Monday, February 7, 2011

Companies I Admire: Zappos and Etsy

I'm preparing for a couple of interviews this week and have given some thought to the type of company I would work for if/when I return to an office/corporate environment.

The two companies that I admire most are Zappos and Etsy.

Zappos CEO Tony Hseih; Photo Credit: Fast Company
Zappos is based in Nevada and has an undying commitment to customer service. They are very diplomatic and even the CEO, Tony Hseih, sits in a cube! Their workspace is very funky too; check it out in this company profile video:

What really amazed me was the proposition they give new hires: A $2,000 bonus to quit after a four-week paid training program. Sound crazy? No, it isn't; instead it's a way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Hseih is a Harvard grad and loves new media. I've tweeted about Zappos and promptly had a customer service rep help me find a pair of winter boots! How cool is that?

On their hiring page it states:

"I'm free from boring work environments, go-nowhere jobs  and typical corporate America!  . . . An extensive benefits including free lunch, 40% employee discount, and no dress code."

While many companies are currently under-paying, under-staffing and taking advantage of Americans' "I'm just thankful to have a job" mentality, Zappos is actually rewarding their employees and providing an awesome environment that motivates excellence. 

{For more on Zappos check out The New Yorker's article.}

Now about Etsy . . . 

Honestly, I'm really in love with their office space in DUMBO, Brooklyn: 

Photos Credit: New York Times
Like Zappos, Etsy is also co-founded by a 30-something entrepreneur (Robert Kalin), and they host weekly office lunches, called Eatsy, provided by local farms and growers:

Photo Credit: New York Times
What's so great about Etsy is that they really appreciate and support the community they sell. For example, new employees are given a stipend of $100 to purchase Etsy items to decorate their workspace. At Etsy it's all about local compared to Ebay which has become such a behemoth.

{You can read The New York Times' full Etsy article here.}

Ultimately, what I like about Zappos and Etsy is that seem to value their employees and try to make the work environment fun. Best of all, they don't lose out on success because of it. 

I'll see where I end up soon, but hope it's somewhere that has similar virtues as these companies and someday when I'm running my own business I will use Zappos and Etsy as examples of the right way to do things.