Category Archives: Business

A Free Business Lesson in 42 Pages

How often does the opportunity come along to learn so much with such little effort?

If I told you that you could gain years of insight and more importantly incredible ideas by reading 42 pages of text – just an hour or so of reading?

Well, what if someone much more successful in the realm of business than I said these 42 pages where the best of Warren Buffett’s career? Don’t take my word on this.

image Bill Gates noted on his blog that of Warren’s 50 annual letters, this year’s is Warren’s best ever. I thought to myself that if Bill spent time to read all 50 and then said this was the best of them all, I’d spend a little time to see what the fuss was all about.

In 42 pages of reading you will get insight into Buffett’s system that has produced one of America’s best business success stories.

If you are so inclined, the 42 pages will also cause you to have more questions that you’ll have to go get answers to, which is a big bonus in itself.

image Take the time to read these 42 pages and really understand the numbers. The thing I find really interesting is that if you look beyond the economic results of Berkshire Hathaway (investor return), how much positive impact has Berkshire Hathaway and Warren’s management system had on the employees and companies that BH/Buffet have influenced?

No one is perfect. However, I believe Buffet’s tenure shows us that a business can be directed by values that when put into practice can create wealth and stability that extend to a great many people and for a great period of time.

Here’s the link to the 42 page letter – http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2014ltr.pdf

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Creating Something Great, Becoming Great

There have been so many human beings who have become legendary, immortal by their deeds. Think of that for a moment.

We all CAN BE a great human being without doing great deeds if only we love each other and treat one another with dignity and respect. But, for a select few, they additionally become legendary and immortal by their deeds.

In my life I try to be a better human being by sharing my love and treating others with dignity and respect.

Bill Gates posted an interesting thought about Thomas Edison, who Bill describes as America’s Greatest Inventor – America’s Greatest Inventor.

What I found appealing about his writing is that Bill Gates, himself a successful business man and philanthropist, feels what pushes humans to greatness is the application of "creativity, perseverance, and optimism."

No matter if you are an inventor, business person, sales person, home-maker or artist – CREATE, PERSEVER and MAINTAIN OPTIMISM!

Good words for a Friday to take you into the weekend.

Herschel

From The Gatesnotes – www.thegatesnotes.com

America’s Greatest Inventor
October 08, 2013
By Bill Gates

I love learning about history, especially the history of innovation. I recently got to write the foreword for Edison and the Rise of Innovation, a new book about one of the great inventors ever. I thought I would share the foreword with you, along with a few photos of some of the Edison-related items I’m lucky enough to own.

Foreword

There’s no question in my mind that one of America’s greatest gifts to the world is our capacity for innovation. From light bulbs and telephones to vaccines and microprocessors, our inventions and ideas have improved the lives—and even saved the lives—of countless people around the globe.

In the pantheon of American innovation, Thomas Edison holds a unique place. He became a symbol of American ingenuity and the conviction that inspiration and perspiration could lead to remarkable things.

In this 1885 sketch, Edison notes some ideas for improving the incandescent light bulb.

He certainly has been an inspiration to me in my career. I’m lucky enough to own a few pieces of Edison memorabilia, including his sketch of an idea for improving the incandescent light bulb and some papers on finding a substitute for rubber. Looking at this work, it’s easy to see a creative mind continually trying to refine and improve his ideas.

Obviously, Edison’s inventions were revolutionary. But as this book makes clear, the way he worked was also crucial for his success. For example, Edison consciously built on ideas from predecessors as well as contemporaries. And just as important, he assembled a team of people—engineers, chemists, mathematicians, and machinists—that he trusted and empowered to carry out his ideas. Names like Batchelor and Kruesi may not be famous today, but without their contributions, Edison might not be either.

Second, Edison was a very practical person. He learned early on that it wasn’t enough to simply come up with great ideas in a vacuum; he had to invent things that people wanted. That meant understanding the market, designing products that met his customers’ needs, convincing his investors to support his ideas, and then promoting them. Edison didn’t invent the light bulb; he invented the light bulb that worked, and the one that sold.

Finally, Edison recognized that inventions rarely come in a single flash of inspiration. You set a goal, measure progress using data, see what’s working—and what isn’t working—adjust your plan, and try again. This process can be very frustrating because it means running into a lot of dead ends. But each dead end tells you something useful. As Edison famously said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”

These lessons are just as true today as they were in Edison’s time. Innovators still have to work in teams. (Although that’s far easier to do today than at the turn of the twentieth century. Imagine what the Wizard of New Jersey’s Menlo Park could have done with the tools coming out of California’s Menlo Park.) Innovators still have to understand and solve real-world problems, and they still have to persevere for the long haul. Scientists run trial after trial to perfect a new vaccine. Co-workers at software companies debug each other’s code.

While we’ve seen amazing advances in science and technology since Edison’s day, these things have not changed. Thomas Edison remains a powerful exemplar of creativity, perseverance, and optimism. Even more than light bulbs and movie cameras, that may be his greatest legacy.

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The Best of Steve Jobs

I don’t know the man personally, I hear he was a very driven, hard ass, early on in his career. Maybe that’s what it took to be a leader of a technological revolution. Leaders sometimes have to pull their people into the future kicking and screaming.

Then Jobs was excommunicated from the company he co-founded by a board of directors who choose to live in the past and use tactics and strategies from the old school religion of corporate governance. Apple languished, Jobs moved on and found a new path of discovery – he never lost sight of the future, of innovation, of THE CUSTOMER.

And then Jobs was resurrected to bring back Apple from the depths of being a historical footnote.

And I’m sure you know the rest of the story – iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad and the iUniverse!

I found a video on Youtube that I thought was so interesting. You don’t need to be a technical guru to understand the conversation.

Jobs was speaking at what appears to be a technical meeting and he fielded a question from the audience. The questioner insulted Jobs, telling Jobs that he didn’t know what he was talking about in relation to the technical discussion at hand.

This is the new Jobs you see responding here. The reinvented Jobs, who is clear with his vision and who seems humble with his response.

Go watch the video and come back for my thoughts…

The number one thing to take from Jobs’ response is that any vision for a product starts with "what incredible benefits can we give the customer."

He understood that technology means nothing if people can’t use it or understand it. And he was thinking on a scale of selling 8-10 billion dollars in products.

The second, but equally important thing to take from Jobs is that leadership and innovation will result in "some mistakes [being made] along the way. That’s good! Cause at least decisions will be made along the way."

Don’t be afraid to act! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Don’t be afraid to innovate!

And always keep your vision centered around THE CUSTOMER.

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How Do You Change the World?

So many great people have walked the Earth. So many great people are still walking that same Earth right now. I suspect that if humanity continues to be blessed, there will be scores of great people to walk the Earth in the future!

From the perspective of a single human being, it is often asked How can one person change the world?

I think at the core of this question are two simple answers: A human can change the World by one act of kindness at a time or, conversely, by one act of evil at a time.

I choose kindness!

In December of 2009 I read about Kiva (www.Kiva.org). Kiva is a microfinance facilitator that works with microfinance organizations around the world to connect lenders to poor borrowers and the borrowers get the loans with no finance charges. I decided that I could start with fifty dollars and help people borrow money so they could make a better life for themselves and their families!

Since December of 2009, by adding $ 25.00 dollars at a time I now have a bankroll of $ 1000.00 dollars in my Kiva account. As borrowers pay back their loans, I re-loan the money back out.  The $ 1000.00 dollars has actually been lent out for a total of $ 3,275.00 dollars to 104 borrowers.

When I first started with Kiva I had no goal. I just thought the idea of helping people help themselves was a good start. Now, as I think and write about my experience, I think my goal is to keep loaning $ 25.00 at a time, one act of kindness at a time.

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An Example of Change – For a Business

In the cell phone business, Nokia was a powerhouse. However, recently the company has lost a lot market share and is struggling to regain its past glory. Nokia brought in a new CEO and recently he issued an internal letter that got leaked to the world.

It’s an interesting letter that I reproduce here to serve as an excellent example on how, as a group, a business must see the need to change and to keep moving forward and not rest on past success.

I also liked the letter because it demonstrates that a true leader is not afraid to speak honestly and in terms everyone understands.

Hello there,
There is a pertinent story about a man who was working on an oil platform in the North Sea. He woke up one night from a loud explosion, which suddenly set his entire oil platform on fire. In mere moments, he was surrounded by flames. Through the smoke and heat, he barely made his way out of the chaos to the platform’s edge. When he looked down over the edge, all he could see were the dark, cold, foreboding Atlantic waters.

As the fire approached him, the man had mere seconds to react. He could stand on the platform, and inevitably be consumed by the burning flames. Or, he could plunge 30 meters in to the freezing waters. The man was standing upon a “burning platform,” and he needed to make a choice.

He decided to jump. It was unexpected. In ordinary circumstances, the man would never consider plunging into icy waters. But these were not ordinary times – his platform was on fire. The man survived the fall and the waters. After he was rescued, he noted that a “burning platform” caused a radical change in his behaviour.
We too, are standing on a “burning platform,” and we must decide how we are going to change our behaviour.

Over the past few months, I’ve shared with you what I’ve heard from our shareholders, operators, developers, suppliers and from you. Today, I’m going to share what I’ve learned and what I have come to believe.

I have learned that we are standing on a burning platform.

And, we have more than one explosion – we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us.

For example, there is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected. Apple disrupted the market by redefining the smartphone and attracting developers to a closed, but very powerful ecosystem.

In 2008, Apple’s market share in the $300+ price range was 25 percent; by 2010 it escalated to 61 percent. They are enjoying a tremendous growth trajectory with a 78 percent earnings growth year over year in Q4 2010. Apple demonstrated that if designed well, consumers would buy a high-priced phone with a great experience and developers would build applications. They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range.

And then, there is Android. In about two years, Android created a platform that attracts application developers, service providers and hardware manufacturers. Android came in at the high-end, they are now winning the mid-range, and quickly they are going downstream to phones under €100. Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry’s innovation to its core.

Let’s not forget about the low-end price range. In 2008, MediaTek supplied complete reference designs for phone chipsets, which enabled manufacturers in the Shenzhen region of China to produce phones at an unbelievable pace. By some accounts, this ecosystem now produces more than one third of the phones sold globally – taking share from us in emerging markets.

While competitors poured flames on our market share, what happened at Nokia? We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time. At that time, we thought we were making the right decisions; but, with the benefit of hindsight, we now find ourselves years behind.

The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don’t have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.

We have some brilliant sources of innovation inside Nokia, but we are not bringing it to market fast enough. We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market.

At the midrange, we have Symbian. It has proven to be non-competitive in leading markets like North America. Additionally, Symbian is proving to be an increasingly difficult environment in which to develop to meet the continuously expanding consumer requirements, leading to slowness in product development and also creating a disadvantage when we seek to take advantage of new hardware platforms. As a result, if we continue like before, we will get further and further behind, while our competitors advance further and further ahead.

At the lower-end price range, Chinese OEMs are cranking out a device much faster than, as one Nokia employee said only partially in jest, “the time that it takes us to polish a PowerPoint presentation.” They are fast, they are cheap, and they are challenging us.
And the truly perplexing aspect is that we’re not even fighting with the right weapons. We are still too often trying to approach each price range on a device-to-device basis.

The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things. Our competitors aren’t taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we’re going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem.

This is one of the decisions we need to make. In the meantime, we’ve lost market share, we’ve lost mind share and we’ve lost time.

On Tuesday, Standard & Poor’s informed that they will put our A long term and A-1 short term ratings on negative credit watch. This is a similar rating action to the one that Moody’s took last week. Basically it means that during the next few weeks they will make an analysis of Nokia, and decide on a possible credit rating downgrade. Why are these credit agencies contemplating these changes? Because they are concerned about our competitiveness.
Consumer preference for Nokia declined worldwide. In the UK, our brand preference has slipped to 20 percent, which is 8 percent lower than last year. That means only 1 out of 5 people in the UK prefer Nokia to other brands. It’s also down in the other markets, which are traditionally our strongholds: Russia, Germany, Indonesia, UAE, and on and on and on.

How did we get to this point? Why did we fall behind when the world around us evolved?

This is what I have been trying to understand. I believe at least some of it has been due to our attitude inside Nokia. We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven’t been delivering innovation fast enough. We’re not collaborating internally.

Nokia, our platform is burning.

We are working on a path forward — a path to rebuild our market leadership. When we share the new strategy on February 11, it will be a huge effort to transform our company. But, I believe that together, we can face the challenges ahead of us. Together, we can choose to define our future.

The burning platform, upon which the man found himself, caused the man to shift his behaviour, and take a bold and brave step into an uncertain future. He was able to tell his story. Now, we have a great opportunity to do the same.

Stephen.

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Make a Stand and Make a Difference MASMAD

While working today I made a decision.
I work in a sizeable organization where interpersonal relationships are hard to develop. Where people shovel corporate shit to the next person like it’s candy. I guess it is easy to shovel something you hate to someone you don’t know!

But we don’t have to shovel that shit which was shoveled to us! Just as “The Buck Stops Here” for Truman, the Shit Stops Here for me.

I have decided that I will Make a Stand and Make a Difference everyday. I’m going to try hard as I can not to pass along crap to the next person in line, rather it be at my job, at home, with my friends or with strangers I pass by.

MASMAD is the new, cool word!

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Creating A Thriving Corporate Culture

I’ve worked for various types of companies over the course of my 29 year work history. From a 14 year old working at a health club to a Senior Systems Architect for a Fortune 50 company I’ve seen a lot of business cultures.

Over the past few years I’ve been reading a lot about building successful businesses. One of the most important components of a great business is the “working culture and environment”. As businesses mature from a start-up to a large Fortune 500 size company, the culture has and inevitably changes. It seems that in most cases the culture shifts from a “personable, family, you know all your co-workers” culture to a “cold, corporate, benign, isolating” culture, void of all personable traits.

But, I don’t think it has to change into a cold culture.

I think there are examples of how it can stay fresh and vibrant, but it takes a lot of work from the top-down. Executives must not be lazy. From the CEO down, the culture must be created and fostered and managed.

Here’s a re-publish article from Inc article where Tony Hsieh describes how he created a unique corporate culture at his startup Zappos. He details how he struggled to keep the culture alive and thriving even after selling the company to Amazon.

Here’s the link to the Inc website article for your reference – http://www.inc.com/magazine/20100601/why-i-sold-zappos.html

Why I Sold Zappos

Tony Hsieh built his online shoe retailer into an e-commerce powerhouse. But with credit tightening and investors eyeing the exits, Hsieh was forced to ask: Was selling Zappos really the only way to save it?

By Tony Hsieh |  Jun 1, 2010

The first time Amazon.com tried to buyZappos, we said no without even thinking.

It was the summer of 2005, and Zappos, the start-up into which I’d poured the past five years of my life (and almost all of my money), finally seemed to be on the right track.

Zappos sells shoes and apparel online, but what distinguished us from our competitors was that we’d put our company culture above all else. We’d bet that by being good to our employees — for instance, by paying for 100 percent of health care premiums, spending heavily on personal development, and giving customer service reps more freedom than at a typical call center — we would be able to offer better service than our competitors. Better service would translate into lots of repeat customers, which would mean low marketing expenses, long-term profits, and fast growth. Amazingly, it all seemed to be working. By 2005, gross merchandise sales were $370 million, and we made the Inc. 500. We weren’t profitable yet, but we were close to breaking even, and our revenue was growing quickly.

At the time, we made almost all our money selling shoes, but our hope was that we’d eventually go into all sorts of other businesses. We saw Zappos as a global brand like Virgin — except whereas Virgin was about being hip and cool, Zappos would be about offering the best service. The plan was to grow sales to $1 billion by 2010 and eventually go public.

These ideas about the power of our company culture had yet to be proved. As I talked to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who visited our headquarters in 2005, I realized that to Amazon, we were just a leading shoe company. If we sold, we’d probably be folded into their operations, and our brand and culture would be at risk of disappearing.

That was why we told Jeff that we weren’t interested in selling at any price. I felt like we were just getting started.

Four years later, Amazon came calling again — and again my impulse was to say no. Our sales had grown steadily since 2005; by 2008 we were doing more than $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually — two years ahead of our original plan. We were now profitable, and our culture was even stronger. As before, our plan was to stay independent and eventually go public.

But our board of directors had other ideas. Although I’d financed much of Zappos myself during its early days, we’d eventually raised tens of millions of dollars from outside investors, including $48 million from Sequoia Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. As with all VCs, Sequoia expected a substantial return on its investment — most likely through an IPO. It might have been happy to wait a few more years if the economy had been thriving, but the recession and the credit crisis had put Zappos — and our investors — in a very precarious position.

At the time, Zappos relied on a revolving line of credit of $100 million to buy inventory. But our lending agreements required us to hit projected revenue and profitability targets each month. If we missed our numbers even by a small amount, the banks had the right to walk away from the loans, creating a possible cash-flow crisis that might theoretically bankrupt us. In early 2009, there weren’t a lot of banks eager to give out $100 million to a business in our situation.

That wasn’t our only potential cash-flow problem. Our line of credit was "asset backed," meaning that we could borrow between 50 percent and 60 percent of the value of our inventory. But the value of our inventory wasn’t based on what we’d paid. It was based on the amount of money we could reasonably collect if the company were liquidated. As the economy deteriorated, the appraised value of our inventory began to fall, which meant that even if we hit our numbers, we might eventually find ourselves without enough cash to buy inventory.

These issues had nothing to do with the underlying performance of our business, but they increased tensions on our board of directors. Some board members had always viewed our company culture as a pet project — "Tony’s social experiments," they called it. I disagreed. I believe that getting the culture right is the most important thing a company can do. But the board took the conventional view — namely, that a business should focus on profitability first and then use the profits to do nice things for its employees. The board’s attitude was that my "social experiments" might make for good PR but that they didn’t move the overall business forward. The board wanted me, or whoever was CEO, to spend less time on worrying about employee happiness and more time selling shoes.

On some level, I was sympathetic to the board’s position. The truth was that if we pulled back on the culture stuff, the immediate effect on our financials would probably have been positive. It would have reduced our expenses in the short term, and I don’t think our sales would have suffered much at first. But I was pretty sure that in the long term, it would have ruined everything we had created.

By early 2009, we were at a stalemate. Because of a complicated legal structure, I effectively controlled the majority of the common shares, so that the board couldn’t force a sale of the company. But on the five-person board, only two of us — Alfred Lin, our CFO and COO, and myself — were completely committed to Zappos’s culture. This made it likely that if the economy didn’t improve, the board would fire me and hire a new CEO who was concerned only with maximizing profits. The threat was never made overtly, but I could tell that was the direction things were going.

It was a stressful time for me and Alfred. But we’d gotten through much tougher times before, and this seemed like just another challenge we needed to figure out. We began brainstorming ways that we could get out from under the board. We certainly didn’t want to sell the company and move on to something else. To us, Zappos wasn’t just a job — it was a calling. So we came up with a plan: We would buy out our board of directors.

We figured to do so would cost about $200 million. As we were talking to potential investors, Amazon approached Alfred about buying Zappos outright. Although that still didn’t seem like the best option to me, Alfred sensed that Amazon would be more open than last time to the idea of letting Zappos continue to operate as an independent entity. And we felt that the price Amazon was talking about was too large for us to ignore without potentially violating our fiduciary duty to our shareholders.

In April, I flew to Seattle for an hourlong meeting with Jeff Bezos. I gave him my standard presentation on Zappos, which is mostly about our culture. Toward the end of the presentation, I started talking about the science of happiness — and how we try to use it to serve our customers and employees better.

Out of nowhere, Jeff said, "Did you know that people are very bad at predicting what will make them happy?" Those were the exact words on my next slide. I put it up and said, "Yes, but apparently you are very good at predicting PowerPoint slides." After that moment, things got comfortable. It seemed clear that Amazon had come to appreciate our company culture as well as our strong sales.

Still, I had plenty of concerns. Jeff’s approach to business had been very different from my own. One of the ways that Amazon tries to deliver a great customer experience is by offering low prices, whereas at Zappos we don’t try to compete on price. If Amazon gets a lot of customer service calls, it will try to figure out why — maybe there’s something confusing about the product description — and then it will try to fix the problem so that it can reduce the number of phone calls, which keeps prices low. But at Zappos, we want people to call us. We believe that forming personal, emotional connections with our customers is the best way to provide great service.

But as I talked to Jeff, I realized that there were similarities between our companies, too. Amazon wants to do what is best for its customers — even, it seemed to me, at the expense of short-term financial performance. Zappos has the same goal. We just have a different philosophy about how to do it.

I left Seattle pretty sure that Amazon would be a better partner for Zappos than our current board of directors or any other outside investor. Our board wanted an immediate exit; we wanted to build an enduring company that would spread happiness. With Amazon, it seemed that Zappos could continue to build its culture, brand, and business. We would be free to be ourselves.

Negotiations with Amazon began shortly afterward. Amazon initially offered to buy Zappos in cash, but that didn’ t sit well with us. In our minds, a cash deal felt too much like we were selling the company outright, so we proposed an all-stock transaction. Zappos shareholders would simply trade their stock for Amazon stock. We saw the deal less as an acquisition than as a marriage. An all-stock deal would be analogous to a married couple opening a joint bank account.

In June, Jeff sent a formal proposal to buy Zappos in stock, which our board voted to accept on July 20. We persuaded Amazon to let us break the news to our managers. So at around noon on July 22, an hour and a half before the markets closed and the deal was publicly announced, I stood in front of about 50 of our most senior employees in our training room and explained what we were doing. It was a speech about the most important thing in my life, and all the nervousness that I used to feel when I first started speaking in public came back.

I spoke for half an hour and told them to explain to their staffs that nothing was going to change: They would still have their jobs, and the Zappos culture would still be our own. But now, we would be able to do new things more quickly.

At first, everyone in the room was anxious — some had assumed I was leaving the company; others didn’t know what to think — but as I spoke, I could see the relief come over people’s faces. They went back to their desks, gathered their staffs, and told them what was happening. Within a couple of hours, everyone had gone back to work. In the hallways, I overheard employees talking about how excited they were about having access to Amazon’s resources. Two days later, I gathered our Las Vegas team — roughly 700 employees at the time — in a conference center to address any additional questions. Party music filled the room, and employees threw beach balls around into the crowd. The energy was amazing. It felt like the beginning of the next leg of our journey.

The acquisition closed on November 1, at a valuation of $1.2 billion (based on Amazon’s stock price on the day of closing). Our investors at Sequoia made $248 million. Our board was replaced by a management committee that includes me, Jeff, two Amazon executives, and two Zappos executives. As CEO, I report to the committee every quarter, and Zappos is responsible for hitting revenue and profitability numbers. But unlike our former board of directors, our new management committee seems to understand the importance of our culture — the "social experiments" — to our long-term success. In fact, one Amazon distribution center recently began experimenting with its own version of Zappos’s policy of paying new employees $2,000 to quit if they’re unhappy with their jobs.

Otherwise, Zappos continues to operate independently. Our relationship is governed by a document that formally recognizes the uniqueness of Zappos’s culture and Amazon’s duty to protect it. We think of Amazon as a giant consulting company that we can hire if we want — for instance, if we need help redesigning our warehouse systems.

In the first quarter of 2010, net sales at Zappos were up almost 50 percent, and we’ve added several hundred new employees. The growth has made Amazon very happy, but it’s also creating new challenges. I’ve noticed that at company happy hours, you don’t see as many employees from different departments hanging out with one another.

To address that, we’ve begun tracking employee relationships. When employees log in to their computers, we ask them to look at a picture of a random employee and then ask them how well they know that person — the options include "say hi in the halls," "hang out outside of work," and "we’re going to be longtime friends." We’re starting to keep track of the number and strength of cross-departmental relationships — and we’re planning a class on the topic. My hope is that we can have more employees who plan to be close friends.

That’s just one small thing that we’re doing to make sure our culture gets stronger and that our employees are happy. We have close to 1,800 employees now, and I think we’re proof that a company doesn’t have to lose itself as it grows bigger — or even after it gets acquired.

This article is adapted from Hsieh‘s new book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose. Inc. senior writer Max Chafkin contributed additional reporting.

Herschel Note: After reading this article I went to Amazon and ordered the book – it should be an interesting read! Book Link: http://www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446563048/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276097792&sr=8-1

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