Delivering Happiness… a path to profits, passion and purpose

I’m very excited! I’ve just received two advanced copies of Tony Hsieh’s (CEO of Zappos) new book called Delivering Happiness. And best news of all I’m giving away a free copy to a member of our blog community. All you need to do is tell me a story of a customer experience that delivered happiness to you or someone you know well. It can be your company that delivered the happiness to a customer or your own experience as a customer. Tell us the name of the company, what the experience was and why it made you happy and you will be entered into the draw for the book. You can tell us your story below in the comment box or email me your story at dean@tomorrowtoday.uk.com

I’m a big fan of the company Zappos, have been for several years and often use their approach to business as case studies in my presentations and workshops. Recently I had the privelige of being interviewed and hosting a podcast with the CFO/COO of Zappos Alfred Lin. Alfred has some facinating insights into delivering customer experiences and I’d encourage you to listen to the podcast here. Zappos under the leadership of Tony Hsieh has a unique approach to business that has been incredibly successful. I’m off now to read the book and I will tell you more about the book and it’s insights as I read it… can’t wait 🙂

To wet your appetite about winning the book here is a excerpt from Delivering Happiness: (By the way if you are also a blogger why don’t you put your name down for an advance copy of the book by clicking on this link)

Introduction: Finding My Way

Wow, I thought to myself. The room was packed. I was on stage at our all-hands meeting, looking over a crowd of seven hundred Zappos employees who were standing up cheering and clapping. A lot of them even had tears of happiness streaming down their faces.

Forty-eight hours ago, we had announced to the world that Amazon was acquiring us. To the rest of the world, it was all about the money. The headlines from the press said things like “Amazon Buys Zappos for Close to $1 Billion,” “Largest Acquisition in Amazon’s History,” and “What Everyone Made from the Zappos Sale.”

In November 1998, LinkExchange, the company that I’d co-founded, was sold to Microsoft for $265 million after two and a half years. Now, in July 2009, as CEO of Zappos.com, I had just announced that Amazon was acquiring Zappos right after we had celebrated our ten-year anniversary. (The acquisition would officially close a few months later in a stock and cash transaction, with the shares valued at $1.2 billion on the day of closing.) In both scenarios, the deals looked similar: They both worked out to about $100 million per year. From the outside, this looked like history repeating itself, just at a larger scale.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. To all of us in the room, we knew it wasn’t just about the money. Together, we had built a business that combined profits, passion, and purpose. And we knew that it wasn’t just about building a business. It was about building a lifestyle that was about delivering happiness to everyone, including ourselves.

Time stood still during that moment on stage. The unified energy and emotion of everyone in the room was reminiscent of when I’d attended my first rave ten years earlier, where I’d witnessed thousands of people dancing in unison, with everyone feeding off of each other’s energy. Back then, the rave community came together based on their four core values known as PLUR: Peace, Love, Unity, Respect.

At Zappos, we had collectively come up with our own set of ten core values. Those values bonded us together, and were an important part of the path that led us to this moment. Looking over the crowd, I realized that every person took a different path to get here, but our paths somehow all managed to intersect with one another here and now. I realized that for me, the path that got me here began long before Zappos, and long before LinkExchange. I thought about all the different businesses I had been a part of, all the people who had been in my life, and all the adventures I had been on. I thought about mistakes that I had made and lessons that I had learned. I started thinking back to college, then back to high school, then back to middle school, and then back to elementary school.

As all the eyes in the room were on me, I tried to trace back to where my path had begun. In my mind, I was traveling backward in time searching for the answer. Although I was pretty sure I wasn’t dying, my life was flashing before my eyes. I was obsessed with figuring it out, and I knew I had to do it this very moment, before the energy in the room dissipated, before time stopped standing still. I didn’t know why. I just knew I needed to know where my path began.

And then, right before reality returned and time started moving again, I figured it out.

My path began on a worm farm.

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