The new poster-child for corporate-culture utopia will very likely become the former one.
The New York Times quotes Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh as saying that despite yesterday's acquisition by Amazon, “We plan to continue to run Zappos the way we have always run Zappos—continuing to do what we believe is best for our brand, our culture
and our business."
And Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos chimed in in praise of Zappos' culture, "I get all weak-kneed when I see a customer-obsessed company."
In a letter to employees, Hsieh elaborated that Amazon execs "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."
As Scoob would say, ruh-roh.
Writing Boots has a shoe-industry source who has worked with both companies. She loves Zappos but says "Amazon is a nightmare! … unbelievably disorganized and very hard to do business with."
She holds out hope that "Zappos could improve the way Amazon does business."
But bad cultures rub off on good ones more often than the other way around, and if I'm a Zappos shareholder, I'm selling today—and if I'm a Southwest Airlines employee communicator, I'm realizing we're back in the benchmarking bull's eye.