Hello World–I just finished reading a great book called “Delivering Happines” by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. I highly recommend this book to everyone no matter what stage your company is currently in. In the book Tony talks about building Zappos and the trials, tribulations and joys of entrepreneurship.
What really struck me about the book is that Tony talks about the importance of company culture and the impact it has on the happiness levels of customers and employees alike. More importantly, he discusses building a “values-based” company. What this means is that the company’s core values permeate every aspect of the organization from hiring to firing to choosing the type of investor you want involved with your company. As Tony discusses, values are put before short term profits. In other words, if a situation does not fit into the company’s core values it is not pursued, no matter what the short term profits might be. As you can imagine, this can create conflict with your investors. As Tony noted in the book, this is exactly what happenned with Sequoia Capital. Fortunately for Zappos, Amazon came along and became their partner. A happpy ending.
Realistically, for those of us just starting out, building a values based company can be challenging. I do think, however, that in the long term, this approach makes the most sense. I also think that you don’t neccessarily have to sacrifice profit for values. You just need to be patient and persistant in order to find the opportunities that fit with your core values. If something or someone does not fit with your core values than chances are that the situation/relationship was not destined for the long term to begin with.
So, I have begun to brainstorm on the type of company npersona will be. What type of culture will develop? What type of people will best fit? What qualities will they have? How will we treat our partners? Who will they be? How can npersona become one of the most customer-centric companies out there? It is exciting to have the opportunity to build something so unique…
At the end, Tony says that he wrote the book in hopes of having an impact on businesses and entrepreneurs–well, at least from my perspective—mission accomplished Mr. Hsieh.