List Headline Image
Updated by Stan Phelps on Jan 12, 2018
Headline for Yellow Goldfish Project
Stan Phelps Stan Phelps
8 items   1 followers   0 votes   23 views

Yellow Goldfish Project

A yellow goldfish is anytime a business does a little extra to contribute to the happiness of its customers, employees or society. These examples are part of a crowd sourcing project powering the upcoming book, Yellow Goldfish by Stan Phelps and Rosaria Cirillo (launching 09/18/18).

Engineering Happiness at Zappos

His job is to design activities that keep employees smiling — and loyal to the company.

Tyler Williams, 33, is the head of experiential marketing for Zappos, an online retailer based in Las Vegas.

Q. In the language of Zappos, you’re called a fun-gineer. Why?

A. Our chief of staff dug up the title for me. My job is to bring joy and smiles to Zappos’s 1,500 employees. (Without the hyphen, by the way, I’d be a technician of fungi.) For example, I built an instant dance party in the company lobby. It works like this: When you push a button with a sign under it that says, “Don’t ever push this button,” lights go on and music blares. My position comes within our brand aura department, which is similar to other companies’ brand marketing departments.

Zappos sells shoes and clothing online. How did you get a job there?

In truth, I did not have work experience related to anything at Zappos. I’d been a professional drummer since high school, had built stages and knew audiovisual technology. I had heard it’s easier to get accepted to Harvard than to get a job at Zappos. I took the creative route and wrote, starred in and produced a video about the company’s 10 core values. Once hired, my first job was at the customer call center.

That doesn’t sound like a good fit for a creative type like you. Was it?

Not exactly. But the job I applied for was filled internally. That made me admire the company for its integrity to promote from within. Everyone — even our C.E.O., Tony Hsieh — has worked the customer services lines. After six months, I became a new-employee trainer.

How did that eventually evolve into your current position?

Because I was handy with constructing things, I became known for developing and executing fun ideas. The turning point was when Tony was preparing to give a speech for Amazon in his apartment. He needed to show the video in three rooms simultaneously. I knew how to do that. That’s when a light went on in Jamie Naughton’s head. She’s our chief of staff, and suggested I write my own job description. Jamie started calling me a fun-gineer, and it stuck.

Do you miss playing drums?

I managed to create a musical opportunity for myself and the many other musicians working at Zappos. We set up a music stage in the trailer park where a lot of employees, including Tony, live. Once a month, musicians show up to jam. We call it Open Air. I don’t miss the life of a musician on the road at all, so this is a wonderful compromise.

Being Inspired at IDEO

“It’s your job to be inspired.”
That simple phrase rang in my ears. Paul Bennett, a passionate creative and colleague, noticed that I had fallen into a slump, and asked me to join him for breakfast. What he offered wasn’t fortune cookie advice. It was an imperative, a mandate, a Jedi moment.
When designing something new is your job, you can’t just wait for inspiration to strike, he said. You have to go after it.
At IDEO, projects span from 3 weeks to several months—short and intense sprints that range across a variety of industries. Somehow between two of my projects, I had stepped into the mire of creative despondency. I wasn’t feeling generative or inspired. Worse, I had become distracted by those haunting voices of self-doubt—“Are you good enough,” and “Are you really doing enough”—the grime of the dark side.
To get unstuck, I turned to my Jedi Master guides—three innovative leaders who I greatly admire: Paul Bennett (Curiosity Chronicles), Diego Rodriguez (Metacool), and Tim Brown (Design Thinking).
I was driven by a single question: What inspires those who inspired me?
They seemed inexhaustible in their ability to get others excited about new ideas—never disengaged or tired of whatever they were working on. I emerged with three guiding principles for how to stay inspired.
“You must unlearn what you have learned.” — Yoda
Remember your childhood wonders—half material, half magical? Your creativity wasn’t pretentious. It wasn’t contrived. It was driven by pure curiosity. Somewhere along the way, as you got older, you lost that force, or buried it. But cultivating curiosity sets us back on a path of discovery. It pushes us out of the realm of complacency, and opens us again to the (im)possible. There lots of ways to stoke it. One way I recommend is taking a human centered design approach to problem solving (download the Human Centered Design Toolkit as a start).
#2: DO
“In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.” — Obi Wan Kenobi
I got my next bit of Jedi wisdom on a walk with Diego Rodriguez, an insightful design leader here at IDEO. As we talked about doing great work, he said, “The truth is, I’m most inspired when I’m producing, not consuming.” Instead of just putting down work that is uninspiring and waiting for some answer, he said, I’d be more likely to alight upon solutions by picking up something entirely different—something creative, generative, or simply active. It’s important to unfocus sometimes, and allow space for other ideas, outside the specific challenge, to help your work along. In other words, don’t just wait around for inspiration, mine for it.
“You will find only what you bring in.” — Yoda
There is something to be said for connecting the dots. I was chatting with Tim Brown, the third of my Jedi Masters, and asked him, “How do you stay inspired when you’ve seen it all?”
He seemed genuinely surprised. “Me? No way! I’m always trying to find ways to connect interesting things that initially seem unrelated.” Figuring out how disparate things relate to one another often uncovers something entirely new, he said.
Not long after these talks, I got out of my rut. Not by identifying what inspires, but by figuring out how to stay engaged. I now follow the gerunds: searching, doing, and reflecting, to find inspiration and bring it in.

Confessions of A Fully Supported Employee

What is the formula for high employee retention? Read this personal account of one employee's journey to discovering professional and personal fulfillment.

I love my job.

Sure, 15Five pays me to write blog posts that positively show our company culture and product. But I mean it, I genuinely love working here:

– My colleagues are brilliant and inspiring.

– I am treated with respect, and am fully supported by management in my personal and professional goals.

– I am celebrating my one year work-a-versary and have evolved from who I was when I joined the company.

You may be saying to yourself, “Employee retention is a challenge, and recruiting and hiring is expensive and time-consuming. How can I create an environment where my employees love the company and their work?”

The answer is simple: week after week, company leaders provide me the space to do my best work and to evolve into the best version of myself.1

They do that by regularly asking a handful of questions about my goals and my ideas. They check-in with how I am feeling. They gather information and respond with supportive feedback instead of just making assumptions and perpetuating disconnection.

Replicating that environment in your workplace is easier than you think.

…And Justice For No One
I wasn’t always this excited about the company I worked for. Like you, I have had my share of lousy jobs.

While I am currently a content manager, I am also technically a lawyer. I am not licensed to practice law but if I wanted to feed my ego, I could put the illustrious “J.D.” after my name on my business card.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the JuryAt one time grand visions of a legal career floated in my head. I saw myself in a three piece pin-stripe suit pacing before the jury. In my reverie, I pause to check my pocketwatch and hurl question after question at a witness in my southern accent (I do not have a southern accent, but in this dream I am channeling Atticus Finsch – so sue me).

I make the witness quiver with fear, exposing their lies with my rock-solid cross examination. A hushed awe fills the courtroom as I proclaim, “no further questions, your honor.”

In reality I would wake up every morning before heading to the law office, dry heaving as I brushed my teeth. The lawyer I worked for was impatient, rude and downright mean. The thought of going to work made me sick to my stomach.

Dream Job Turned Nightmare
I arrived at work (not in a 3-piece suit, but a cheap button-down and a hand-me-down tie). I would creep quietly towards my office, praying that my boss was on a call or in court so that I wouldn’t have to talk to him.

I was working as a contractor, a legal assistant being groomed to one day take over his firm. I was a hard-worker: offering litigation support for two different law firms and moonlighting as a waiter. All while finishing my law degree.

I could tell in our meetings that my boss was holding back rage for even the smallest flaw in performance, perhaps waiting to unleash once I agreed to come on full time. I was almost never recognized, only chastised.

Have you heard the saying, “people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses”? Well, eventually the stress got to me and I quit.

During my exit interview, I was finally asked about my experience. I said that family law was too adversarial and intense for me. My boss didn’t believe me and he kept prodding me for more information. I imagined that countless others had similarly left his employ, too afraid or embarrassed to confront him about how he treated people.

The experience soured my desire to be a famous litigator from the south. I grabbed my briefcase and my six-figure education debt and walked on.

Communication Breakdown
The meandering river of fate, landed me on the shores of the online dating industry. I was trained in direct-response marketing, and felt more supported in my work. But I wasn’t being encouraged to become my best self or align with my zone of genius as a writer.

I wrote email copy that waxed romantic about first kisses, long walks on the beach, and couples rolling around on a blanket in the throes of passion. I wanted our would-be customers to feel hopeful about making connections. I proudly forwarded my work to my marketing director.

“No”, she responded.

“No, what? It’s too long? Not romantic enough?”

“David, you have to make people feel lonely, sad, bad about themselves. From a place of desperation they will sign up for our product.”
That type of communication was such a departure from who I am as a person. I didn’t want to manipulate people so I shifted into a new role – project manager.

What could possibly go wrong there?

Ooooh Ooooh Ooooh Love Hurts
I was so excited for my new role! Wow, I thought, I can make our product better so that people will find each other and fall in love. I can heal the world by connecting people, I can make a difference!

Love Ain't Free“David, that’s not exactly what we need to do. We need you to gate certain features of the product so that people are prompted to pay.”

“Hmmm…well that sounds alright. I want the company to succeed financially. What features?”

“Text, chat, messaging, and winks.”

“So every feature that allows people to actually communicate with another human being using our ‘free’ service?”


So long dating site, hello freelance copywriting!

Employee Support = Employee Retention
I was scared to leave my secure job to go out on my own as a contractor. I also knew that I was a skilled writer, and I trusted that clients would emerge from within my network. Pretty soon I had more work than I could handle.

My biggest client, was a company that developed team communication and employee feedback software. I had experienced work environments where communication breakdowns caused employee attrition, poor morale, and lack of engagement and productivity. Now I was part of a movement to end all that through an agile software application. I believe in the product but that’s not what got me to seek full-time employment at 15Five.

After working as a contractor for only two months, I went on a week-long work retreat in Sedona to meet the rest of our globally distributed team. We all shared vulnerable information about ourselves including our personal goals. I said how grateful I was to be honing my skills as a writer at 15Five, skills that were feeding into my personal goal of publishing a novel.

Three weeks later, out of the blue, I received this email from our CEO:

David Hassell 15Five Email Support Employees

That was it for me. I knew that my search for a fulfilling job had ended. A month later I was a full-time employee.

I continue to be supported as I write my novel. The company has paid for creative writing classes, and they check-in on my progress often. I have a strong desire to continue working here for as long as I can give my greatest gifts and contribute to the realization of our mission.

And all it took was one little question.

-David Mizne

Designing Happiness

Designing Happiness
How to achieve happiness in your career and create experiences that inspire happiness in others.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being invited to give a guest lecture at a California College of the Arts design class. The week’s topic was happiness.
Happiness in design comes from contributing to a greater good — getting rid of your ego and aligning yourself with a goal that’s bigger than you.

From left to right: Shalin Amin, Daniel Burka, Soleio Cuervo, Mia Blume, & Brynn Evans
Earlier this year, Google hosted a design conference called Form. There was a panel about Talent & Hiring — a topic that I am particularly excited about since I’ve been very involved in it at Facebook. In the panel, Daniel Burka mentioned something that was particularly insightful, so I tweeted what he said and added the conference’s hashtag:

Thanks to Burka’s unapologetic poignance, the tweet got a bunch of attention from other conference attendees, so a lot of people saw it… among them was Benny, who replied with a slightly more aggressive tweet:

I don’t follow Benny and he doesn’t follow me. In fact, we have never interacted on Twitter. Yet he felt the need to attack me personally.
But it didn’t stop there. Benny kept going, digging through old dribbble shots and mocking them. This went on all night, without any response from me.
Maybe Benny was jealous that he didn’t get invited to the conference. Maybe he saw my work and was enraged that it wasn’t to the standard he thought Facebook deserved. Maybe he was just drunk for attention.
It really doesn’t matter why this happened. The point is:
Adversity doesn’t always come from a place of reason, or a place you can control.
Gaining validation and respect from your peers is important, but it shouldn’t be your primary motivation. Too many people are distracted by follower counts, likes, and comments.
If you put all your self-value in your personal image, you’re bound to find disappointment. In order to achieve happiness, you must pursue ideas bigger than you, bigger than any single one of us.
True happiness is not attained through self-gratification,
but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. — Helen Keller
I believe you should always be vulnerable as a designer. You should assume your work is not perfect, expect that you have not yet found the best solution and welcome criticism along the way. However, this can prove to be very taxing, especially if you see your design as the end goal of your contribution to a project. Visuals will quickly become out of date and interaction patterns will change and fade away (remember those sexy carpet textures?). What should remain constant is your commitment to a worthy cause. Happiness is almost always linked to purpose — the reason why you do something, not necessarily the praise you’ll get (or not) for the way in which you go about doing it.
Purposeful Design
At Facebook, that purpose is to make the world more open and connected. This is a map of all the connections made through Facebook as of 2010:

It’s amazing! You can almost see the whole world drawn through these connections. However, there are parts of the world that are still missing; China is almost completely absent and there are large portions of Africa that need to be filled in, too.
Here’s a video that better illustrates what I mean:

That was, a project led by Facebook to bring the internet to everyone in the world and give them access to the knowledge economy.
These and many other ideas alike are what drives us at Facebook. This is important because we constantly sacrifice our ego in service of these aspirations. You could put a ton of time into something and it could suddenly get killed, goals might change, or team members might leave or lose interest. This is obviously frustrating because you immediately question the time you’ve spent on that project: I now have nothing to show for the work I’ve done. Did I just waste X months of my life?
But the bigger goal is more important than your individual output or whether or not your name gets attached to it. Unveiling a new product is sexy, but the true learnings lie in the things we choose not to ship.
Every individual step you take informs the company’s path towards achieving its mission.
This is why choosing a mission that closely aligns with a future in which you’d like to live in is paramount to achieving self-realization in your career.
How to inspire happiness in others
So, once you’ve defined your goal and are ready to go, how do you create experiences that inspire happiness in others? The answer lies in this book:

Designing forEmotion, by Aarron Walter.
This is one of the best design books I’ve read. It’s part of the A Book Apart series — a must read for any designer out there.
In his book, Aarron Walter tweaks Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and adapts it for product design:

At the lowest level, a product has to be functional. If a product doesn’t work at all, users wont use it. Once a product is functional, it has to be reliable. If your product is only available intermittently, users won’t trust it. They’ll leave for other sites that can do the same thing more reliably.
UX deals with making products usable and pushing them beyond that to pleasurable. Without the underlying layer of reliability to build upon, a site won’t ever get to the stage of being usable. You can’t use a site that you can’t access, and you certainly can’t enjoy it!
Ok, that’s great but… how can I create experiences that inspire happiness in others?
Cue in Ira Glass, an American public radio personality and the host and producer of the radio and television show, This American Life.
He talks about the gap between your work and your taste and how the only way we can get through it is by continuously doing a lot of work.
Let’s take a look:

I swear I think about this every day. I’m not yet the designer I aim to be, but I have been lucky to work on projects that have touched a few lives in a modest way. I’m happy to continue the pursuit of a mission I feel passionate about and motivates me to get up and go to work every day.

Passion, Not Perks

friend from a Fortune 500 company called me recently. “Our CEO wants us to be more innovative,” she said. “He asked me to call you because Google is known for having an innovative culture. One of his ideas is to set up a ‘creativity room’ where we have a foosball table, beanbags, lava lamps, and lots of snacks so people can come up with crazy ideas. What do you think? How does Google do it?”

My friend and her CEO were clearly familiar with the Google perks that get all the press: The free cafes, the funky offices, and the games. What they weren’t familiar with are the three components of our culture that really make our company different. Moreover, my personal belief is that these three components are relevant and applicable to almost any organization, because they describe the conditions necessary (although not sufficient) to foster creative, committed, and innovative teams.


We spend more time working than we do on almost any other activity in our lives. People want all that time to mean something. Other companies make similar products, and yet our employees tell us that they are drawn to Google because being here means something more than ‘just’ searching the internet or linking friends.

Mission statements are easy to write, but difficult to realize. Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. That’s nice rhetoric, but how do you make it mean something? Because our mission is a bottom-up encapsulation of what excites Googlers, it creates an arena where data and people can be brought together in surprising ways, ranging from Speak2Tweet (the voicemail-to-Twitter application launched during the Egyptian revolution) to a father sending his daughter a twenty-first-century message in a bottle (as seen in our ‘Dear Sophie’ campaign for Chrome – check it out on YouTube).

The translation of our mission into something real and tangible has a huge effect on who decides to join Google, how much engagement and creativity they bring to this place, and even on how they feel and behave after leaving.


‘Default to open’ is a phrase sometimes heard in the open-source community. Chris Grams from Red Hat defined defaulting to open as “…rather than starting from a point where you choose what to share, start[ing] from a point where you choose what not to share.” Google didn’t create this concept, but it’s safe to say we ran with it.

We share everything we can. We have a weekly all-hands meeting called TGIF, hosted by our founders, Larry and Sergey. In the first 30 minutes, we review news and product launches from the past week, demo upcoming products, and celebrate wins. But the second 30 minutes is the part that matters most: Q&A.

Everything is up for question and debate, from the trivial (“Larry, now that you’re CEO will you start wearing a suit?” The answer was a definite ‘no’), to the ethical (“Is Google going in the right direction?”). A few weeks into every quarter, our Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, presents to all Googlers virtually the exact materials that were presented to our Board of Directors at their last meeting. Our intranet includes product roadmaps, launch plans, and employee snippets (weekly status reports), alongside employee and team OKRs (quarterly goals) so that everyone can see what everyone else is working on. We share everything, and trust Googlers to keep the information confidential.

And if you think about it, if you’re an organization that says ‘our people are our greatest asset,’ you must default to open. It’s the only way to demonstrate to your employees that you believe they are trustworthy adults and have good judgment. And giving them more context about what is happening (and how, and why) will enable them to do their jobs more effectively and contribute in ways a top-down manager couldn’t anticipate.


Believing in a greater good and knowing what’s going on are important, but people then need to be able to translate their beliefs and knowledge into action. We try to have as many channels for expression as we can, recognizing that different people – and different ideas – will percolate up in different ways. The channels include direct emails to any of our leaders; TGIF; various sites and listservs; Google+ conversations (of course); the Google Universal Ticketing Systems (‘GUTS’ – which is a way to file issues about anything, and is then reviewed for patterns or problems, similar to New York City’s 311 line); ‘FixIts’ (24-hour sprints where we drop everything and focus 100 percent of our energy on solving a specific problem); and a wide range of surveys.

But just as important as generating input is doing something with it. We regularly survey employees about their managers, and then use that information to publicly recognize the best managers and enlist them as teachers and role models for the next year. The worst managers receive intense coaching and support, which helps 75 percent of them get better within a quarter.

We spend more time working than we do on almost any other activity in our lives. People want all that time to mean something.
Our largest survey, ‘Googlegeist,’ solicits feedback on hundreds of issues and then enlists volunteer employee teams across the entire company to solve the biggest problems. A new engineering-to-product management rotation program, and the across-the-board salary increases we provided at the beginning of the year, are just two recent examples of programs that have come out of Googlegeist.

Some people will argue that giving employees so much information and such a loud voice leads to anarchy, or to a situation where, since everyone’s opinion is valued, unanimity is impossible, as anyone can object and derail an effort; an environment where 10,000 people can say ‘no’ but no one can say ‘yes.’ The reality is that every issue needs a decision maker. Managed properly, the result of these approaches is not some transcendent moment of unanimity. Rather, it is a robust, data-driven discussion that brings the best ideas to light, so that when a decision is made it leaves the dissenters with enough context to understand and respect the rationale for the decision, even if they disagree with the outcome.

I was at a dinner of Chief HR Officers once and one told me, “Well of course Google can do this. You guys have great margins. I’m in a business with low single-digit margins. I can’t afford cafes or TGIFs or any of the things you do.” He was right that he couldn’t afford the cafes, but the cafes don’t actually have anything to do with it. Before I could reply, another person jumped in and said, “What are you talking about? Most of what makes Google’s culture work is free.” She was right. The bulk of what we do to cultivate this creative, passionate workforce costs nothing. Making our mission tangible is a natural outcome of who we are. Defaulting to open and giving Googlers a voice is a natural consequence of acting in accordance with what we believe about people.

And personally, I believe this is an insight about the human condition. People look for meaning in their work. People want to know what’s happening in their environment. People want to have some ability to shape that environment. Mission. Transparency. Voice. These three components of our culture create a virtuous cycle of attraction, community, engagement, and innovation.

With all this in mind, I turned back to my friend on the phone. I told her a bit about how Google thinks about these issues, and suggested that perhaps their CEO could try videotaping his staff meetings and sharing the recordings with people so they can see what’s going on in the company and what’s important to their leaders. “No,” she replied, “we’d never do that.”

How about having junior people attend leadership team meetings as note-takers, and they could then be vectors for that knowledge across the company? “No, we couldn’t share that information with junior people.”

Hmm… Okay. What about when the CEO does employee meetings, seeding the audience with the tough, provocative questions that people are afraid to ask. No? A different angle is to have a suggestion box – which she thought might work – and then each quarter let a self-nominated group of employees decide what suggestions to implement. And maybe even giving them a budget to do so? “Oh no, that won’t work. Who knows what they might do?” At which point I wished her luck with the beanbags and lava lamps.

-Lazlo Bock

To Obama With Love, and Hate, and Desperation

On a recent October morning in the White House mailroom, on the ground floor of the Executive Office Building just beside a loading dock, 10 interns sat at two long tables, each trying to get through 300 letters. Grab a bundle, sit down and read. It was pretty straightforward: Read. A girl doesn’t want her mom to be deported, and can the president please help? A guy finally admits to his wife that he’s gay, and now he would like to tell the president. A car dealer writes to say his bank is shutting him down, and thanks for nothing, Mr. President. A vet who can’t stop seeing what he saw in Iraq writes a barely intelligible rant that makes his point all the more intelligible: “Help.” An inmate admits to selling crack to all those people but he wants the president to know he is not a lost cause: “I have dreams Mr. President, big dreams.” A man can’t find a job. A woman can’t find a job. A teacher with advanced certification can’t find a damn job. A lesbian couple just got married; thank you, Mr. President. A man sends his medical bills, a woman sends her student-loan statements, a child sends her drawing of a cat, a mother sends her teenager’s report card — straight A’s, isn’t that awesome, Mr. President?

"Happiest Chewbacca Mom" story: 8 learnings about Happiness & CEXP - Wow Now

In May 2016 Candace Payne’s Happiest Chewbacca Mom video went viral in no time with pivotal lessons about how happiness can drive growth

  1. “It’s the simple joys in life…” Candace’s description of her video is spot on. Her authentic laugh & joy is why her video is so engaging to watch. Candace is a real person, a human being which in 4 minutes, while sitting in the car park of KOHL’S, totally takes us into her life. As a mother I could immediately relate to her experience at many levels: finally taking a moment to buy myself a birthday gift, letting this gift be a toy which usually would be for kids, knowing that the kids will take it over (I continuously get even my office items confiscated by my kids) and that she can eventually take it back to her room as soon as they put it in one of their toy boxes. I also have a toy which I bought for my baby 5 years ago just because I loved how it was saying “wriccapukketio” and I’m still keeping it because it makes me laugh every time I play it!
    Candace is one of us, she is authentic, she is brave in her sharing, she is looking at the camera talking to her friends, people who love her and she loves back. We trust her and feel a connection with her. Her laugh has an immediate “happiness ripple effect” for anyone watching. It’s contagious! For the 4 minutes of this video, we can all relate to Candace, and we all feel to be her friends: that is what makes this video so special to re-share

  2. Facebook Live is a feature that is only three months old, yet is already completely changing our way of communicating and engaging with our friends and acquaintance, and even with total strangers, increasing exponentially possibilities of “butterfly effect“.

    The quote “When a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world it can cause a hurricane in another part of the world” never seemed more truthful.

  3. Candace had initially gone into KOHL’S to make “a couple of returns”, clothes that didn’t fit her because too big.
    While this is all Candace’s mentions about it, I assume that these returns were enough of an easy, fast and pleasant experience, which made her have the time, energy and will to stay longer in KOHL’s and buy herself a gift!

  4. This video is Awesome and even more awesome, especially for me as CEX Professional and Happiness Driven Growth Evangelist, is what the retailer KOHL’S did afterward. They very quickly and promptly reacted, taking the chance to deliver Candace a WOW customer experience that made her entire family happy. Candace had given the Internet the best laugh of the year, and they wanted to do something in return.

    This is real Customer Engagement, this is making your customers Happy, this is making a little difference in someone’s life! It’s proactive, it’s acknowledging of the difference this customer is making to KOHL’S, and it truly makes someone’s day.

  5. Just a few days before, KOHL’S had announced declining sales and profit, attributing that to bad advertising choices. They also had announced to move away from digital marketing and invest more again in printing advertisement instead. The video of KOHL’S gifts to Candace has gone viral too with 22,5 M views & people are Tweeting thank you message to KOHL’S for “giving back” to the woman who contributed to everyone happiness with her laugh! This is an amazing and unexpected turn of events.

    This is the best new form of advertising! Advertising that uses (a small) budget to give tangible value to its customers, contributing to someone’s happiness. Traditional TV commercial add no real value to anyone’s life, at maximum they can make us smile if they are really good.

  6. This video had an immediate impact on sales! Everyone wanted to FEEL the same joy & happiness Candace feels in her video, even if we don’t like Star Wars.
    @Victoria_Lynn84 Unfortunately, we do not have any information on when/if the Chewbacca mask will be restocked. Sorry for any inconvenience.
    — Kohl’s (@Kohls) May 21, 2016
    Because we all felt like being Candace’s friends (see learning 2) we trusted her recommendations both for the item and for the retailer. Not only KOHL’S shelves quickly ran out of Chewbacca’s mask (and I would be curious to learn about the cross-sales effects on other items people bought once in the shop), but even Amazon sales skyrocket by more than 1,300,000%

    Since we are all pursuing happiness and all we want is happiness, happiness does drive sales and has a real impact on companies sales and profits, hence on their growth. We buy products or experiences not because of what they do, but because of how they make us FEEL and we want to feel HAPPY. We trust our friends’ recommendations and, often, emulate their purchases or experiences.

  7. KOHL’S ran out of stock in all of their stores, online including warehouses. They are doing a great job at answering every Tweet request on this, but unfortunately, they don’t have updates on when the mask will be restocked. This reminded me of Walmart 1 million American flag sales in the days following 9/11, an example which I described back in 2002 in my master thesis on CEXP: Walmart was able to do so thanks to its real-time monitoring of the demand, thanks an automated system of re-ordering as soon as stock was below a critical level and thanks to its partnership relationships with the suppliers and shipping companies involved. This time I was quite surprised to see that even Walmart seems to have run out of stock, missing out on this amazing sales opportunity and leaving plenty of loyal customers disappointed and forced to keep looking elsewhere. I’m curious to see which retailer will step up in the upcoming days, before this impulsive desire to get a Chewbacca electronic mask fades off.

    When companies’ systems are not good enough to identify demand picks and restock quickly, we not only loose out on potential sales but we also upset customers and create a chance for them to go searching and buying elsewhere. Inventory management & supply chain are a key element of delivering an amazing CEXP and of enabling sales and resulting business growth.

  8. This entire “Happiest Chewbacca Mom” story:
    shows how everything starts with emotions (a desire to feel an emotion, a simple action that triggers an emotion, the sharing of that emotion that makes so many other people feel the same emotion),
    proves that the delivery of amazing Customer Experience and consequent exponential business growth require an orchestrated effort from everyone and every function in the company: front-lines employee at every retail store locations, returns policies, marketing, supply chain, digital, social media, suppliers…

My tips for happiness in 2018 | Virgin

I’m often asked: What is the key to success? My answer is always simple: happiness. Happiness should be everyone’s goal, but I understand that it can seem out of reach, with many, for instance, affected by mental health problems that alter their outlook on life. 

  • Listly By

    Stan Phelps is a Forbes Contributor, IBM Futurist, and TEDx Speaker. His keynotes and workshops offered at focus on how to create meaningful differentiation to win the hearts of both employees and customers. He’s the best-selling author of: Purple Goldfish -12 Ways to Win Customers and Influence Word of Mouth, Green Goldfish - Beyond Dollars: 15 Ways to Drive Employee Engagement, Golden Goldfish - The Vital Few, Blue Goldfish - Using Technology, Data, and Analytics to Drive Both Profits and Prophets, Purple Goldfish Service Edition - The 12 Ways Hotels, Restaurants and Airlines Win the Right Customers, and Red Goldfish - Motivating Sales & Loyalty With Shared Passion and Purpose. Connect with me at or +1.919.360.4702.

  • Tagged With

  • Tools