In today’s WSJ there was a great article about where the entrepreneurial action is in the United States. The article talked about Ogden, Utah, and how outdoor sports gear manufacturers are relocating there to gain access to pristine areas for testing their equipment. This article also talked about the new information technology hot spot, and it is not Bangalore. It is Kansas City. With the promise of a new fiber-optic network techies are flowing to this area to be a part of this new innovation.
Other locations mentioned are Albany, New York and its Nanotechnology, Asheville, North Caroline and its Beer Brewing, and Indianapolis, Indiana with its big drug makers. The point of the article was to show how all of these locations are attempting to help small businesses survive in this chaotic time.
It is nice to focus on the positive for once. Entrepreneurs starting new businesses filled with hope for the future. It is also nice to read how larger companies are taking care of their employees. They get what Jeffrey Pfeffer said about people being the company’s competitive advantage. An example of this is found in Daniel Pink’s book Drive. To develop his argument about the importance of autonomy, and its connection to one’s level of job motivation, he discusses the example of Zappos.
“What Zappos is doing is part of a small but growing move to restore some measure of individual freedom in jobs usually known for the lack of it. For instance, while many enterprises are offshoring work to low-cost providers overseas, some companies are reversing the trend by beginning what’s known as homeshoring. Instead of requiring customer service reps to report to a single large call center, they are routing calls to the employee’s homes. This cuts commuting time for staff, removes them from physical monitoring, and provides far greater autonomy over how they do their jobs.”
It appears this new way of working is successful. Zappos was so successful that Amazon.com decided to purchase the company for $1 Billion dollars. Why would Amazon want to do that? I think the title of Tony Hsieh’s, CEO of Zappos, book tells the story: Delivering Happiness A Path To Profits, Passion, and Purpose. The people that work for Zappos are well cared for, and as a result they give great customer service. This in turn creates a profitable business. The bottom-line, we don’t have to be narcissistic leaders bullying our employees to be successful. Maybe nice guys do finish first?
And that is my thought for the day!