So Much Culture, Boy George Is Envious – Zappos

tony hsieh and nan palmero.jpg

Yesterday, a tweet from Mark Ruddock, CEO of Viigo got me thinking about corporate culture.  He said “Playing with Android all weekend … finding myself intrigued by the way corporate cultures are reflected in their products.”  He went on to say “UX (user experience) lacks holistic finesse of iPhone … and core operations (such as eMail) lack UX efficiency of BlackBerry…many facets beautifully engineered behind the scenes … however I have a real sense it was built by geeks for geeks”

I thought these were great points.  Whether you understand what Mark tweeted, the part that stuck out was he could tell the culture of the company simply from an inanimate object.  You likely feel the same way when you pick up a MacBook Pro.  You know that Apple cares about aesthetics, they care about materials, user experience and quality.  Even if your company is service based, your customers can still feel the culture as they interact with the people in your company.

I toured Zappos back in January.  Zappos started life as a shoe company but chose to be a retailer in general, the main thread holding it all together was service.  It showed.  Every room we walked into, the Zappos folks would stop what they were doing, bring out noise makers, clap, or stand up and greet us.  It was a small gesture, but I will forever have a special appreciation for their example of quality service.  Their corporate culture was amazing, contagious and unforgettable.  Yes, I’m also a customer and have received world-class service, too.

Why bother talking about culture at all?  Because your company is going to have one whether you’re doing anything about it or not.  My suggestion is that you make conscious decisions to make your culture remarkable.  If you don’t, the culture is going to be what it becomes and that may or may not be a good thing.  Having made a decision on what your company culture is the first step.  The next step?  Tell your people what the culture is, then develop core values, a purpose and a brand promise that all support this culture.  When you do this, it makes the culture easier to understand and to spread, especially to new hires.  Further, it helps those in the company make the right decisions when facing tough obstacles.  Go on, make your culture remarkable.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the photo, that’s Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.  He takes pictures with famous folks and does bunny ears.  So, naturally, I asked.

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