Be sure to read our other interviews in our leadership series.
Also, feel free to jump to other parts of the interview found below:
- Interview Questions from shmula.com blog readers
- Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, Part 1
- Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, Part 2
- Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, Part 3
- Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, Part 4
- Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, Part 5
Comment by Gary James on November 26, 2008 @ 10:43 am
Zappos recently laid-off some of the workforce. I have a few questions:
1) How is morale these days?
2) Everyone is expecting a really tough Q4, what is Zappos doing to mitigate the effects of the downturn?
- Morale was obviously down in the days immediately following the layoffs, but it’s been over a month now and morale is definitely much better.
- We are watching our expenses closely and being proactive about reducing expenses, which was the reason for the layoffs. You can read more about the layoffs here and here.
Comment by Bail Me Out on November 26, 2008 @ 10:48 am
Given your predisposition for the customer, what is the right thing to do with the Big 3 Automakers? It seems to me that bailing them out is more about the employees and the US Economy as a whole than it is about peoples experience with Ford, GM, or Chrysler. Would Tony Hsieh bailout the Big 3 Automakers?
I actually don’t know enough about the details of the bailout or how the Big 3 Automakers’ companies work internally to be able to give a good answer to this. I will say that in general, I think we should try to support companies that provide the best customer experience and customer service.
Comment by Dustin Robertson on November 26, 2008 @ 1:22 pm
Your free next day air promotion in 2007 skyrocketed your growth. Have you looking into cutting marketing expenditures to fund benefits for the customer like fast shipping?
Yes, most of the money that we would have spent on paid advertising/marketing we’ve put into the customer experience, including free/fast shipping.
Comment by Nancy Low on November 26, 2008 @ 3:13 pm
I see Zappos participating at leadership events – How do you measure your ROI on leadership development within your organization?
We don’t really measure ROI on that. We fundamentally believe that great leaders build great teams, and great teams can add orders of magnitude more value to a company than mediocre teams.
Comment by chad on November 26, 2008 @ 3:26 pm
I would like to know what Zappos is doing to monitor your brand on social sites like Twitter and MySpace. How many employees do you have monitoring social sites, and what is your strategic response when something negative is said?
We don’t really have anyone whose full time job is to monitor social sites. We introduce Twitter to all new employees during orientation, and we currently have hundreds of employees using Twitter: http://twitter.zappos.com/employees
Many employees, including me, monitor mentions of “Zappos” on Twitter simply because they are passionate about Zappos and about Twitter.
Be sure to check our our other Leadership Interviews below:
Lean Leadership Interviews
|Jeffrey Liker, author of The Toyota Way, shares his thoughts on Toyota Kata, why sometimes root cause analysis isn't necessary, and what else he is excited to learn - even after 30 years of being a student of the Toyota Production System.|
|In this Podcast interview with Eric Ries, the author of The Leanstartup, we learn about the how he's applied Lean principles to starting companies. He also tells us about his consulting work with GE and how GE, worldwide, has applied Leanstartup throughout all its divisions and is considering Leanstartup as its new Operating System for the company.|
|Michael Balle is a leading voice in Lean. In this interview, he shares with us his thoughts on Lean, tells us about his book, and spends a good amount of time discussing Respect for People.|
|Michael Jones, Head of Content at eBay||Michael Jones is the Head of Content at eBay and is the son of Daniel T. Jones, the co-author of The Machine that Changed the World - the watershed book that first brought awareness of the Toyota Production System to America.|
|We caught up with Akash Trevidi, a product manager at Kiva.org, the microfinance company that aims to help entrepreneurs worldwide in order to alleviate poverty through self-reliance and entrepreneurship.|
|We caught up with Hugh Molotsi at the Lean Startup Conference. Hugh is the VP of Innovation at Intuit Labs. In this interview, we discuss how to encourage everyone's voice in innovative product development and in solving problems.|
|Zetdi Runyan Sloan leads the startup and entrpreneurship events at the New Mexico State University. Learn about how use of Lean Startup.|
|Al Dupree is the head of innovation at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. In this interview, he discusses his use of Lean Startup principles in the world of research and innovation.|
|Cory Strong, Lean Leader at Nebraska Health System||Cory Strong first learned Lean by learning the Kawasaki Production System. Many years later, he finds himself in the exciting and high impact world of Lean Healthcare as a Lean Leader at the Nebraska Health System.|
|We interview Kaizen Institute (Kaizen.com) CEO Jon Miller. In this interview, we get a glimpse of Jon's balanced and thoughtful approach to learning, teaching, and the application of the Toyota Production System.|
Global Head of Lean Management at Hartmann Group
|Jonathan Escobar Marin is a Lean Leader and practitioner who first learned of the Toyota Production System while he was on a benchmarking trip to Toyota while employed at Procter and Gamble. In this interview you learn about his journey and how he blends the High Performance Organization Model with Lean.|
|Interview with Daniel Debow, Senior Vice President at SalesForce.com; In this podcast, we discuss Deming, Lean at SalesForce, and the SalesForce Wearables Initiative.|
|Matt Long, VP of Continuous Improvement and 24 year veteran at Herman Miller Inc. shares with us the history of Lean at Herman Miller, their association with the Toyota Supplier Support Center, and about the Herman Miller Performance System.|
|This interview with Dr. Bob Emiliani covers several aspects of Fake Lean versus Real Lean. There are real insights here from the "Lean Professor".|
|Michel Baudin is an author, highly-sought after consultant in the Toyota Production System. In this interview we learn about his distinctions between Lean-Lite versus Lean-Deep and how he understand the Respect for People Principle versus Respect for the Human as is used internally at Toyota.|
|Lean Branding is an application of Lean principles to branding. Read her provocative and practical approach to brand branding using the principles of Lean.|
|Robert Martichenko is the Founder and CEO of LeanCor - a lean logistics and supply chain company. He is also the author of the book "A Lean Fulfillment Stream", published by the Lean Enterprise Institute. In this interview, he shares with us how Lean can be applied effectively beyond the 4 walls of manufacturing and outside the office, but infused into the entire supply chain.|
|Leanpub is an innovative approach to book publishing, where Peter believes that lean principles apply. He claims that writing a book is essentially a startup. And, the worst waste of all is writing a book that nobody wants. Read more to learn how to apply lean to the world of book publishing.|
|Keith Sparkjoy is the Culture Officer at Pluralsight, a Utah company that raised $135 Million in 2014 - an unprecedented amount of venture capital. And, here's the really cool part, as the culture officer, he's trying to transform his company using Dr. W. Edward Deming's teachings.|
|David J. Anderson is the pioneer of the application of Kanban for creative knowledge work. His methodology and approach has had widespread acceptance and adoption and in this interview he shares results from companies that have tried his approach and other lessons learned.|
|Dimitar Karaivanov is the CEO of Kanbanize, a visual kanban system designed for creative and knowledge workers. In this interview, we discuss the product and its many uses and how it embodies the principles of Lean.|
|Chris Hefley is the CEO of LeanKit, a company that provides Virtual Kanban software for software development teams and knowledge workers. Reah his interview and learn what led to the development of LeanKit and the role Lean and the Toyota Production System plays.|
|In this interview with Dan Markovitz, we learn why he believes that everything is connected to the customer through the office. Based on this belief, he feels that Lean for Office makes the most sense. Read and learn how he's implemented Lean for the Office.|
|Jason Yip is a noted thoughtleader in software engineering. As a consultant, he helps software engineering organizations get better. In this interview, we learn the state of software engineering and the role of Agile, Lean for Software and Kanban.|
|Matthew May is an author and influential voice in Lean and also Design Thinking. He worked close to a decade at University of Toyota to help codify the Toyota Production System. In this interview, he shares with us his thoughts on his experience and what we can learn from it.|
|Lean Healthcare expert Mark Graban stops by and share his thoughts with Shmula readers on how Lean can be applied to arguably the most important industry in the world, healthcare.|
|Art Smalley is one of the most honest and influential voices in Lean. He was the first American to work in Japan's Kamigo plant, the plant where Taiichi Ohno began the Toyota Production System. He shares with us his thoughts on the Lean Movement and where it is going wrong.|
|Lean is being applied to every facet of business. Jeff Gothelf shares with us his thoughts on applying Lean for user experience, or Lean UX.|
|Cecil Dijoux shares with us his thoughts on applying Lean to IT, definitely a must-read if you are in the information technology space.|
|Brent Wahba is a fellow at the Lean Enterprise Institute and shares with us his thoughts on Lean for Sales and Marketing.|
Interview with Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
|In December 2008, I was fortunate enough to interview Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. In a 5 part series of interviews, we discuss the Zappos strategy and Tony answers questions on why he chooses to focus on the customer and how he sees that as strategic.|
Interviews with Customer Experience Experts
|Mark Roenigk, COO of Rackspace and Board Member at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation||Rackspace Interview on Customer Experience: We interviewed Mark Roenigk on June 10, 2013. We discussed the Net Promoter Score and also topics around process improvement and how Rackspace places the customer first.|
|Shep Hyken Customer Service Interview: We interviewed Shep Hyken on June 3, 2013 and discussed topics close to his heart - the customer. We focused our discussion on customer service and how focusing on the customer is strategic, not just tactical.|
|Annette Franz Gleneicki on Customer Experience Strategy: Annette Gleneicki is a customer experience thought leader and Director at Confirmit, a voice of the customer platform. We discuss her thoughts on customer experience and the direction of the overall field.|
|Michel Falcon on Improving the Customer Experience: Michel Falcon is a former executive at 1800GOTJUNK and was the person who propelled 1800GOTJUNK to become a customer service powerhouse. In this interview, we discuss what he did and the lessons he learned.|
|Adam Ramshaw, a customer experience consultant with Genroe, explains the relationship between continuous improvement and customer experience.|
Aza Raskin, Author, Startup Founder, and Son of Mac Inventor Jef Raskin
|This is a multi-part Interview with Aza Raskin, on the Humane Interface.
Mary Poppendieck, Author and codifier of Lean for Software Engineering
|In this multi-part interview with Mary Poppendieck, the pre-eminent evangelist and teacher for Lean for Software, explains Lean Software Engineering.
|The inventor of Clocky, Gauri Nanda, shares with us her thoughts on innovation and the birth of Clocky|
Gretchen Rubin, Author and evangelist of Happiness
|In March 2010, I held a 2 part series of interview with Gretchen Rubin, the author of the Happiness Project. Her answers to reader's questions on a variety of topics centering on happiness will enlighten you. Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, shares with us here thoughts on how to be happy and what our part is in choosing to be happy.|
|Spencer Rascoff, the CEO of Zillow, shares with us his thoughts on this interview with Zillow back in June 2006.|
|Josh Coates, the founder of Mozy, shares with us jokes and the innovation behind Mozy.|
|Lloyd Hildebrand describes Diabetic Retinopathy and how his company, Inoveon, a Telemedicine Company, aims to eradicate diabetic retinopathy.|
|Ryan Kiskis of xFire, the developer of World of Warcraft, explains his thoughts on innovation.|
|Kaboodle, was clearly the predecessor to Pinterest. We learn about Kaboodle and the innovation behind it.|
|Mark Jen, VP of Product Management at Plaxo, a Contact management company, the predecessor to Linkedin speaks to us about innovation and the business of business networking.|
|Bzzagent, the word of mouth marketing company, explains the power of the buzz.|