Show of 11-13-2010

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Mary: Dr. Richard Shurtz, I needed to renew this software and went to their website and downloaded it on Monday. It took about 5 tries b/f the download was successful. I called their tech support and the people there could only say that it must be due to internet issues/traffic or something unknown. My ISP is Verizon FiOS.
    • All of this took a Lot of time out of my workday…What can you tell me about doing a download from a server based in San Diego to get the software onto my PC? I don’t download a lot of software but when I do I’d rather it go smoother!! Calif. is a whole continent away from Bethesda MD, so, perhaps that is part of the issue? I’ve purchased this in the past and never had this much trouble getting in to download. Thanks Mary
    • Tech Talk Responds: I went to this same site when I updated my software. They could not recognize that I was a renewal. It also took a call to customer support. Download speed is primarily determined by their server and your client, not by the Internet between you and the server. I did not locate any mirror sites. I don’t have a solution for you.
    • Email from Roger: Dear Dr. Shurtz. I make many Skype calls as part of my business dealings in other countries. I am worried that someone may intercept these calls since they travel over the open Internet. How secure is Skype? Thanks, Roger in Arkansas
    • Tech Talk Answers: Skype encryption is very good. Your calls are safe. Skype uses 256 bit AES encryption (Advanced Encryption Standard) to encrypt communication between users, complicating the decryption of these communications. Skype’s encryption is inherent in the Skype Protocol and is transparent to callers. Some countries have demanded a backdoor to allow call monitoring. Skype has resisted such requests. Skype calls are far more secure than a call over a POTS line.
  • Profiles in IT: Tony Hsieh
    • Tony Hseih (pronounce shay) was born December 12, 1976.
    • While growing up, his parents want him to have good grades, play several instruments, and get a PhD.
    • Other than making millions in business and being one of the most successful entrepreneurs, he has been a disappointment.
    • He would play recordings of his practice sessions, so he could avoid practicing.
    • He had a number of business failed ventures in high school: paperboy, writing and selling a newsletter, selling greeting cards, selling earthworms.
    • He had one successful venture was selling custom buttons for $1 using an advertisement in the back of Boy’s Life.
    • He took a Pascal class in high school and had access to the dial up modem. He and a group of friends would contact BBS all over the country.
    • Then the “computer lab lunch club” got the idea of connecting to the school phone system and making other phone calls (946-sexy).
    • I high school he worked as a video game tester for Lucasfilms form $6 per hour.
    • He enrolled in Harvard in 1991 and selected a schedule that gave him the maximum free time. He didn’t attend very may classes his freshman year.
    • He created an online study class to pass his Bible course (never having attending class or reading the text). Students would volunteer to post two or three.
    • He graduated from Harvard in 1995 with a degree in Computer Science
    • While at Harvard, he managed the Quincy House Grille selling pizza to the students in his dorm. His best customer Alfred Lin would ater be Zappo’s CFO and COO.
    • After college Hseih worked for Oracle.
    • While at Oracle, he and a friend began a web design business. Their first customer paid the $2,000 for a new website. He quit Oracle after only five months.
    • The web design business didn’t really go too far.
    • Tony then go the idea for Internet Link Exchange, a form of banner advertising for barter. This was good way to website without any marketing budged to get exposure.
    • It was an immediate success with nearly 50% of the websites contacted signing up.
    • Yahoo wanted to buy LinkExchange for $25M. They turned it down, but took $3M in VC from Sequoia Capital for at 20 percent stake.
    • In 1999, they sold LinkExchange for $265M to MS. He did not like the atmosphere of greed in the company. He one year of “vest in peace” to secure a $40M.
    • On graduation, he had made a cruise bet with his friends. If he was a millionaire within ten years, he would take them on a cruse. Otherwise, they would pay.
    • A group of ex-LinkExchanges formed Venture Frogs, an angel group. One of the twenty investments under consideration was Zapos (based on zapotos the Spanish word for shoes). In 1999, they made an initial small investment in Zapos.
    • They could not attact any VCs so they invested more themselves.
    • On July 22, 2009 Amazon.com announced the acquisition of Zappos.com in a deal valued at approximately 1.2 billion. Tony made at least $214 million.
    • Zappos was sold under pressure from the VCs.
    • In June 2010, Hsieh released Delivering Happiness, a book about his entrepreneurial endeavors
  • Zappos Differentiators
    • Family core values create the culture
      • Deliver WOW Through Service
      • Embrace and Drive Change
      • Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
      • Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
      • Pursue Growth and Learning
      • Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
      • Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
      • Do More With Less
      • Be Passionate and Determined
      • Be Humble
    • Take care of the customer
      • Free two way shipping
      • Send them to a competitor if you don’t have the right shoe
      • No scripts for the call center. Take care of each customer by talking to them.
      • Take care of the employees and they will take care of the customer.
      • Pay brand- new hires $3K to leave.
  • Book of the Week” Delivering Happing: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
    • Author: Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com
    • Lesson learned while building two companies.
    • Over riding lesson: create a happy environment
  • Ernst and Young Strategic Growth Forum
    • November 10 through 14 in Palm Springs, CA
    • Selected Keynote Speakers
      • Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company
        • Mortgaged the company to avoid taking Bailout Money
        • Investing in new R&D during the roughest of times.
        • Established a new cost basis for manufacturing in the US, starting with renegotiating with the unions.
        • Believes the manufacturing is not dead in the US.
      • Sir Richard Branson, CEO, Virgin Group
        • Think big. The sky is not the limit.
        • Hire good management and move the next big thing.
        • Keeps notebook in pocket. Tries to meet employees outside of office.
        • The wrong person leading a company can destroy it quickly.
        • From the music business to Virgin Atlantic to Virgin Galactic.
      • A. G. Lafley, former Chairman, CEO, and President of Proctor and Gamble
        • Number of billion dollar brands went from 10 to 21 under his tenure.
        • Created an open office environment with open communication (even with press).
        • Created an innovation platform and encouraged other to partner with P&G to innovate. The Gillette purchase was an innovation platform.
        • Innovation is applying an idea to a new field. Diversity is the key.
        • He had a liberal arts education and ultimately an MBA from Harvard.
    • More details next week