The Art of Doing Business – The Zappos Way

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Several years ago (it was maybe 2005?) I was doing a little pre-shopping research over the Internet. My old basketball shoes were already worn out and before purchasing new pair of kicks, I wanted to know what were the recent releases and what cool sneakers were available on the market. I ended up on the great source of reviews – Kicksology.net – site run by Professor K (who I just found out was 37signals co-founder). I also found a website, which did not have too many basketball shoes nor too many famous brands, but which still got my attention with the amazing shoe presentation, thorough description and lots of reviews. That website was Zappos.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Even though I liked that store, I did not make any orders at that time. They did not have the shoes I wanted and they did not ship any items to Europe anyway (and I think they still don’t). But I remembered the website address and kept coming back every once in a while just to see how their service evolved (and later, while visiting the US for a summer vacation, I even managed to do some shopping there).

A few months ago the company which has grown over time to the position of #1 shoe seller in the Internet was involved in $1.2 billion transaction with Amazon. The spin off of that success was a book released last month – “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” – written by Zappos’ CEO – Tony Hsieh.

I finished it about a week ago and the thing I still remember the most is the fact, that Tony kept trying to build profitable businesses through his entire life. Starting as a little boy with worms farm, through selling buttons, magazines or pizza, and ending up on Internet advertisement and shoes – he experienced many ups and downs, spent all the money he previously earned, but just learned own mistakes and kept trying. And it wasn’t only his attitude of making people happy that helped him succeed, but also his ambition and ability to take risk played important parts.

It’s not strictly the business book – it focuses more on creating trustful releationships, making friends and causing positive emotions among employees, business partners, suppliers and customers. It may surprise you (well, isn’t giving away $2000 to any new person in the company, so she/he quits her job surprising?!), it may make you laugh and it may give you some clues or tips for your life and business, but…

… this book will not give you the ready recipe for success and it will not tell you how to become a rich man in 10 years. It may just give you an insight on how the business can be run, so the group of individuals who are working hard on common goals will become a real team, “the tribe” – very motivated, focused and enjoying their work. A guide to how to improve daily. And how to spread happiness.

This book just tells a story of a man, who lives his life with own rules and without a plan for a few years ahead. Story, how spreading happiness in the personal and the professional life can come back later to you and positively influence your business- in most cases- multiplied.

Well, it looks like I just actually did spread the good word about Tony and his book here ;)

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