Evolve Chronicles September 10th, 2020

Comfort, The Enemy Of Progress

On this day, Zappos athletes would have hit the trail for the 25th annual 8,000 Meter Challenge. This event, like so many in 2020, was cancelled because of COVID and social distancing. This post is dedicated to my friend and mentor, Mark Fulton.

Comfort, The Enemy Of Progress

My industry friend and mentor, Mark Fulton, used to say, “Your comfort zone makes you comfortable and whatever you're comfortable with, you'll end up not doing anything about.”

Too many of us settle for less. Too many of us grow complacent; too afraid to try something new, so we lock ourselves in a comfort zone (because after all, it’s safe there). We all get in a rut every now and again and that’s okay! However, it’s when we nestle into a perfectly comfortable comfort zone that our problems with progress begin. Comfort is the enemy of progress.

Sometimes change is thrust upon us, other times we have to create the change. Either way change is inevitable.

Let's Explore

Are you nestled in the comfortable? Is your team a little more complacent than you want them to be? Is there no sense of urgency to improve? Is your business stale and needs a refresh? If so, it’s time to disrupt yourself; it's time to disrupt your business. It's time to get out of this space and enable yourselves the freedom and flexibility to become something so much better.

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”

- J.P. Morgan


Why Evolution Is So Important For Our Business

It is hard enough to find an idea that can disrupt any industry ripe for change. These days, add the complexities of running a good business, innovative and progressive technologies, along with the ever-changing landscape of new and evolving competitors, it is even harder to survive the internal and external pressures of building a long-term, sustainable business. Becoming a well-known brand and trusted business takes years of dedication, persistence, expertise, and a whole lot of luck.

By now, you know the story of how Zappos got started and not only became the web’s most popular shoe store, but a great e-commerce business that is “powered by service”.

This success wasn’t just built from a relentless focus of selling shoes and providing customers a great service, it came from consciously committing to raising the bar in everything we did. Our company has always been driven to continuously building a bigger and better brand year over year, one that both employees and consumers love and trust.

That is exactly what you need to do to survive a world where the average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 is only 14 years (and falling) and a host of famous brands has disappeared from the list of successful companies, only to be replaced by progressive disruptors.

While it’s remarkable that Zappos has always been able to lean on a strong e-commerce business, we’ve always believed that we may not always be afforded this luxury. In today’s world, the awareness and understanding that any business, including ours, can be disrupted at any time is not optional, it is critical. Although it's always been in Zappos' DNA to build a diverse and long-term sustainable company, the time has come to make it even more explicit.

In today’s world, the awareness and understanding that any business, including ours, can be disrupted at any time is not optional, it is critical.

Since the beginning of Zappos’ time, we have taken explicit strides to slow or eliminate the common fates that most companies of our age and size contend with: slowing innovation, growth, and progress, a disengaged and complacent workforce, layers and layers of management that lead to centralized power, entitlement, and bottle-necked decision-making, etc... (and that’s just to name a few).

The next phase of this incredible journey, “Building a company that stands the test of time” is now here and enables Zappos to continue the momentum we’ve created to get here in the first place. While things have never been perfect (and will never be), we have seized a great deal of knowledge over the years that gives us the tools, experiences, and mindset we need to build a successful Zappos of tomorrow, one our grandchildren will be proud to work for.