It's interesting to read about the Amazon deal to acquire Zappos today. We've been following Zappos quite a bit lately, mainly because of the awesome culture they've built. I definitely admire their commitment to building an awesome place to work. Most leaders talk about doing this but few actually walk the walk (very few). From everything I understand, Zappos walks the walk.
I love the Amazon/Zappos deal for many reasons... several of which sound very familiar to the deal we did with Rackspace nearly two years ago. For example:
1. All three founders are staying on board
2. Zappos will continue to build upon their unique culture
3. Zappos will now have the resources to grow much faster
4. The deal is all stock so people will have the financial incentive to stay and build the company
5. There won't be any layoffs (yes, I really believe this)
Any of this sound familiar? I will admit, their price tag is quite a bit bigger than ours, but I digress...
Here is a great quote from the Zappos blog. This sounds very similar to the things I wrote two years ago (replace Amazon with Rackspace and Zappos with Webmail):
Our culture at Zappos is unique and always evolving and changing, because one of our core values is to Embrace and Drive Change. What happens to our culture is up to us, which has always been true. Just like before, we are in control of our destiny and how our culture evolves.
A big part of the reason why Amazon is interested in us is because they recognize the value of our culture, our people, and our brand. Their desire is for us to continue to grow and develop our culture (and perhaps even a little bit of our culture may rub off on them).
They are not looking to have their folks come in and run Zappos unless we ask them to. That being said, they have a lot of experience and expertise in a lot of areas, so we're very excited about the opportunities to tap into their knowledge, expertise, and resources, especially on the technology side. This is about making the Zappos brand, culture, and business even stronger than it is today.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is one of my favorite entrepreneurs. I admire him for many reasons and I learn something new from him every time I listen to him talk. In the video below, he says one of the things he's learned from building Amazon is that "it's always day 1". What I think he means by this is that no matter how much Amazon accomplishes, their biggest successes are still ahead. This is the exact message I've been delivering to my division at Rackspace for the last six months. When you experience rapid growth, go through a merger, and then an IPO, its easy to feel like the game is over. But I'm with Jeff. This is the beginning, not the end. Or should I say, it's always day 1.
Congratulations to the Zappos team and community. I have no doubt that it's still day 1 for you guys!