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The cult and culture of Zappos

Company takes happiness seriously

In the Zappos universe, managers are monkeys, culture is king, customers are fans, and work is fun. And, for the record, Zappos is a real, profitable company. It is an online reseller of shoes, clothing and accessories including watches, handbags and eyewear, and it rang up $1 billion in gross sales last year. Businesses of all stripes are paying attention to its customer-centric and employee-friendly approach to business -- which seems to run counter to the prevailing economic currents, as cutting costs and services is all the rage these days. A culture at the core "You can't have happy employees without having a culture that employees want to grow and develop," said Alfred Lin, Zappos chief operating officer and chief financial officer. And happy employees have a lot to do with happy customers, he noted. Lin, who will deliver a keynote address at the Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco in August, said a positive company culture can build a brand...