Teal, part 1

Calm down Zapponians. Everything is going to be alright. Trust me.

The fine folks at Quartz got a hold of an email I sent out to all Zappos employees that announced a bold new adventure I like to call “Teal”. Before I get into that, let me address a few pressing questions I know most probably have right about now:

  1. Is that really a picture of you at the top of the Quartz article?
    Yes. Unfortunately, it was taken while I was practicing my ventriloquist act that I still hope to unleash for the masses on Fremont during a First Friday extravaganza.
  2. What on earth is Quartz?
    I had to look this up: “Quartz is a digitally native news outlet, born in 2012, for business people in the new global economy.” All clear?
  3. How did this digitally native news outlet for business people in the new global economy get a hold of your confidential company email?
    I can neither confirm nor deny that I “leaked” this email.

Back to Teal. I, like most bleeding edge entrepreneurial CEOs of multi-billion dollar companies, have read Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux. Freddy (note, only I’m allowed to call him that) and I had a Skype session not long ago. He was talking colors. Orange, red, green, teal, leprechaun gold, silkworm white, purple nurple, etc. I’ll admit to having possibly blacked out at one point, awakening to a stream of colors that I not only heard the names of but could also see streaming in front of me like a rainbow colored butterfly flapping its tiny wings perched on the tip of my nose. One color was clearly the winner – teal. It was all Freddy could talk about. Teal this and teal that. He had the worst puns too. Keep it teal. Can you teal it, Tony, can you? Tony, teal down this wall! That last one came after I lost focus and built a lego wall so tall it covered the camera on my computer. Remember core value #3, kids. Look, I have a good sense of humor, but a man has to come to grips with what is funny and what is punny. There’s a line and Freddy crossed it. Though, come to think of it, Freddy has a bit of an accent. It’s quite possible I mistook his pronunciation of certain words for awful puns. It doesn’t matter. Freddy is a mad genius, puns or not. The guy has found a brilliant way for me to get out of a bind.

Like any successful business running at the speed of the ‘net for over 15 years, Zappos has gotten a little plump. Possibly obese, but I’m not a medical doctor. I, much like a loving friend of a fatty, finally came to grips with this weight problem late last year and needed to find Zappos’ version of Richard Simmons. I needed the kind of guy who doesn’t scare you with guns so big that his shirts never fit quite right. I needed someone who was scary in other ways. The kind of guy who was friendly, maybe a little too friendly. The kind of guy who you knew had struggles with keeping the pounds off himself, yet wasn’t afraid to wear outfits that were just a tad too short and tight in order to keep you on your guard. Freddy is Richard Simmons for Zappos, and teal is Freddy’s Dexatrim. Teal is all about freeing people from the treacherous medieval layer known as “management”, aka overpriced resources. People will self-organize and flourish under the many hues of teal, and cost a lot less cabbage in the process.

The problem I faced was how to look my overweight company in the eye and tell it to hit the gym and lay off the pastries. Remember, I’m all about delivering happiness. That’s kind of hard to do when holding an intervention with the happiest (and possibly fattest, metaphorically speaking, of course) employees on the planet. Freddy to the rescue! I read between the lines of Freddy’s novella and Skype transmission – put out an offer too good to refuse AND too good to be mistaken as a layoff by major media outlets like Quartz and whatever Tumblr site was created a few minutes ago. Freddy said he didn’t want to take credit for this part of my plan. He mentioned that I may have misunderstood our conversation or not read a single page of his very long book with overly small print. I assured him that we were connected better than peanut butter and jelly. I’ve since blocked Freddy on Skype. Friends, like neighbors, need strong fences. Our fence is made of digital steel.

Part 2 coming soon.

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