Culture March 14th, 2018

Our Common Core: Be Humble

Dwayne Johnson probably said it best:

"I'm always asked, 'What's the secret to success?' But there are no secrets. Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room."

Let's use myself as an example. No one ever said my job would be easy. I honestly thought it would be, though, because I have such a passion for writing. About anything. About everything. And I am good! Or at least, I thought I was. It's nice to have an editor that brings me down a peg or two every once in a while. Being a humble writer is more satisfying than being a braggadocios one. And being humble gives me more opportunities to learn.

Core Value #10: Be Humble

Country superstar Tim McGraw's song, "Humble and Kind" can often be heard bellowing through the outdoor speakers and into Zappos' central plaza and towards Las Vegas Boulevard. In an ironic way, it speaks to what, and who, we are as a company.

Yes, Zappos is an amazing place with amazing people. Yes, our benefits, perks and opportunities seem endless at times. But no, we don't like to brag about what we've done, who we are or what we have. Every Zapponian carries himself or herself with a quiet confidence because we believe that in the long run, our character will speak for itself.

The same can be said about these four individuals, where a piece of humble pie always requires seconds.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

When I think of Sarah Michelle Gellar, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" immediately comes to mind. The actress also starred in other movies including Scooby-Doo and Cruel Intentions. Even though she and husband Freddie Prinze, Jr. have a net worth of nearly $15 million, they lead a very humble life. It's rare to see them at red carpet events or hots4ots, but when the paparazzi do track them down, they're usually seen spending time with their two kids. Geller clips coupons and is always on the lookout for sale items. She credits her mom with her habits and humble outlook on life, noting that even when you have nothing, you can give back something. Let's just say that Sarah and her family don't take much for granted.


Mother Teresa

I would be truly amiss if I didn't include Mother Theresa when discussing Core Value #10. Mother Teresa, at the ripe age of 12, committed herself to religious life. In 1928, at the age of 18, she left home to join a convent and never saw her mother or sister again. She later founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950, which by 2012 was active in 133 countries and had over 4,500 sisters. The Missionaries of Charity were to care for "the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone." She was canonized in 2016 by the Roman Catholic Church, 19 years after her death.


José "Pepe" Mujica

Uruguay was named the Country of the Year in 2013. Some people believe they were describing former President Mujica instead of the country when they said, "Modest yet bold, liberal and fun-loving." The 78-year-old embodies characteristics that many world leaders fail to emulate. He was frank, fiery and had a bold leadership, gaining international acclaim for pushing policies on cannabis legalization, same-sex marriages and abortion. He fought against excessive consumption, continuing to live in a small one-bedroom farm with his wife and dogs. He donated 90 percent of his salary to charity and practiced what he preached. "I have a way of life that I don't change just because I am a president. I earn more than I need, even if it's not enough for others. For me, it is no sacrifice; it's duty."


When I grow up, I want to be more like Mother Theresa and Jose Mujica. I want to embrace those around me that have little or nothing and give of my time and services and wealth. And I want to emulate Dwayne Johnson by being humble and hungry. And striving to be the hardest worker in the room.

I hope that this series of articles highlighting Zappos' core values give you some insight into what our company believes, how employees live their lives, and how those around us embrace these same values. Remember to always stay humble and kind.