When Jeffrey finds a profitable business

It’s late. I’m not nervous but anticipating the final numbers. Two numbers, really: 1) The latest financials and 2) the total count of employees taking “the offer” I generously provided to all Zapponians via my teal email. The financials are whatever they are. For the second part of the equation, I bet 5 people total. Arun and I have a wager going. My bet is the ultimate reverse jinx. He put the number at 12 and laid $1,000 on the table. I told him if it goes under 100, forget the bet, I may just commit seppuku in the Zappos Plaza, but not before I get a refund from Freddy for his defective Dexatrim for businesses.

OK, I’ll admit it, I’m a bit rattled. I just got off a call with Jeffrey. I need to get this out there so I can try to catch a couple hours of shuteye.

After finishing a s’more and a couple shots of Absolut around the community campfire, I retired to the trusty old Airstream. I slipped into a pair of my most comfy footed pajamas and curled up in bed reading a chapter of Freddy’s book to help me fall into a deep sleep. Just as I started drifting into a teal dream, I hear my phone buzzing. I reach for it and can see it’s Jeffrey. Nope, not picking that up. Thankfully, he hasn’t been calling daily like he was the first few weeks following my teal email. Even so, he can go into voicemail hell. A minute later and the phone is buzzing again, and, maybe I’m going crazy, but it sounds louder, as if Jeffrey transferred his rage into my phone’s vibration. I maintain Zappos core value #9 and let it go. Maybe 30 seconds pass and a text comes in from none other than Jeffrey, “Call me.” He never leaves texts or voicemails. He expects me and any of his underlings to pick up within two rings. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll resort to an infamous “question mark” email. Taking this into consideration, I call Jeffrey; wincing as I press the button, fully expecting to hear a few seconds of shouting, followed by a hangup.

Jeffrey: Hi Tony

(Long pause)

Me: Hi

Jeffrey: How’s it going?

Me: Ummm…uhhhh…Good. Things are really good.

Jeffrey: That’s great to hear. Listen, I wanted to pick your brain on something.

(Awkward silence)

Jeffrey: You saw the latest earnings. We killed it with AWS. In fact, we killed it so much that I now have a profitable business on my hands and, well, honestly, I’m not sure what to do with that. I mean, I’ll probably crater it with some serious price cuts. Gotta make the Redmond softies continue to chase the chicken and make sure the boy geniuses down in the Valley know we’ll take them to the bottom and then bury them there. But, anyway, for now, I’ve got this biz that’s making some pretty serious cash and I wanted to get your thoughts since you’ve run a profitable operation for a while now.


I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Is this a prank call? Did Jeffrey swallow a handful of opioids? I’m speechless, unsure of how to proceed.

Jeffrey: Tony?

Me: Oh sorry. I’ve been giving the Fire phone another try and I think it cut out there. I…uhhh…I…you know… Is turning a profit so bad?

(Another long awkward pause)

Jeffrey: I hear ya, probably because I’m on the latest Fire phone prototype. It’s killer.
(Shifts to spastic fanboy mode)
It has twice as many cameras as the original and possibly the coolest feature ever. I probably shouldn’t tell you this but… The next Fire phone will have the ability to microwave food! Can you believe that?! Instead of having to get up from your door that rests on two sawhorses…errr…desk, so you can heat up your lunch, you can point your Fire phone at your food and have it piping hot within seconds! Productivity goes through the roof, up to the stratosphere! 3D and microwaving meals with your smart phone. It’s the FUUUTUUUURRRRRE!!!!

(Maniacal Jeffrey laughter)

Who is this guy? He’s being nice to me. He’s asking for my feedback. He’s revealing top secret new product details that he normally holds tighter than life itself. My nerves start to dissipate.

Me: Cool. Really cool. I’d love to see it sometime. You know, I think having this new profitable business is a great turn. Imagine how you can grow this by continuing to WOW customers and make a lot of money in parallel. It’s a win-win. You’re delivering happiness!

(The maniacal laughter comes to a complete halt. The silence is deafening.)

Jeffrey: I see. You want me to join your little commune and settle for making pennies when I’ve been making benjamins. Well, not real benjamins. More like digital ones that go up and down at the speed of light, but… Anyway, point is, you DON’T. GET. IT.

(Looooong pause.)

Jeffrey: You know something, Tony?

Me: Uhhhh…ummmm…





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