Saturday, May 16, 2009

TiEcon, Day 2

The opening keynote on Day 2 was delivered by Tony Hseih, CEO of Zappos. Tony sold his first (straight out of Harvard) company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265m. He started off as an investor in Zappos and soon became its CEO. Today Zappos has $1B in gross merchandise sales, a 24x7 call center, 365-day return policy and free shipping both ways. Their pervasive values of "Bring top notch customer service and deliver the very best customer experience" came across in every fiber of Tony's talk.

He talked about the importance of having a strong culture and core values for your company. The Zappos core values are:
  • Deliver WOW through service
  • Embrace and drive change
  • Create fun and a little weirdness
  • Be adventurous, creative and open-minded
  • Pursue growth and learning
  • Open and honest relationship with communication
  • Build a positive team and family spirit
  • Do more with less
  • Be passionate and determined
  • Be humble
It is important to build a brand that matters. The seven steps to do this are:
  1. DECIDE to build a long-term, sustainable brand.
  2. Figure out values and culture. Alignment is important. Live the brand.
  3. Commit to transparency.
    • Extranet for vendors
    • "Ask anything" newsletter
    • Tours and reporter visits
    • - you need to subscribe to this to get inside access to Zappos management
  4. Vision. Whatever you are thinking, think bigger. Choose the vision, not the money.
  5. Build relationships, not "networking". Be INTERESTED, rather than be INTERESTING.
  6. Build your Team. "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together," by Al Gore is applicable here.
  7. Think long term. There is no "get rich quick" formula. "Overnight successes" take years to build.
He transitioned to talk about the topic that he has been recently studying - the science of Happiness. In general, people are bad at predicting what will bring them (sustained) happiness. He asked everyone to see how the science of happiness can help your business, your brand and yourself.

At the conclusion of his talk, he was given a standing ovation - indicating how the audience resonated with his simple, yet compelling and inspiring thoughts.

The afternoon keynote was given by Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn. This followed the format of a fireside chat with Mike Malone.

Reid mentioned that LinkedIn has 40m users world wide and are growing at 1m every 17 days. "Entrepreneurs jump off a cliff and assemble an airplane on the way down. You make decisions by doing it and not prepping for it." I could totally relate to that from my own experience!

Reid was asked about the areas of focus for LinkedIn over the next few years. He said that they would love to power, "who should I meet when I go to TiEcon". I see this as a perfect opportunity for LinkedIn to partner with Micello - which has the ability to deliver on this vision within our DNA.

Reid concluded saying that the "future is sooner and stranger than you think"

I had the opportunity to meet numerous people over the last few days. I met with potential users, partners, investors, journalists/bloggers/analysts. I hope to see some of those connections materialize into meaningful, long term relationships.

No comments: