Month: October 2010

Nordstrom Company Culture

For many years, new employees were given a copy of the famous Nordstrom’s Employee Handbook – a single 5-by-8-inch (130 × 200 mm) gray card containing 75 words:

Welcome to Nordstrom

We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.

Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.


However, new hire orientations now provide the card above along with a full handbook of other more specific rules and legal regulations, as the way Nordstrom operates has changed.  During this time, Nordstrom had the highest sales per square foot performance in the retail industry – by almost double.

>> Source:

More on Nordstrom’s Culture:

  • Nordstrom’s culture encourages entrepreneurial, motivated men and women to make the extra effort to give customer service that is unequalled in American retailing. “not service like it used to be, but service that never was.”
  • “A place where service is an act of faith.”
  • Nordstrom executives aren’t snobs; it’s just that they are uncomfortable with blowing their own horns.
  • Their system is embarrassingly simple “we out-service, not outsmart, the competition”.
  • The truth is “We can’t afford to boast. If we did, we might start to believe our own stories”.
  • “Our success is simply a matter of service, selection, fair pricing, hard work and plain luck!”
  • ‘It was never that we were so great, it was just that everyone else was so bad.’ We know that at this moment, someone, somewhere is getting bad service at Nordstrom
  • When you stop worrying about the money and concentrate on serving the customer, the money will follow. (People who succeed in sales understand this paradox.)
  • Nordstrom’s standard of performance is “Sales per hour”.
  • Nordstrom sales people are empowered to make decisions and Nordstrom management is willing to live with these decisions – it’s like dealing with a one-person shop. Empowered employees are energized. “Giving away responsibility and authority is the ultimate expression of leadership”.
  • “The customer is always right” is not a cliché at Nordstrom.
  • Decision by consensus is how the Nordstrom brothers run their business. Disagreements are worked out behind closed doors and a united front is always presented to the public.
  • When the company expands to other regions, it dispatches an advanced force of veteran “Nordies” who carry the culture with them and imports it to new employees.
  • Nordstrom never acquires other chains, because it is too difficult for those employees to break old habits.
  • Nordstrom employees are instructed to always make a decision that favors the customer before the company. They are never criticized for doing too much for a customer; they are criticized for doing too little.
  • “If I take care of the customer the dollars will follow”
  • Nordstrom believes that too many rules, regulations, paper work, and strict channels of communication erode employee incentive.
  • Nordstrom is informally organized as an “inverted pyramid” with the top positions occupied by customers and sales people. Every tier of the pyramid supports the sales staff.
  • The unconditional money back guarantee is designed for the 98% of customers who are honest.
  • Employees have access to sales figures from all departments and stores in the chain, so they can compare their performances.
  • Outstanding sales performances are rewarded with prizes and praise, as are good ideas and suggestions.
  • Part of good customer service is (Store Design) creating “a memorable experience”:· Store presentation must be understood immediately· Nordstrom states that it only takes 15 seconds to impress their customers. That’s why Nordstrom has more seating, better lighting, larger fitting rooms, wider aisles, and a more residential feeling.
  • Nordstrom feels that the best training courses come from parents. Previous retail experience or a college degree has never been a pre-requisite for succeeding at Nordstrom.
  • Nordstrom “hires the smile and trains the skill”.
  • Because Nordstrom doesn’t have many rules, employees don’t have to worry whether they are breaking any.
  • Nordstrom would rather hire nice people and teach them to sell, than hire sales people and teach them to be nice.
  • At Nordstrom, the priority is on Selling, and the key to successful selling is providing outstanding customer service.
  • If you treat customers like royalty and let them know that you will take care of them, they will usually come back to you.
  • When customers enter a department sales people always make sure they are acknowledged. They are relaxed and unhurried in order to help the customer feel the same way.
  • At it’s best, Nordstrom never forgets that it doesn’t have all the answers. They know that the customers have all the information that they need, and that sales people are the most valuable people in the company!
  • The underlying Nordstrom culture and philosophy is not difficult to pass on to the next generation because it’s simple: “Give Great Customer Service.”


The Social Network

I’m late in writing this review but Christina and I went to see The Social Network and I would give it a 7 out of 10.  Since I’m a geek the subject matter of the movie pertained to my interests and even then I think if you are a geek you may be offended by how geeks are portrayed in the movie.  If you don’t consider yourself a geek, you don’t like social networking, or if you are a woman, there is an even better chance you will not like the movie. All geeks aren’t out to screw everyone over as the movie depicts and I’ll leave it up to you to say how you feel woman were portrayed.  I may spoil it for you if you haven’t already seen the movie so you may want to avoid reading any further until you get a chance to watch it.  I’m obsessed with researching things I learn to make sure they are as accurate as possible so after watching the movie I wanted to do some Googling to find out more on how accurate the movie is to what really happened and who the main characters are from the movie.

Erica Albright

The movie but it starts out showing Mark Zuckerberg creating a website rating the attractiveness of female Harvard students after his girlfriend Erica Albright breaks up with him.  It wasn’t tough to find Erica who posted the picture above on her website to show her viewers what she really looks like.  She writes that she had her friend “Dave” help her create the site below.

As far as Erica’s response as to how accurate the movie is from her perspective she says:
“10/2/10 – I went and saw the movie last night. Kind of crazy that someone is actually playing me in a movie! The movie definitely brought back some great memories….it made me miss my college years that’s for sure! (I feel soooo old) lol (: — I guess you could say the movie is “based on a true story” but there are many scenarios that were soooo made up by Hollywood! As far as the two scenes I’m in, the first one is fairly accurate, we did “break-up” over dinner, I do remember him ripping on my school (that wasn’t the first time)…but the second scene of me at dinner with my friends blowing Mark off never happened. (also he NEVER friended me on Facebook) lol! (: ”

Sean Parker

Photograph by Jonas Fredwall Karlsson

Not that he is the best role model in the world but Sean Parker is someone I have read about for years with my favorite article being the October 2010 Vanity fair article titled “With a Little Help From His Friends“.  In the article Parker is described as a “Web oracle; more than a few acquaintances and colleagues use the word “genius” to describe him. He understands not only computers and Web networks but also how people want to incorporate them into their lives. As a result, he’s been stunningly successful. That said, he has a libertine side. Parker has a knack for missing deadlines and appointments, for disappearing for weeks on end, for avoiding the press. (His decision to cooperate with a Vanity Fair profile is unprecedented and rather out of character.) He was pushed out of Facebook after an arrest for cocaine possession in 2005. (No charges were filed.) Even among his many supporters, he has a reputation for being an erratic party animal.”

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss

Cameron and Tyler are identical twins of Harvard’s rowing team who meet Mark and want his help creating the Harvard Connection.  Soon after Mark starts to finish his “” site which after released the Winklevoss’s sue over claiming Mark stole the idea after hearing about what they were working on.  I can’t say I fully understand how the Winklevoss’s have a case because unless the idea was patented isn’t Mark able to create whatever he wants?  Below is an interview from The Today Show with Matt Lauer (I can’t stand them):

Eduardo Saverin

Of all the “real world” characters of the movie, Eduwardo was the most difficult to find much on when researching them online.  Savern also gets the award for the worst way to be portrayed in a movie award because he comes across looking like a nice guy who finishes last but ironically he seems to be the only one with some ethics in the movie so to me he should be the one we all appreciate.  He once had 30% ownership in “thefacebook” which was reduced to .03% once Peter Theil (PayPal co-founder) and Sean Parker took control of the start-ups finances.

Mark Zuckerberg

It seems the reason Mark creates is to meet woman after his breakup.  Mark Zuckerberg’s girlfriend, Priscilla Chan (shown above) “was one of his pals at Harvard, where he studied back in 2004. Moreover, Chan is amongst the initial supporters who were with Mark when he came up with the concept of Facebook.  Chan even packed up and moved to Silicon Valley with Zuckerberg after the launch of Facebook. Priscilla Chan is a third year medical student at the University of California San Francisco with dreams of becoming a pediatrician. The New Yorker profile mentions their eventual plan to marry, though nothing concrete is revealed in the article.”  As for Mark’s thoughts on how accurate the movie is, he was recently asked in the interview below:

Interesting facts about the movie:

  • Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind which is why Facebook is blue. OK, that isn’t about the movie but it is interesting.
  • Natalie Portman, a Harvard student during the time of Facebook’s creation, gave writer Aaron Sorkin some insider information about how things really happened on campus. Sorkin thanked her by referencing her in a scene.
  • The first scene, in which Zuckerberg’s girlfriend (played by Rooney Mara) breaks up with him, took 99 takes to finish.