on asian culture…

The accomplishments of the children were the trophies that many parents defined their own success and status by. We were the ultimate scorecard. There were 3 categories of accomplishments that mattered to the Asian parents. Category 1 was the academic accomplishments… Category 2 was career accomplishment: Becoming a medical doctor or getting a PhD was seen as the ultimate accomplishment… Category 3 was musical instrument mastery.

The focus after graduation…

As the end of my senior year in college approached, Sanjay introduce me to this thing called the World Wide Web. I thought it was a pretty interesting and fun thing to explore at the time, but i didn’t pay too much attention to it. The focus for most seniors, including myself, was trying to get a job lined up before graduation… Many of our roommates applied for banking or management consulting jobs, both of which were considered the “hot” jobs to get. TO me, both seems incredibly boring and I also heard that the workdays were 16 hours long…. I wanted a job that paid well and didn’t seem like too much work.

ready for an adventure…

But we wanted to run our business and be in control of our own destiny, This wasn’t about the money, it was about not being bored. Both Sanjay and I had now officially resigned, and we were ready to begin the next chapter of our lives. We had no idea where it would lead us, but wherever it was, we knew it had to be better than feeling bored and unfulfilled. We were ready for an adventure.

hiring at LinkExchange…

The good news was that the people we hired were smart and motivated. The bad news was that many of them were motivated by the prospect of either making a lot of money or building their careers and resumes. They wanted to put a few years of hard work into LinkExchange and then move on to their next resume building job at another company.

money and people…

Large amount of money have a strange way of getting people’s true colours to come out. I observed the greed of certain people who had joined the company right before the acquisition trying to negotiate side contracts for themselves at the risk and expense of everyone else in the company….

Making a list of happiest periods… >

I made a list of the happiest periods in my life and I realised that one of them involved money. I realized that building stuff and being creative and inventive made me happy. Connecting with a friend and talking through the entire night until the sun rose made me happy. Trick-or treating in middle school with a group of my closest friends made me happy. … I thought about how easily we are all brainwashed by our society and culture to stop thinking and just assume by default that more money equals more success and happiness, when ultimately happiness is really just about enjoying life….. I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was a turning point for me in my life. I had decided to stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion.

Excerpt from Ivanka Trump’s book:

So my advice is to stop trying to “network” in the traditional business sense, and instead just try to build up the number and depth of your friendship, where the friendship itself is its own reward. The more diverse your set of friendships are, the more likely you will derive both personal and business benefits form our friendships later down the road.

Outsourcing and business…

We told the people at eLogistics that we had opened up on our own warehouse because we weren’t happy with the service levels we were getting from them. …. Every week, if WHISKY outperformed eLogistics, then we would take 10000 pairs of shows out of eLogistics and move them over to the WHISKY warehouse. The people at eLogistics weren’t very happy about our plan, but it was hard for them to argue against the logic of it. … it was a valuable lesson. We learned that we should never outsource our core competency.

great companies…

Good to Great by Kim Collins… He talks about what separates the great companies form just good ones over the long term. One of the things that he found form his research was that great companies have a greater purpose and bigger vision beyond just making money or being number one in a market. A lot of companies fall into the trap of just focusing on making money, and then they never become a great company.

inside out…

Now that we were in Vegas with nobody else to learn on except each other, culture became our number one priority, even more important than customer service. We thought that if we got the culture right, the building our brand to be about the very best customer service would happen naturally on its own.

Zappos culture book…

The original idea was simple. We would ask employees to write, in a few paragraphs, the answer to the question: What does Zappos culture mean to you? Except for correcting typos, we would leave it unedited and publish everything in a book. Completely uneditted? THat’s crazy!… For Zappos, it was a risk worth taking… In an age of transparency when twitter can contribute to a company’s success or its downfall, is there anything more compelling than exposing your company’s DNA to the world?

MCQ for logins… >

In most companies, logging in to the computer systems requires a login and password. At Zappos, an additional step is required: a photo of a randomly selected employee is displayed and the user is given a multiple-choice test to name that employee.

visiting Zappos…

One of the great advantages of focusing on culture is when repoertes come and visit our offices. Unlike most companies, we don’t give reporters a smal list of people they’re allowed to talk to. Instead we encorage them to wander around and talk to whoever they want.

3 basic rules for public:

  1. Be passionate
  2. Tell personal stories
  3. Be real

10 questions to ask when looking for investors and board members:

  1. Do you really need investors? Can you avoid funding by growing more slowly?
  2. How actively involved will your investors be? How actively involved do you want your investors to be?
  3. What value beyond money can your investors add (connections, advice, experience)?
  4. What is the time horizon for a financial exit that your investors are expecting?
  5. What if anything, are your investors hoping to get out of their involvement beyond just financial return? How would they prioritize those things?
  6. Do your investors and board directors buy into the vision and mission of the company?
  7. Would they accept less profits if it meant that the vision could be fulfilled faster?
  8. How flexible are your investors and board members in their thinking?
  9. Who controls the investor? Who controls the board?
  10. Do the core values of your investors and board members match the core values of your company?

Happiness Framework 3:

  1. Please
  2. Passion
  3. Purpose

What I find interesting is that many people go through life chasing after the pleasure type of happiness, thinking that once they are able to sustain that, then they will worry about the passion and, if they get around to it, look for their higher purpose.