Tony on his way to the Dunk Tank. Turns out they were raising money (and cooling off) back behind the building. Robert kindly took me back there where I could help some people get wet. I introduced myself to Tony, I'm sure gushing about the tour, and then asked for this picture: [caption id="attachment_3359" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Tony Post Dunk"][/caption] Take the tour! Fly Southwest to get to Vegas and compare the two organizations. Tony's book, Delivering Happiness, is great; Zappos Insight's website is great; but there is huge value to seeing and hearing from so many Zappos people.