Nice discussion on GPlus.com on why Zappos beat Amazon’s Endless.com. Was wondering this morning if there is a metric to measure the value of a creative employee? That is a way of showing the ROI for Zappos CEO Tony Hseih’s empowering approach to his workforce. I guess some of that though is simply down to the fact he is a ‘founding CEO’ (see Ben Horowitz’s excellent post ‘Why We Prefer Founding CEOs’ for example) who brings certain insights about the value of his employees, which a professional CEO may aspire to but finds it much more difficult to deliver in reality. Hint, hint to all those professional CEOs to take a look at the recent research on how creativity can be nurtured in the workforce using a combination of training and financial incentives.
My response is typical of the boardroom discussions we get into with senior executives when it concerns aligning performance measures and corporate strategy. It actually wasn’t intended to “answer” the post, but instead highlight the need for more structured thinking.
The anonymous poster appears to share a similar mindset to many management teams in terms of competitor analysis – An ill-defined “perception” of corporate success applied to another competitor.
With respect to consumers, our experience shows that the second-order metrics can quickly deal with buyer behavior.
For example, if one firm has a customer that places a single on-line order for 10 pairs of shoes resulting in $1000 in revenue, is that “better” than 10 customers placing an order for a single pair of $100 shoes…?
In this example, both of those operational profiles result in exactly the same total revenue. However, the strategic response to those different customer segmentations may be completely unique in either situation.
Again, the point is, with a bit more structured thinking, we have the ability to gain actionable insight as to existing market demand, the competitive landscape, and future economic opportunity.
additivity, and esprit de corps,
what you get are 3 pictures of Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos and his people hugging
Tony Hsieh, and every employee at Zappos. When these
customer services obsessed entrepreneurs and e-commerce innovators met it was
like someone was bringing together twins who had been separated at birth. I
wasn’t there, but I have no doubt they both probably showed up dressed almost
identically and within minutes were busy finishing each other’s sentences and
The short answer is superior service and ease of use.