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Zappos Culture Boot Camp – Why it Matters to Dyn

Culture. Over the past few years we’ve heard more and more companies talk about the importance of culture in the workplace. Management is finally realizing that, when you have happy, healthy, and motivated employees, the result is a superior product and experience for the customer. At Dyn we have a unique (geeky) culture that inspires every employee to help create, support, and share our great DNS services with our customers. Ask any Dyn employee about their job and you’ll probably be blown away by our story.

When I share the Dyn story with someone for the first time, I frequently hear the following questions:

Doesn’t the fun interrupt productivity? Can this scale? Can I work there?
The short answers are: No, Yes, Yes (go to

Then there are follow-up questions like:
How was the culture created? What are the ingredients? How do you get “buy-in” (more on that in a later post)
The answers to those questions are harder to define in a word or two and to be honest, I’m not sure we really know the answers. In short, the culture just kinda happened. That’s a truth that we’re not necessarily content with. We’re engineers after all, we want to know how things work.

Luckily, there is a company out there who has spent a lot of time thinking about the answers to those questions about culture and has made it their number one focus. Their culture is part of everything they do. Of course, I’m talking about Zappos.

Back in April, Josh Delisle, Chris Gonyea, and myself went on a Zappos tour to get a taste of their culture. It’s free, so if you’re in Vegas you HAVE to check it out. During that hour long tour we experienced a culture unlike anything you’ve ever seen before and even saw the first wedding there, with Elvis and all.

Since that time, the name Zappos has come up on almost a daily basis. We love what they have there and want to bring some of that to Dyn and have even launched the Taking it to the Streets campaign to get a better idea of the corporate culture of our other clients. However, we know that not everything they do makes sense for Dyn. With that in mind, Dyn sent me to the Zappos Insights 2-day Boot Camp this week to find out WHY they do WHAT they do.

What is a Zappos Boot Camp like? It is an intense experience where you get to be part of the Zappos culture for 2 full days and talk to any employee you want and ask any question you can think of. Zappos care so much about sharing what they’ve learned that we met with their new COO/CFO, Chris Nielsen where he explained why even the finance folks believe so much in their culture. We were also fortunate enough to meet with Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, including a fantastic party at his home. Thanks Tony!

Most of you probably think “Wow, you must have learned so much from Chris and Tony!” and you’re right. However, what was even more fascinating was meeting with the other employees, hearing their personal stories on how Zappos has changed them and why they believe so much in what they’re doing. Spend a day or two at Zappos and you’ll quickly realize that they all share the same vision of delivering WOW to themselves and their customers. They believe so much in their core values that it’s turned them into a family.

I’m really looking forward to sharing my thoughts of this experience with you and talking about how and why it matters to Dyn. My hope is that it will give you a better feel for Dyn and also inspire you to think about culture in your workplace. However, this is supposed to be a blog, not a novel, so we’ll continue the conversation in future posts.

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Oracle Dyn Global Business Unit, a pioneer in managed DNS and a leader in cloud-based infrastructure that connects users with digital content and experiences across a global internet.

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