[quote style=”boxed”]By sketching out a vision, putting together a smart and moderately weird team that will know how to “make it happen” and executing the details (on the line of benevolent obsession).[/quote]
Jenn Lim is the CEO and Chief Happiness Officer of Delivering Happiness, a company she and Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos) co-created to inspire happiness in work, community, and everyday life.
In 2005, she created the first Culture Book for Zappos – now on its 7th edition – and has produced them ever since. In 2009, Zappos was sold to Amazon.com in a deal valued at $1.2 billion on the day of closing, and in 2011, Zappos was #6 on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. The Culture Book has become a global symbol of how companies can successfully create cultures based on happiness and be profitable at the same time.
In 2010, Jenn led the launch and management of Tony’s first book (Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose) which sold over 280,000 copies worldwide and hit #1 on numerous bestsellers list (including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today). It was voted one of the best business books in 2010 by NPR, Inc. Magazine and the Wall Street Journal, remained on the New York Times list for 27 weeks and has been published in over 17 countries/languages because of her efforts.
With the success of the Culture Book and Delivering Happiness, she’s spoken at companies, universities, and organizations such as Twitter, Pixar, Stanford, UCLA, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, NAWBO, and the American Marketing Association. Prior to becoming CEO and Chief Happiness Officer, Jenn consulted in a number of industries, including the internet, branding, writing, and graphic design.
Today, she’s dedicated to growing the social venture of Delivering Happiness to spread and inspire happiness, day by day.
What are you working on right now?
Growing the DH [Delivering Happiness] movement to inspire more happiness in the world.
What does your typical day look like?
Since I’m traveling about 80% of the time, atypical is something I welcome with open arms (yes, even flight delays). On the road, most of the time it’s me and Tony speaking at events, attending conferences, meeting up with folks and (even though the official tour is over) making experiences happen on the Delivering Happiness bus. In between, it’s pretty much me, my Mifi card and MacBook Air responding to emails and catching up on reading.
3 trends that excite you?
Companies and organizations realizing it’s worth making employees happy – not just because studies show it increases productivity, profit and success, but that it’s the right thing to do in the greater scheme of a global society.
Society’s overall better understanding of technology’s real value – that it’s here to improve our lives, not to be used for the sake of being bigger/faster/better.
After events like the first tech bust in the late 90s, 9/11 and the most recent economic recession, more and more people are going back to the basics of what’s important. We’re not there entirely as a global society, but from stories and experiences we’ve shared through Delivering Happiness, it’s been inspiring to hear how this is happening in our own ways, every day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
By sketching out a vision, putting together a smart and moderately weird team that will know how to “make it happen” and executing the details (on the line of benevolent obsession).
Then, when the time comes to release, I exhale knowing we’ve done all we can and sit back to watch the show. Notes are taken on what went well and what didn’t, then I/we hit the drawing board again.
Watch. Rinse. Repeat.
What inspires you?
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
I usually don’t like following rules or being told what to do. But I remember the time I put liquid instead of solid detergent in the dishwashing machine. It reminded me, sometimes, it pays to follow the rules. Either that or have a sudstopper machine handy.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I like how Method took everyday and oftentimes boring products and made it cool. Hand soap. Fabric softener. Dishwashing detergent (maybe if I had bought theirs, I would’ve read the label). There are so many other everyday/boring products and services out there can be made ‘cool’ (and fun and functional) to use.
What do you read every day? Why?
Email. For better or for worse, it’s a huge component of running DH (and Zappos) and it’s my source of info. I like having different friends with disparate viewpoints from all over the world, telling me what they think is interesting or important. And the fact they range from defenders of what happened during George W. or the purveyors of the next green idea makes it even better.
Just today, I have emails with topics ranging from a $740,000 vodka bottle that comes with a SUV, to a reminder of why I should get the Tdap vaccine (for whooping cough and tetanus).
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
I like going back to books that once made an impact and re-reading it to see what kind of effect it has today. Like a good movie or memory, interpretation always changes. For me, On the Road or Fountainhead.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
iPhone’s camera app. It’s my visual diary.
Plus I like flipping through pictures, especially when I’m on the road. It makes me feel incredibly grateful and lucky to be alive, at that exact moment in time.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
I just had a really fun meeting with him a couple days ago, so he’s fresh in my mind – Chris Lindland, founder of Betabrand.
What is Delivering Happiness going to do from here?
Conquer the world (with happiness, of course:)!
What do you see yourself or Delivering Happiness doing in five years?
I always smile when I hear this question, because if you asked me a year ago what I’d be doing today, there’s a 100% chance I wouldn’t have told you ‘delivering happiness as the CEO of a company I truly believe in.’
Goal-oriented people sometimes find it odd that I can’t answer that. I guess for me, if I can sleep at night knowing the people that mean something (or everything) to my life actually know and feel what they mean to me… I feel complete. As momentarily sad it’d be if I couldn’t experience all this anymore, I’d still be happy knowing this.
The 100 Best Books For Entrepreneurs
Sign up for our emails and we'll send you a list of the 100 best books for entrepreneurs, which we compiled by analyzing over 3,000 interviews.