The Founding of Zappos

The year was 1998, and founder Nick Swinmurn was walking around a mall in San Francisco looking for a certain pair of shoes. One store had the right style, but not the right color. Another store had the right color, but not the right size. Nick spent the next hour in the mall, walking from store to store, finally going home empty-handed and frustrated.

These early reflections were the beginnings of one of the premier GameChangers in corporate culture— It started as the “amazon for shoes” and has expanded into an online retail giant where whatever you buy comes with a 365 day return policy that you’ll likely read twice before you believe it.

Zappos has pioneered many unique best practices to spread happiness—their mission—within their offices. Their Grant-a-Wish program allows employees to submit and grant wishes to build a team and family spirit in their company. It’s managed by a software that Zappos created so employees could easily post a wish online and other employees, or the company, could make those wishes come true. For example, an employee who wanted to become an American citizen, but was unable to afford the citizenship program. The wish was granted and the employee is not only a proud American citizen but also a grateful employee and wish granter to other employees on the platform.