Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Flowers and Innovation

I feel so lucky have a friend like Spencer that shares stuff like this. It's a story about Tony Hsieh, the legend behind Zappos.

It's a long read so be prepared. If you make it to the end and the flower story, I'd like for you to know my flower story.

I ordered flowers here once for a business partner. It wasn't this situation, but the purchase was entirely warranted and appropriate. I didn't ask for permission or approval for the purchase. Once the purchase hit the system, four different people told me I couldn't do it. "OK," I said, "but the cow is out of the barn. Reprimand me and pay me back." The answer? I should have known better. I should have checked. I should have gotten prior approval.

It ended up being an out-of-pocket expense for my boss. I told him I didn't want the money, I wanted him to fight it. He wouldn't. He preferred to pay, instead.


Anonymous said...

Hi Nevin! Tell Spencer we say 'Thanks' for sharing the article!

When it comes to empowerment of employees to make the right choice, we are pretty confident our folks will do just that.

Besides the usual 'red tape' that accompanies corporate expenses, I can't see why any company wouldn't allow it's employees to send out some flowers. It is obvious that you were sending flowers to a business partner, and it was what you felt the situation called for. Bravo to you! I am sorry to hear that it didn't work out smoothly for you.

If you'd like to take a closer look at the culture at Zappos, check out our subscription service at There are some free interviews and videos on the front page to show you what we have to offer!

I can only hope that next time this comes up, you'll get a warmer reception than you did in your story.

Jonathan - Zappos Insights

Nevin Danielson said...

Here I am, paying direct attention to Zappos' over-the-top customer service, and Jonathan, you still blew me away. Thanks for the message.

Readers, here's what went through my mind. There are approximately 900,000 blog posts created every day, yet Zappos still sent me an authentic, timely and thoughtful response, simply because I talked about them. Apparently we're going to need more than 6 billion people to over-tax Zappos.

Also, Jonathan emailed me privately and offered to send me the Culture Book the article references. Are you kidding me? I think I peed myself, just a little bit.

Fan. for. life. Oh, and I told my shoe-fetish wife her next pair comes from Zappos.