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Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, believes the key to maintaining a positive company culture in the workplace is to inspire your employees to be happy. To define what this looks like, Hsieh has divided Happiness into four motivating factors.
- Perceived Control- Although control may be somewhat of an illusion, the perception of control can make you function better in life. People who 'feel' in control are more confident, calm and effective. When you believe you can make your life better, you will attract positive experiences to confirm that belief.
- Perceived Progress- People perform better in life and work when they are acknowledged and validated. Zappos used to award promotions every 18 months until they realized that giving employees smaller promotions every 6 months gave them a sense of ongoing success and made them more productive.
- Connectedness- Humans have the innate need to connect. We feel more secure and more supported when we are part of a community that shares the same values and purpose. Creating a team environment is essential to make employees feel that they belong in this company and can trust the people they are working with.
- Meaning/Higher Purpose- Nothing makes people feel more valuable than being part of something that matters. Enlisting employees into the company's greater vision and allowing then to make a difference will inspire them to reach their potential. Because at the end of the day, happiness comes from contributing yourself to something that is greater than yourself.
Zappos is about delivering happiness and that's what has made them so successful. Happy employees equal happy customers. So motivate your employees by
inspiring them to be better humans and follow your example as a happy
person who cares about his team at a core level. This way the boss becomes a
mentor, and a job becomes a calling, and a customer becomes loyal.
Zappos is about delivering happiness and that's what has made them so successful. Happy employees equal happy customers. So motivate your employees by inspiring them to be better humans and follow your example as a happy person who cares about his team at a core level. This way the boss becomes a mentor, and a job becomes a calling, and a customer becomes loyal.
People are actually pleased to work there and believe in what they're doing. For a company that just sells apparel, this is quite an accomplishment. Hsieh doesn't do this by incentivizing his employees to act caring to customers. He does it by making people happier; by making Zappos a place where people feel inspired to do good. Which is why Hsieh's biggest priority in running a successful startup is Company Culture.
Everything at Zappos is built on the foundation of its core values around company culture. Employees are hired and fired by whether or not they are a culture fit. Instead of funding a marketing department, Hsieh makes Zappos a place that fosters positivity, meaning and purpose in his employees lives, which customers will naturally be drawn to and talk about. And any good business person knows that viral marketing is the most effective way to increase sales. Hsieh believes in the ripple effect that if employees are happy, customers will be happy, and if customers are happy, your business will profit, and much more than companies where employees just see it as a job.
Creating a company culture based on principles of
happiness will organically attract all the things a startup wants: excellent
customer service, branding, viral marketing and ultimately revenues. Zappos
believes in this so deeply that they've created a company culture book and
follow it religiously. And obviously it's working; Zappos was acquired by
Amazon for $1.2 billon in November of this year.
Creating a company culture based on principles of happiness will organically attract all the things a startup wants: excellent customer service, branding, viral marketing and ultimately revenues. Zappos believes in this so deeply that they've created a company culture book and follow it religiously. And obviously it's working; Zappos was acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billon in November of this year.
Stay Tuned for the Next Post On "The Frameworks of Happiness"
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 5 years, you're aware that Facebook is one of the most successful startups Silicon Valley and they have one of the most active developer communities using their platform-- as seen by the number of apps and their heavily attended F8 conference.
In the summer of 2008, Facebook began awarding seed rounds of $25-100K and mentorship to promising developers on the Facebook platform under the name fbFund, a joint venture with Accel Partners and The Founder's Fund. This summer, fbFund announced that for this third round, it would be bringing all the companies to work together for 12 weeks at the former Facebook offices in downtown Palo Alto.
On Tuesday's demo day, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg explained, "We brought people together "IRL" (In Real Life)...so people could really work together and Innovate."
The idea of bringing stellar seedling companies together to work from the same place is no new concept. It's one that has brought Paul Graham and Jessica Livingston of Y-Combinator much success and many top investors are latching on, seeing this as an opportunity to get in early on new innovations. fbFund REV's top dog, Dave McClure mentioned in his opening remarks that he even stole as much from these previous successes (like Y-Combinator and Boulder/Boston based TechStars) that he could get away with.
Because it "takes a village" to build a company, much of the success of fbFund comes from their relationships with mentors who help to select and make investments as well as work directly with these companies by building up their teams and advising on product. They featured talks from experts like BJ Fogg, Eric Ries and Tim Ferris
In addition to mentoring the companies, fbFund also kept to the social incubator environment by drawing on many of Stanford University's Institute of Design practices where everyone worked in an open space and collaborated on the same whiteboards. It provided an interruptive environment serving to get people out of their comfort zone while fostering communication and collaboration.
So what is REV? REV first and foremost stands for revolution, the social revolution that the Facebook platform has started, allowing developers to utilize and individuals "social graph" in ways most people could have never imagined. But REV is more than just that- it stands for REVise. Forcing companies to make constant iterations on their products. To get a minimum viable product out the door and then look at metrics to make decisions based on numbers and A/B testing. REV stands for REV the Engine and go faster! As McClure said, "If you don't feel like you're out of control, you're not going fast enough." Companies aren't built in years anymore, they're built in weeks or months. You've got to act fast and get to market to succeed in this landscape. And finally, REV stands for REVenue. fbFund is happy to boast that of the companies involved this summer, 5 of them are currently profitable or breaking even with another 3 expecting to by end of year. Profitable companies even wore special "REVenue is Sexy" t-shirts for the event.
I first want to say that having seen the companies grow over the entire 12 weeks, and watched these presentations several times, that ALL of the companies had phenomenal improvement on not only their products, but in their ability to clearly communicate their products to potential investors. So everyone deserves a huge BRAVO!!!!
Now, I get a chance to be a tiny bit biased. Instead of an overview of each and every company, I decided to keep it to my top 5.
1. Zimride- Finally a company that is solving the carpooling mess at universities AND making money! Website is simple and easy to use and it saves money and the environment by solving a real problem in the real world. Plus, they've forged a partnership with car-sharing company Zipcar.
When I first saw the presentation for Groupcard, I thought it was cool enough, but didn't really stand out enough to make it long term. It's a cute idea, people can pass around a virtual card online and even print it out if they want. They were making money, great. They had lots of users, awesome. It just didn't have the staying power. Then, they announced that over the course of this incubator, their company had taken a new direction and had a new focus. Interactive gifts. They have built a platform that allows business to issue codes to send money to consumers using PayPal. This changes the world of social marketing, business gifting and rebates.
3. Runmyerrand- I enjoy Runmyerrand because it solves a problem that we experience in the real world, which is "when am I going to find the time to do ____?" Runmyerrand is great for metropolitan areas where sometimes its just not convenient to walk a bag of clothes to the donation center 11 blocks away. I'm excited for their expansion to other cities. Also awesome to have another Zipcar connection, Runmyerrand was incubated out of the Zipcar headquarters in Boston.
4. Samasource- OK, so Samasource is a non-profit, but I was so moved by the impact that they are able to have on the people they train and put to work, I had to include them. Samasource connects people living in poverty to computer based micro tasks. Not only do they find companies willing to outsource their QA or computer based tasks, but they have also facilitated training and set up tech centers where the work can be completed. Their slogan "Give work, not aid" really stood out as an amazing innovation and a great way for those of us here in Silicon Valley to help. Please be sure to check out the website and maybe even make a donation!
5. Thread (FKA Frintro)- So I'm not currently on the market, but if I was, I'd probably use Thread. They're right about dating sites being less than desirable and the best people to date are always friends of friends. What a great way to take what people are ALREADY doing on Facebook and find a way to build an app around it.
If you are an entrepreneur interested in becoming a future Co-Founder or early startup employee, be sure to contact techVenture and become a part of our Co-Founders Network.
During the Internet boom about 10 years ago, when all kinds of web sites and products were created daily, the story went something like this: "Silicon Valley will lose its hold as the hub of technology innovation because products and teams are now virtually working together leveraging the huge new marketplace called the WWW. You can do anything via the web including selling anything anyone wants and delivering it to where they want it..." Then, as we all know, the bubble burst and reality set in. The story changed to something like, "Not so fast".
Despite the painful-for-many "dot com crash", less than 3 years later, Silicon Valley emerged strong again, touting web 2.0 and all the cool new ways we may use the internet to communicate, socialize and make life easier. Personal and professional blogs spread wild and fast, giving birth to all types of social and business networks.
Then came the financial and credit market bubble that had a much larger blast radius when it burst in September of '08, than did the "dot com crash". This bubble was not only larger, it was also inflated by brick and mortar. When it burst, the blast caused bigger and more serious damage and injury than before.
Now, as the dust might be settling a bit, we still have only a limited vision of the future of the economy. How long will the downturn last and what will really come next? Who really knows?
Here in Silicon Valley, we're feeling the pain of failed and weakened financial markets rippling through every other business. Many of us have witnessed, if not participated in, evolving ideas and plans drawn on a napkin, to the creation of life changing products that grew into multi-billion dollar industries in few short years. We are inventors, problem solvers and creators of things that delight, please, amuse and make other things work better. So, how and where do we ease or eliminate the pain and find the opportunities? The answer is almost everywhere - banking, healthcare, environment, transportation, infrastructure, energy, etc.
In the past few months I have seen a huge entrepreneurial rush to find solutions, fix problems and build smoother and better wheels on which to run the economy. I don't know where is it coming from, but I'm guessing repeating the "Yes We Can" mantra in the back of our heads is a huge influence.
I believe that we now have tremendous growth opportunities; success is to be had for the taking. Maybe we're at this stage because we have acknowledged that we're in a deep hole and can't keep pretending all is well and good. Maybe it is because we now see that yesterday's economic mechanisms and ways of thinking are bad foundations. The first step to solve a problem is to acknowledge it and then define it. We are now here at this first couple of steps and we have a lot to do. The voice in my head says, "Whatever must be done, it is worth it."
There are ground floor opportunities to create solutions, eliminate pain points and innovate new services to improve lives etc. In many ways, largely because of the Internet, these solutions don't cost the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars once needed to build a company. I see a lot of funds and fund managers creating new businesses themselves under different titles - angel investors, seed VCs, even Facebook Fund and Google Fund, and many special incubators, and countless others with specific focus on financing the very early-stage ventures.
Whatever the names, they are basically driven by cash heavy individuals who are motivated by great ideas and by entrepreneurs with big dreams and bold visions. More often than not, the investors are investing purely in the passionate persons who are crazy enough to think they want to change the world, because here, they can.
If you're one of those people, please join us.