Our Common Core: Create Fun And A Little Weirdness
It’s Hump Day. Quite literally.
I’m reminded of the fact not because of the calendar at my desk. Nor my standing lunch meeting every Wednesday at 11 a.m. What reminds me that it’s Hump Day is the camel standing very quietly 10 feet from my desk.
Yes. A real. Live. Camel.
As if the lady in a cape that went dancing past, followed by a guy in a tutu leading a parade wasn’t enough; Zappos’ Fungineers (a team dedicated to creating wacky and weird employee experiences) brought in a camel, aptly named Humphry. Which leads me to shout: Core Value #3 is on the loose!
Core Value #3: Create Fun & A Little Weirdness
Unlike other big companies, Zappos finds value in being fun and a little weird — it’s what makes us, well ... us! Rather than being all corporate and boring like the other guys, we instead inject fun and humor into our daily work and surroundings. Over the years this has come in the form of over-the-top Nerf gun battles, themed new hire parades, and even Tutu Tuesdays.
When you combine fun and weirdness in the office, it ends up being a win-win for everyone; employees become more engaged in the work that they do and the company as a whole becomes more innovative. Sure, it may be a bit unconventional, but hey, we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Fun and weirdness don't just live and breathe within our walls, however! Read on as we reveal four individuals who also get down with being different!
If you don’t know who Lady Gaga is, you’re either dead or, well, you’re dead. She is the epitome of fun and a little weirdness. From her raw meat dress to her Hussein Chalayan-inspired plastic bubble dress, Lady Gaga is not known for her subtleties.
Ms. Gaga has even created a website for her fans, affectionately known as “Little Monsters.” LittleMonsters.com is for all her fans to gather, create and inspire. As she says, “Remember to be brave, be kind, be respectful and most importantly ... be yourself!”
Katy Perry is another singer-songwriter that stands out in the crowd. Her style is fashion forward and fun, wearing a quirky, cloud-inspired jumpsuit with pink fuzzy slippers or her iconic spinning peppermint swirl dress. Growing up with Pentecostal pastors as parents, Perry couldn’t eat Lucky Charms because the term “luck” reminded her mother of Lucifer. She also had to call deviled eggs “angeled eggs.”
Katy is the queen of Twitter, engaging her fans by sharing funny photos and videos in a way that makes them feel Katy is their BFF. Although her fans aren’t called Little Monsters, she fondly refers to them as KatyCats.
Don’t think for a second that fun and a little weirdness belongs to singers of the female persuasion. There are some fun and weird CEOs out there practicing what Zappos preaches!
In July 2016, CEO Michael Dubin sat in his hotel room, still wearing his pajamas, and flipped open his laptop and brought up DocuSign. The $1 billion contract between Dollar Shave Club and Unilever winked at him. He clicked OK and finalized the sale without ever getting out of his pajamas or leaving his hotel room.
Although Dubin sold the Dollar Shave Club in 2016, he was promised by Unilever that nothing would change. Free lunches would still be passed out on Tuesdays, events like bouquet making on Valentine’s Day would still go on, and PlayStations and Nintendos would still be available on a regular basis.
Dollar Shave Club created a 500-member, invite-only panel of long-standing customers to test their new products and give instant feedback.
For the three million-plus clients who aren’t on the panel, they created a funny pamphlet called Bathroom Minutes that come with every delivery. They focus on topics such as “Why Is Everyone on the Internet So Angry?” and “Which Body Parts Can You Grow Back?”
Michael Dubin said, “The most important aspect of culture is how people feel about their role. You need clear financial and spiritual objectives and benefits. If you don’t get that right, it doesn’t matter how many bean bag chairs you have.”
Sir Richard Branson
Did you know that Sir Branson, founder and CEO of Virgin Group, was knighted back in 2000 for his services to entrepreneurship? And, due to his dyslexia, his school’s headmaster told him he’d either end up in prison or become a millionaire. Well, we know which route he went down now, don’t we?
Sir Branson has taken fun and a little weirdness to a whole new level. Some CEOs hide their weirdness but others, like Branson, embrace it. One of his favorite pastimes is hot air ballooning. And not just for a few hours. This guy does transatlantic hot air ballooning! On non-ballooning days, he wakes at 5 a.m, drinks 20 cups of tea a day and always has a notebook by his side. Not the electronic kind, either. He puts pen to paper to write down ideas as they come to him.
He firmly believes that everyone should be able to take time off whenever they want, rather than have policies instituting when and how much vacation someone should get. This system works under the assumption that people will only take as much vacation as they need to get right with their world — both home life and work life. Netflix and Google have also adopted this policy/non-policy.
Are you fun and a little weird? Do your friends and coworkers just shake their heads at you and wonder what planet you call home? Don’t fret. You’re in great company!