Culture September 1st, 2017

Our Common Core: Be Adventurous, Creative And Open-Minded

“An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid of failing.”

As was once said by Edwin Land, renowned scientist and inventor of the Polaroid camera.

I also believe that being creative requires one to stretch their wings and be adventurous and open-minded. If Leonardo Da Vinci weren't adventurous, he never would have climbed on scaffolding to paint the Sistine Chapel. If Robert Glen hadn’t been creative, he never would have created his Mustangs sculpture. And if Steve Jobs weren't open-minded, Apple would have remained a classic American dessert.

Core Value #4: Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-Minded

At Zappos, we think it’s important for people and the company as a whole to be bold and daring. We want everyone to take risks and make mistakes, because if people aren’t making mistakes, then that means they’re not taking enough risks. We encourage people to make mistakes as long as they learn from them. We never want to become complacent and accept the status quo just because that’s the way things have always been done.

Zapponians are told to always seek adventure and to explore new possibilities. Sometimes our sense of adventure and creativity causes us to be unconventional in our solutions (because we have the freedom to think outside the box), but that’s what allows us to rise above and stay ahead of the competition.

As in the examples above, Core Value #4 embodies so many traits. Let’s see if we can find who else carries this ethos from within!

Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls doesn’t sit idle and watch the world pass by. He started his first mountaineering club when he was in college and learned to climb and sail with his dad, who was a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron in England. Grylls learned to skydive as a teenager, earned a black belt in karate and speaks English, Spanish and French. If that isn’t enough, he climbed Mount Everest at the ripe old age of 23. On his TV show, “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” he uses his creative skills when he obtained fecal liquid from elephant dung, ate deer droppings and field dressed a camel carcass to drink water from it. Not only is Grylls adventurous and creative, but he would also HAVE to be open-minded to do all those crazy stunts!

Nellie Bly

Elizabeth Jane Cochran, who went by the pen name Nellie Bly, was a journalist, industrialist and charity worker who defied the ideals of the day. In 1888, Bly suggested to her editor that she take a record-breaking boat trip around the world, attempting to turn Jules Vernes’ fictional tale "Around the World in Eighty Days" into fact. Seventy-two days later, she succeeded. And talk about being adventurous and creative, Bly faked insanity to investigate reports of brutality and neglect on Blackwell’s Island at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum. A fascinating read, you can find out more about her adventure here.

Elon Musk

When I hear the name Elon Musk, I instinctively think of science fiction characters. The man is a legend, a creative thinker, an adventurer and open-minded. If he weren't, he wouldn’t have created or co-founded Tesla, the first electric car; SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer; and SolarCity Corporation, a company specializing in solar energy services. The man is brilliant, driven and made Forbes’ 2016 list of “Global Game Changers.”

Musk doesn’t let work deter him from diving into more adventurous pastimes, however. In 2015, Musk and his wife, Talulah Riley, spent the day walking on suspended airplane wings with the Breitling Wingwalking team in Hampshire, England.

Ben Huh

If you’ve never seen a cat meme, then you’ve probably never heard of the website I Can Has Cheezburger. That’s tragic for you. Huh, the former CEO of I Can Haz Cheezburger) always wanted to have an internet career, and after a few ups and downs, he found the Cheezburger website and befriended the two owners. In 2007, he got together with a group of angel investors and purchased Cheezburger, which, at the time was getting 500,000 views daily. Huh noted this “was fantastic for a cat picture site that nobody understood.” In 2011, Cheezburger was receiving 375 million page views a month.

Considering Ben Huh is allergic to cats, this makes him adventurous, creative and open-minded in my book! Ben is now enjoying the good life, traveling the world. He should hook up with Elon Musk and do a little wing-walking!

So, are you ready to take on the backcountry with limited supplies, or travel around the world by vessel? Maybe you’re sitting at your desk thinking about the creative things you could do with Post-it notes. In the comments below, show us your adventurous, creative and open-minded side. DO IT! Do it now!