quite a feat

Props to Katherine Chen for pointing out that Zappos is based in Las Vegas.  And they offer free tours of their main “factory” in Vegas!

It’s an interesting company.  On the one hand, it is quite forward-looking.  To paraphrase John Cusack, it doesn’t make anything.  It simply sells things that are bought and processed elsewhere.  Like WalMart it excels as an organization that expertly manages supply chains.  It does a wonderful job at delivering things, mainly shoes, to US consumers from faraway places, mainly China.

But on the other, it has a very un-WalMartian  HR model.  It exists solely (pun intended) as an online company, and  one that treats its employees well.  Famously, all employees upon finishing training are offered two thousand dollars to quit the company, yet very very few do.  This may not seem a big deal with the current labor market being so slack, but Zappos has been doing this for quite some time now.

Is the Zappos org-model generalizable?  It is one of those tech firms like Facebook that has not yet gone public, so one could argue that the logic of shareholder value has not yet permeated the organizational sinews.  In five or ten years, will they still be paying Americans eleven dollars an hour to answer basic customer service calls and emails?  Or will they go the way of PayPal, Orbitz, and Amazon, by paying a young Filipino, Indian, or South African twenty dollars a day to do the same?

Written by Jeff_Sallaz

August 14, 2011 at 3:38 am

Posted in uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Zappos is a pretty amazing company which has done sone pretty amazing things.
    Just to add a quick note–they were bought out by Amazon a while ago.



    August 14, 2011 at 5:00 am

  2. Just an FYI, Zappos is owned by Amazon and is still based in Las Vegas, so it seems unlikely that would ” Go the way of Amazon, by paying a young Filipino, Indian, or South African twenty dollars a day to do the same?”



    August 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm

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