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The Engagement of Zappos and Amazon

Posted on : 22-07-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Brands, Business, In the News

Tags: ,

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In the past year I have built many friendships at Zappos, and I am proud to have learned from them.  One of the greatest experiences from a business perspective was the opportunity to tour Zappos in Las Vegas.  It was the most Customer centered place I have ever been.  During the visit I received their famous culture book and a bag.  I keep both on the top shelf in my office to remind me that it is all powered by service.  So when I heard the news that Amazon was purchasing Zappos and making it a subsidiary of Amazon, I will admit that initially I was concerned.  It is not that I have had a bad experience with Amazon, because the exact opposite is true.  Every interaction I have had there was very good.  One minor service concern was rectified really fast.  I knew the purchase was the best thing for the Zappos shareholders, but what about the culture that I have grown to love?

Tony addressed this in his letter to employees:

“Q: Will the Zappos culture change?

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.”

I was still not convinced, but again not due to experience with Amazon, but rather seeing acquisitions in the past with other companies.  As I went down the letter, there was a video with Jeff Bezzos, CEO of Amazon.  I have heard good things about Jeff, but mainly due to investment performance and driving the results of the company.  The video shows a much different side, and one that I felt the need to share:

Maybe this will be a marriage made in heaven.  I wish all involved great success.