Zappos had their all hands meeting today in Las Vegas. The interesting twist to this quarterly meeting was that they streamed it live via UStream. The streaming broadcast of the meeting was an extension of their zapposinsights.com website. I received an invitation this morning, and fortunately, I had a little time available to check it out.
I logged into the stream around 3:00 CST to catch some quick updates from Tony Hsieh, Alfred Lin, and Fred Mossier. Amazon recently purchased Zappos for paltry $1 billion. Since that time, it seems a few executives have made the jump on to other things. After getting the opening notes out of the way, Alfred, Zappos’ CFO/COO, announced his departure. The date? January 2011. Tony had a great demeanor during the announcement and for the remainder of the session.
I logged off after the first hour, but a friend sent me some notes on the 2nd half of the meeting.
After Chip Conley, author of Peak, did his thing, the entire Zappos team broke into groups of 10-15 (everyone was given a playing card on entering the auditorium) and those groups then processed what Conley talked about and put together a list of the ideas that came out of his speech, and the debriefing afterwards. Those lists are then filtered up through leadership where each idea has a name put next to it. Everyone there must have their name next to at least one idea. Making sure that they get the most investment from the Conley speech and making sure everyone participates and everyone’s ideas get heard by someone.
Comparison to Dave Ramsey’s Organization
After working for Dave Ramsey since 2001, it’s very interesting for me to get an inside glimpse of another company that prides itself on their customer service. While you can’t get a comprehensive inside look in just 2 hours of streaming, I believe our company stacks up quite well. From the chatter, it appears Zappos does quarterly all hands meetings, while we do weekly staff meetings. Our business is quite different though in that we are comprise of several P&Ls, Departments, and Divisions accounting for more than 25 different business lines. The relative simplicity of Zappos’ business model lends itself to less frequent meetings and I’m sure they they probably have general communications that go out regularly to the entire team.
Dave also constantly reminds us about the importance of customer service and caring for the people we are helping. Its at the forefront of what we do everyday. Servant Leadership is key whether dealing with people inside or outside the organization.
These are just a couple of comparison points, but I noticed several that made me feel really good about working for Dave Ramsey and where our company is headed.