Here are the highlights of our conversation with our guest:
- Getting to know Aki’s background from being originally from Japan but born in Guatemala, having a Japanese dad and a mom from Central America. He also shares going to college in the US, getting a job in LinkExchange which was acquired by Microsoft, and his initial hesitations in joining Zappos.
- How Aki was led by his roommate, who was then a Computer Science major, to the engineering space.
- The pivots and transitions that he made when he worked in Zappos and some challenging things that they had encountered such as learning new systems and tools, and doing some back end work such as developing workhouses systems. Coming from this, Aki then shares the take aways that he learned from all the experience in modernizing the supply chain.
- How it is working the full gamut of the business from the internal to consumer-facing facets of the business.
- The big things that are prohibiting scaling in mobile and how he takes advantage of the new agonies and leverage on these experiences.
- The exciting aspects in working in the mobile team and the pros and cons in developing in two platforms, Android and iOS.
- Aki shares the biggest ability that you should have get the biggest return such as the need to look at the data, understanding where the user need is by reviewing your web server logs (how many visitors are checking your site is, what mobile devices do they use and what platform are they in) and using these to improve your user experience and make your decisions.
- Looking at data and seeing that most of the traffic is coming from mobile, Aki suggests what experiences retail should be natively building for a better web experience and how you should go about planning your strategy to have the least investment impact.
Rapid Fire Questions
- What is your definition of innovation?
Always look ahead. Embrace and drive change. Never be scared and try to have fun.
- Would you put more emphasis on the idea or the execution? How would you weigh each of them and why?
If the execution is terrible, no matter how good your idea is, that’s not going to help you. Execution is 99% and 1% is idea
- What is your biggest learning lesson on your journey so far?
Apart from learning and solving problems, working with folks who are passionate in what they do, that’s when you see great things happen.
- What is your favorite business book?
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
- What is your favorite digital resource?
- What is your favorite app and why?
Zappos Apple TV app
- What is the coolest thing that you are working on right now that you want everyone to know about?
We are excited about all of our apps as we are making big investments and changes in this area so check out Zappos mobile.