Create Fun and A Little Weirdness - Zappos Values

My 20-day Zappos + Buffer Values Challenge

Two companies whom I feel have very positive company cultures are Zappos and Buffer.

Because these organisations go out of their way to embody a high purpose, I’ve a feel a great deal of respect and awe towards these them.

The thing is, the values all seem relatively familiar, and I’m interested to see how many of these values are things I already feel aligned to.

One of the way Dave Logan and friends recommend finding your core values in Tribal Leadership (buy it, read it, reread it), is by writing a story about how you learnt something from an experience. A specific given example in the book is about honesty, when an 8yro is caught stealing in a shop, and the painful memory sticks hard into their values from that point onwards.

For the next 20 days, I’m going to try and release a blog post a day, each dealing with a mixed up list of Zappos and Buffer’s core values, and seeing how much it is aligned with me and whether I can relate to it.

The aim is simply to understand more about myself, whilst also probably being a nice opportunity to tell stories.


The Values I’ll be investigating:

  1. Be Passionate and Determined
  2. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  3. Do the Right Thing
  4. Always Choose Positivity and Happiness
  5. Show Gratitude
  6. Listen First, Then Listen More
  7. Embrace and Drive Change
  8. Be Humble
  9. Pursue Growth and Learning
  10. Make Time to Reflect
  11. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  12. Do More With Less
  13. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  14. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  15. Live Smarter, Not Harder
  16. Be a “no-ego” Doer
  17. Have a Bias Towards Clarity
  18. Deliver WOW Through Service
  19. Have a Focus on Self Improvement
  20. Default to Transparency

How are you?

When people ask me, off the cuff, something simple like:

“How are you?”

I sometimes find it hard to know how to reply.

Obviously, partly this is an age old “I’m human, you’re human, we’re both alive” statement with no deep meaning, but usually there’s also a genuine feeling of “let me know if you’re seriously upset”.

Usually when asked I’ll respond,

“Good, I think”.

which most people, quite reasonably think is a fairly strange response.

The problem is that I don’t generally think about how I am – if I was upset or happy about something 5 days ago, it won’t be at the forefront of my mind.

I’m sure I can’t be alone in this, and it feels like this one of the bits of our culture that doesn’t really make sense.

TL;DR: I insist on responding accurately to an age-old greeting practice.

I need your help: challenge me something!

Find a horizon
Find a horizon

In three months, I want to have completed 7 personal challenges.

I’m not too bothered about where the achievements weigh in on a global scale – I’m not trying to set a world record – just a “Tim record”.

I need your help to help me work out what to do. I’ve had a few ideas, some of them are ok, some of them aren’t so great. What do you think I’d find challenging?

A note: challenges have to be vaguely appealing to me – it doesn’t matter whether playing golf or BASE jumping are challenging, I don’t want to do either.

“Fitness”

Other suggestions welcome

  • Complete a street marathon
  • Swim over 100m across open, cold water without assistance
  • Swim 30 consecutive lengths in a 50 metre pool
  • Drop a stone in weight and maintain it for at least 30 days.
  • Be able to do 50 sit ups in 5 minutes
  • Be able to do 10 consecutive pull ups
  • Run 70km over 7 consecutive days
  • Run 10km in under an hour
  • Climb up and down x000 metres in xxhours (how many?!)
  • Do a 20 mile hill walk
  • Do a 30 mile hill walk

“Skills”

Other suggestions welcome

  • Get baseline climbing qualifications
  • Get baseline kayaking qualifications
  • Get baseline windsurfing qualifications
  • Get surfing lessons
  • Go paragliding
  • Bake something new
  • Make a short film (must not be a documentary, music video or advert)

“Culture”

Other suggestions welcome

  • Throw two, 3 course, dinner parties
  • Perform two open mic nights
  • Prepare an entertaining 30 minute talk on notechnical subject and give it at two barcamps
  • Learn theĀ Melbourne Shuffle
  • Write a song for Youtube

“Technology”

If anyone can suggest technical challenges that are actual challenges, that’d be good.

  • Be able to deploy a 4 machine Magento cluster from a script (or systems provisioning system) with mysql master-master replication, Varnish ESI, local CDN, SSL, sane firewalls and low impact scheduled backups.

“Travel”

I’d quite like to have a travel section here, but I can’t think of anything that sounds appealing that’s a challenge. (I’m not a fan of “x countries in x hours” because it seems rather shortsighted, and liable to make sure you only see a bunch of airport lounges, in addition most “visitĀ this country” challenges seem to essentially be “spend some money”, which isn’t really a challenge – the challenge was getting the money or being a creative routefinder.)

  • Travel by as many different modes of transport as possible from A to B

So yeah, which 7 of these should I do? What should I do that’s not on this list?

You tell me.