I read an article today on Harvard Business Publishing blogs about Zappos, the online shoe seller. Actually, Zappos says that they are a service company that happens to sell shoes.

This is the kind of company that I like to think I would create. Some of the company policies that I particularly like:

  • Under-promise and over-deliver. They promise 4 day free shipping, but often deliver overnight. (they set up their warehouse near a UPS distribution hub)
  • Put the company toll-free phone number on every page of the website. Love it. It sounds trivial, but most companies deliberately bury or exclude their phone number from websites, so that they don’t have to talk with customers.
  • Empower customer service agents on the phone to do what it takes to help customers
  • Fanatical focus on customer service.
  • Don’t just satisfy customers, amaze them
  • “Bribe” new employees to quit after the 4-week company training and 1 week on the job. The idea is that if they will take the $1000 offer to leave the company, they aren’t bought in to the company vision, so you don’t want them working there. $1000 is well spent to weed out those who aren’t going to help you win.

I am inspired by this company. It will be fascinating to see if they can retain the culture as the company grows larger, and to see how they pull that off if successful.

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Other Blogs – part 2

Here’s part 2 of my list of other blogs you might find interesting:

John Eldredge Walking With God Blog
(John Eldredge is also author of one of my favorite books “Wild at Heart”)

Chip Ingram Keep Pressin’ Ahead Blog

The Ancestry Insider

(Ron Ares is a Portland real estate agent with a good blog)

The Housechick Blog
(The Housechick has such a great blog, you will want to buy a house in Tucson)

Bad MLS Photo of the Day
(A daily listing of bad photos in MLS real estate listings)

Hillsboro Realtor

More later

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Stephen King Remark

Author Stephen King, pictured at left, was speaking to a group of high school students recently about the importance of reading. He made the following remark:

“The fact is if you can read, you can walk into a job later on. If you don’t, then you’ve got the Army, Iraq, I don’t know, something like that.”

Congratulations Stephen King, you win the award for saying the most ignorant thing I’ve heard said this month.

Photo courtesy of 416style, used under the Creative Commons License.

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I was looking through Barack Obama’s position on the issues recently to better understand his campaign promises. I was struck by the absence of an issue that I fully expected to find. I re-read the list 3 times to make sure I didn’t just overlook it.

Where the heck is the war on terror? His list discusses Iraq and Homeland Security, but I can’t find his position on the war on terror. Is the war on terror over? I’ve been out of town recently, so maybe I missed the news about this…. Did we win it while I was traveling?

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I was going to blog about Dancing with the Stars, but a meeting at Ryan’s High School last night changed my plans. I attended a presentation by CJ Hitz of MediaTalk101, who talked about the impact of media on your spiritual life. He put into words some things that I have been anxious about for a while. His presentation on media covered a broad range of media influences, not just TV but also music, the internet, blogs, movies, video games, “social media” like Myspace, etc, etc. Some things I wrote down that I thought were particularly impactful thoughts presented by CJ:

What do your media choice indicate about your relationship with Jesus?

He talked about how we often consume media almost constantly, several hours a day. One possible explanation for ‘staying constantly stimulated’ by some form of media is that we are avoiding some real issue on our plate. (if I avoid silence, I can avoid hearing what God might say to me)

Another thing he said really hit home with me. “All media has a message, and the message has an impact on your life.” (it’s not just entertainment)

Finally, he used a great illustration of being in a large, well lit city, and complaining that you can’t see many stars at night. The light ‘distraction’ and ‘pollution’ keeps you from seeing the stars. The stars are overhead in a big city just as they are in a pitch dark canyon in the middle of the country, the only difference is that the environment that you have immersed yourself in is preventing a clear view. He then asked whether the media influences that we consume every day are preventing a clear view of God. Great question.

I’m not preaching, I found these questions very convicting.

Photo courtesy of dailyinvention, used under the Creative Commons License.

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Tour de Lopez

Last weekend we rode in the ‘Tour de Lopez’ with our friends John & Barby on Lopez Island in the San Juans. The weather on Lopez was amazing! It was rainy and cool for a week before, but sunny and warm on the day of the ride. What a blessing it was. There were 3 routes: 10 miles, 17 miles, and 31 miles. We chose to ride the 10 mile, but ended up with 14.51 miles by the end of the day (including the ride
back to the truck). The ride ended in the village, with a catered lunch and live music.I had just received my bike back from a tune-up, and unfortunately it gave me problems most of the day. If the guys down at Bike Gallery are reading this, I’ll be in to see you soon.

Some tips for those interested in riding in the Tour de Lopez next year: 1.) Register early, the ride was sold out this year about 3 years prior tothe event. 2.) Reserve lodging early. There aren’t many hotels on Lopez, mostly rental vacation homes and B&B’s. We couldn’t get a place, so we stayed in Anacortes (worked out fine). 3.) Test ride your bike after getting it back from the bike shop, in plenty of time to return it for repairs on the repairs.
It was a great day. The ride was not competitive, so we had the opportunity to take our time and enjoy the views.

Photos © Copyright Jon McDermott – Taken in Anacortes, WA and Lopez Island WA

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