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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 Humble

May 22, 2013 6 Comments

Last at number ten, but not least, Zappos core value concerning humility is short and sweet. Be Humble.  Humility is tightrope on which to stay centered. This trick is easier said than done, like all the core values of this company.  There must be enough confidence to build self esteem and positive team spirit, and enough gravitas to accomplish intended goals.  Restraint of ego mania in favor of pride in the entire workforce is a major element in delivering happiness.  Hubris hoards potential joy in the corporate executive cafeteria.  Zappos spreads it lavishly all over the company and customer base.

I had the idea 12 years ago when I invented Floatli that my teaching was such an important element of life that I naturally needed to create a teaching dynasty by certifying Floatli professionals.  I was in a spa mentality and was influenced by my work experience.  I became sidetracked by the demands of real life on this journey, and had to clarify my reasons several times for continued expenditure of time and effort on this business.  Since I no longer live at spas I have a new perspective that is much more reasonable.  I have reached the conclusion that Floatli is as obvious as a hula hoop or roller skates.  No instruction is needed.  No certification, no dynasty of teaching will enhance the fun.   It is not a lifesaving device, but it is superior to other aquatic training equipment because it fits the anatomy of the user, no need to grip any thing with the hands to stay above water. It can be used in all bodies of water, but my experience says be super careful in surf or currents.

I want to work with Zappos as my marketing partner because their philosophy and values are dear to me, as is the quality of the merchandise they sell.  I humbly request that the Zappsters share the joy in delivering floating happiness to zillions of customers who will have fun creating their own ways to use Floatli for training and fun.  I sincerely believe we can deliver happiness in several different directions by empowering folks to find  new ways to float.

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.

Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication

April 8, 2013 5 Comments

Zappos core value number six describes the goal of the communication systems.  Any company has to be specific and mindful about communications within the company and with customers.  Zappos takes this seriously.  The open office design and the systems of training and benefits are conducive to better than average communication.  Since the workers are encouraged to express their personalities in decor and office fashion, at least some nonverbal design language is included in the conversation.

If all companies bothered to find out if they really communicate what they think they are saying I believe huge leaps of employee satisfaction could result.  Statistics show that most employees in the US are disengaged.  What the disengagement does is psychically disconnect the employee from the mission of the company.  Doing time in such an environment resembles jail more than it does a place of productive creativity. If the management has no clue about the reality of the workers, all possible loopholes will be used to avoid helping the company.  For the purpose of oversight as well as for the purpose of clear discussion management today needs to interact rather than hand down dictums. Employees who feel at all unhappy with their work life will take it all out on your customer.

The fun starts at the front door at Zappquarters in Henderson, NV.  Ties are cut and placed on the trophy board.  The best communication device I noticed was the way they used your toilet time to make you look at the wellness information.  Trapped in the stall you are educated about the opportunities to improve your overall health in the company wellness program.  This is a fabulous message and delivery method. The Zappsters do not miss any opportunity to deliver that happy message honestly and clearly.

Embrace and Drive Change

March 14, 2013



The second core value of Zappos is simple, but not so easy.  Change is never as easy as it seems.  The investment in any status quo is heavier than it appears to the naked eye.  To start something new is much easier than to destroy something old that does not work  (think Congress).  People feel that change involves admission of some kind of error, and that is why they will not enter the zone.  Being right is important to the point that it can alter the mind of the thinker significantly.  When driving change that involves others, be sure that you do not threaten their self images.  Any indication that there is a better way, also indicates that the present path is the wrong one.  Egos invest in this kind of righteous battle.  Ego battles virtually always get out of control because the individuals cannot control the egos.   It is best to show by example how change can work for the benefit of all participants.

  • inventing an official  company sport is a metaphor
  • defying gravity is a change most people do not consider
  • sports are defined too narrowly
  • everyone can win
  • strength, fitness, and flexibility are just a side effect of the fun
  • coaching is more effective combined with movement
  • It is HOT in Vegas
  • the product can make us all some bucks while helping others

We are joined at the core, Tony…..tweet me, maybe.

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.

Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open Minded

March 8, 2013 2 Comments


The Zappos fourth core value is about creativity and adventure.  This aspect of life is my driving force.  I enjoy being creative in everything I do.  I have had great work environments with all my marketing partners.  I was an outside sales travel agent , an independent contractor teaching at fabulous spas, and sometimes I would combine the two.  I was a potter before that who had marketing partners in galleries.   I supplied the creativity, sometimes the product, and they provide the infrastructure, like accounting.  I embrace failure by being very productive..moving beyond errors by making lots of them. This core value at Zappos is an acceptance of failure as part of success.  Without courage to fail you also lack courage to change anything.

I want Zappos to be my next marketing partner because I believe it can work very well for both of us.  I think the product Floatli will be popular if marketed well, and that the sport, Floatli, can be a thinking, training, cooperation activity at Zappos.  It can be totally non competitive, or mimic another game like volleyball wearing the equipment.  By reversing gravity, the participant usually regresses and feels like laughing.  If you loose control you just float to the top of the water, so injury is extremely unlikely while practicing Floatli in a pool, river, or lake.  It can also feel good to move underwater with support when injury makes walking or running impossible.  Prehabilitation is a great use of the Floatli system. With good range of motion and enhanced flexibility from movement n water, you are a lot less likely to hurt yourself at an active sport like skiing.

I am not looking for a job at Zappos, but a partnership, to sell the most innovative system for staying fit and flexible in the water.   I will fly to Vegas, Tony, and give you a demo any time you feel adventurous and open minded enough to give me an opportunity to show you how it works.  I believe we have very similar core values.  I always love your products, and on my visit I loved the atmosphere at the office in Henderson.  I admire the way you handle business and the happiness of all involved.  I believe I can make a positive contribution to that mission, and add even more creativity to their already very zesty mix.

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.

Passionate and Determined

February 18, 2013

Feet of Culture Clown

Feet of Culture Clown

Zappos Insights

Zappos Insights

The number nine core value at Zappos is about passion and determination. This one may be the determining factor in my quest to make Floatli the official sport of Zappos. I am positive that many have, are currently, and will pursue a spot in Zappos future. In order to make my offer stand out in a giant crowd I accept the challenge of showing more passion, and ultimately more determination, than others who are vying to be the provider of the official sport of the company.

With any luck I will be the only one applying for this position.  Zappos is full of healthy employees who enjoy working and playing.  The presence of the company coach supports this balanced lifestyle.  Employees can schedule coaching sessions for work or personal reasons.  The popular program is much utilized, therefore a waiting list exists for appointments with her.  I admire this kind of development program because a passionate determined employee is a content and personally fulfilled employee.

Zappos Education Dept

Zappos Education Dept

As the most insightful capitalist venture I have ever seen, Zappos screams sport.  The minute you walk into the place the vibe is all about personal expression and fashion extravagance. The team spirit is overwhelming.   My guide, Culture Clown, told us how she and her firefighter husband enjoy Lake Meade and participation in  outdoor fitness events.  She had completed a tough mudder with Marines that impressed me greatly.  The reason Floatli is the perfect team sport for Zappos is that it is non competitive.  What gravity does, Floatli remedies.  The more you wear shoes and play tough games on land, the more you need to reverse that action.  Floatli downshifts the joints and prehabilitates the body to do more sports without risk of injury.  Summer is hot in Vegas, but they still have a big beautiful Lake Mead, as well as millions of pools.

I want the chance to to market  Floatli with Zappos.   More fun even than that would be to organize an exciting  alternative fitness program that enhances staff levels of health and satisfaction within the company.  The integrity of the company comes from taking care of the employees so they can deliver happiness to customers.  I want to deliver some happiness to the discriminating employees to give them a new way to chill and stay fit.  I am passionate and determined to get an audition.

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