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Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit

June 29, 2013 2 Comments

Zappos Headquarters

Zappos Headquarters

The 7th core value at Zappos is about team building.  The social fabric of the Zappos team is strong and purposely flexible.  Diversity is encouraged; self expression is made mandatory; teams tackle problems in groups. The jolly team spirit is evident in the work environment at Zappos headquarters. I think it is closer to being the happiest place on earth than Disneyland is..but that is not saying much.  Family in the workplace means shared responsibility as well as camaraderie.

My specialty is teaching swimming.  In order to teach the skill an environment of trust must exist. This week I had the pleasure of teaching two young ladies who are friends.  They have a big age difference but get along well as friends.  The right atmosphere brings out the best in everyone.  The girls worked hard each day in lessons, and at the end of the week, they had their little doll family on the steps with them for a swimming lesson.  They had become the teachers, inspiring the dolls with their confidence.  This is how the positive team and family spirit works.  It is contagious, and uplifting for everyone. Cooperation and inspiration are natural partners in business.

Be Passionate and Determined

May 8, 2013 5 Comments

Ninth on the Zappos list of core values is a description of attitude. To be passionate and determined to please customers buying products is one thing, but this means passion to deliver happiness to all concerned.  I just read that the average American employee spends 24% of the time they are paid at work cruising the internet for personal reasons.  The sapping of energy and time that this represents also creates, I think, a big deficit in the happiness quotient. Both individual workers cheating the company out of work, and the ultimate customer experience for the client is cheapened when the employees are feeling cheated themselves.  Sticking to core values that uplift, support and reward the staff has to result in higher fun factors all around.

When I invented Floatli training systems I thought I wanted to teach people how to use them.  I have changed my mind.  Now I want to provide this naturally entertaining and useful aquatic equipment to everyone and let them do whatever they care to do.  I have abandoned the idea of teaching teachers, party because it would mean finding passionate and determined instructors to certify.  I want to present it like a hula hoop or a water gun, something any and everyone can use in the way they like.  The arm floatation units provide security for those as yet uncomfortable in deep water, and the full arm and leg combination is a challenging workout if used as such.  I am passionate and determined to convince Zappos to adopt Floatli as the official company sport.  That is how I picture everyone having the maximum amount of fun. Zappos markets better than anyone, and the product itself provides happiness to those who buy it.  I am determined to get an audition to demonstrate why Floatli and Zappos are an excellent match.  It soon will be hot and nothing will feel better than a romp in cool water.


April 3, 2013 9 Comments

Refinement of all the senses leads to a full and more interesting life. Leonardo da Vinci was a student of all phenomena. His seven guiding principals for living were at the heart of all his work. They are his core values, upon which his reputation rests.  By reading his notebooks and  studying his drawings we can see that his constant eagle eye was at work observing nature. Sensazione, or the development of all the senses, was a big reason Leonardo became as productive as he did.  He felt that by making notes and drawings of his sensual observations he grasped more of the meaning around him.  He used his notebooks to create, invent, and make beautiful art.

He gives advise on keeping a listener engaged by carefully noting his posture, body language, and facial expressions. By focus and intent to see clearly sight can be developed into insight. The training of all the senses to be more apt, more receptive, and more able to understand reality was a lifetime practice of the master.  Vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch and synesthesia (the ability to describe one sense in terms of another) were all parts of this whole.  Sight became the best developed of his abilities, which contributed to his artistic talent.

How do you use your senses to take in the world?  Have you ever tried to improve on what you have in the sense department?  I was a potter for many years, so my sense of touch was developed beyond the others during that time.  I had to feel the center of the wheel, and the thickness of the clay with precision or….no pot was made…back to mud.  Taste and smell may be my most developed senses now.  I cook, bake, and experiment as a cocktail creator.  I like making a variety of  teas and baths with my garden herbs. Do you have one particular sense that is your strongest?  We know what Leonardo would do.  He would forever practice to refine them all.

Fun and a Little Weird

March 14, 2013 3 Comments


Zappos intentionally transformed the workplace of the telephone bank ordering system.  Since this service of taking orders from customers and executing them will continue, serious thought was put into making the job more fun.  The tour of the Zappos office will convince you that something very different is afoot.  They are used to being observed on the job, and seem to enjoy flaunting costuming, toys, banners, and personal expression of every kind.   It made me think of a friend of mine who worked in a cubicle for Quantas, doing reservations.  The company issued a memo that no personal items could be displayed in the cubicle of any kind.  My friend removed her personal decor and displayed instead the memo itself as her new decoration. The hostility she felt for her incredibly insensitive employer had to come through on every call.

Repression never works, and I am living proof. I have instinctive distrust of dogma, certifications and senseless regulations. Giving people the creative freedom to contribute to the group beats a hierarchy with power issues every time. Zappos does create titles, but they can be very non traditional.  My tour guide had the title Culture Clown, which sounded to me like a very fine position.  Her job was to tour and explain to the public how being fun and weird at work is good for the human race.  This seems obvious, so her job is pretty easy, if not always a barrel of monkeys.

The reasons I think Floatli is the perfect official sport for Zappos:

  • You look like a robot when you are in the equipment
  • It makes you feel silly as soon as you feel it, usually inspires giggles
  • It is the exact opposite of what you do the rest of the time in gravity
  • It is the opposite of wearing shoes
  • When you fall, you fall up  (more than a little weird)
  • Vegas is HOT, and you all need to get in the water
  • It is fun, and much weirder than you can imagine

You do not need to imagine. Say the word and I will fly up and Floatli with you.  If it is not fun and weird enough for you I will be very surprised.

Pursue Growth and Learning

March 12, 2013 2 Comments

The 5th core value at Zappos is about growth and learning.  I respect this greatly because in it they admit publicly that they do not know what they are doing.  This thrills me, because most biz executives do not appear to know what they are doing, but wish to cover up this fact.  The learning curve itself is a sport at Zappos.  They measure productivity and success carefully, in order to learn what works for the company and the customers. They also boldly go where none have gone before, to create and measure happiness.

Like Bhutan, Zappos is concerned with the GNH, or gross national happiness.  The employee happiness is valued as is the customer happiness.  This circular program of generating happiness by being happy makes sense. Since each person defines pleasure and joy for herself, creation of the right conditions for maximum joy is the goal. Experimentation and measurement is essential to know if your plans are succeeding.  Since Zappos has no historical model, nor does Bhutan, we can safely say that they are swimming in new water. To chart a course, one must know where one is.  Zappos does an excellent job of tracking and addressing with training and coaching, the internal needs of the staff.  They also monitor the customer satisfaction and efficiency of the entire process. Creation of happiness is no small feat in the world today, and it will require much study and inquiry.  I think Zappos is teaching business how to shift and focus on the important things in life.

Do More with Less, Just Add Water

February 24, 2013 4 Comments

The eighth core value at Zappos is Do More with Less. This is an essential philosophy to make it in the world now. Using what we already have is a first step to achieve better results. Recent economic bubble popping has shown us how wasteful and risky spending can have dire consequences. As household and government debt grew so did people’s expectations that the prosperity could never end. Now that the economy is reorganized. People look for value and efficiency like never before. Many have embraced thrift over extravagance as a necessity.

Floatli does more with less by versatility. It uses the common floatation noodle, which is easy to replace. Since it works in all kinds of water, including a jacuzzi, it provides a new activity or sport to pools and natural bodies of water. From light to heavy work can be done, by everyone from elite athletes to those recovering from injury. That is another reason Floatli is the perfect official sport for Zappos. It works anywhere there is water, and will be really fun in Lake Mead in summer.

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