Friday, December 30, 2005

 

It's time to give something back.

Giving Back
Zoints will donate 5% of our annual profits to charity. We believe that is it time for companies to give back to the community.



When I take a look at my life, I realize just how lucky I am. I have a great family that loves me, wonderful friends, and a great job here at Zoints. There isn’t much more I could ask for. I should be completely happy, right? The sad truth is that I’m not. I look around and see people ailing from diseases that we currently have no cure for, children being abused, and death and war every time I turn on the TV. There are people all over the world who are suffering while I sit at home in comfort and think to myself, “There must be something more that I can do."

Well now there is. As a member of the Zoints team, I know that 5% of our annual profits will go to some of the best charities in the world. Charities are working around the clock to develop a cure for AIDS, end domestic violence, provide emergency relief, and achieve numerous other goals, all in an attempt to improve the quality of life world wide. The list of charities that are donated to is determined by input from the entire Zoints staff. This ensures that a wide variety of organizations and causes are supported.

We believe that it is about time for the community to start giving back to the community. We hope that by taking this step, other big businesses will be encouraged to follow suit, and we can start to better the lives of our neighbors around the world, as well as those right here at home.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

 

Balance is key!

Work hard, play hard.
We are diligent because we are passionate about our business. We also recognize the importance of a work-life balance. There is a lighter side to life, and we never forget it.


If people work too hard, we will eventually burn out. If we don’t take breaks and get sufficient rest, we become sick. If we neglect our personal lives, we’ll have problems. These statements are deceptively simple. Easy to read, yes…but many people have difficulty truly maintaining a work-life balance.

At Zoints, we want the members of our family to be successful in all aspects of their lives. Of course we want them to excel professionally, but we also want them to have fulfilling and happy personal lives. Hard work is important, of course – but if we can’t enjoy life, there really is no point! We encourage our team to find amusement and humor in their work, and to get to know one another as people, rather than just fellow ‘cogs in the machine.’ We believe this philosophy is what makes us such a tightly knit group of not only co-workers – but family members and friends.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

 

On the Loss of a Friend


My own thoughts:

I have come to realize this week that friendships forged online are just as powerful as those that begin ‘in real life.’ I knew this already, as I have met many wonderful people on the internet. However, a recent occurrence reinforced this point for me personally. A few days ago, tragedy struck the Zoints family. We lost one of our own.

Chris ‘Fubarbabee’ Doherty, one of our Community Consultants and beloved friends, was taken from us in a car accident.

You may be wondering how it is possible to grieve for someone you’ve never even met face-to-face. Actually, it’s easy. Online relationships are unique in that they are much more candid. We feel that the firewall we sit behind protects us, and allows us to be ourselves from the get go. We don’t put on fronts. We don’t act to impress. We are just us. In that sense, it is easy to become close to people much more quickly. Although I never knew Chris in ‘real life,’ I probably talked with her more frequently than if I had, and I got to know her on a deeper level. I am thrilled that the internet gave me the opportunity to get to know such a wonderful soul. She was a joy to work with, had a heart of gold, and was a dear, dear friend.

Chris once posted on a message board, “The possibilities in life are infinite if you get excited about living.” And she DID. Not only that, but she shared that excitement with others. Her spirit was contagious. She believed in us, and she believed in bringing people together. Ultimately, this is what Zoints is about. We are excited about living, and excited about forging and cultivating relationships. And we want to spread that excitement. By doing that, we will not only make the world a better place, but we will keep Chris’s spirit with us forever.



and a few words from David Chapman, our CEO:

I met Christina "Fubarbabee" Doherty on September 29th, 2004 after she joined one of my online communities. She had just performed a Google search for information discussed on my site and decided to stick around. She immediately stood out from the crowd with her excellent writing skills and sharp wit. It wasn't long before I asked her to join the community moderation team. Over time, I grew to value her input so much that I asked her to join the team I was putting together for Zoints, as I like to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am.

I will miss Chris not only on a professional level (she brought so much to Zoints) but on a personal level too. I don't know that I can articulate what an incredible person she was and god knows I cannot quantify how much I will miss her.



Compliments of Jason Mitsios, one of our talented designers:

Monday, December 19, 2005

 

Live Life in the Zoints Lane

Innovate and improve.
There is always room for improvement, no matter how small. Nothing is perfect, but we continually decrease the margin that is keeping Zoints from being so.


Zoints is like the carpool lane, in Los Angeles, at 5:30 PM on a Friday. In the regular lanes, everyone is stuck bumper to bumper, trying to reach their destinations. The congestion is terrible. Tempers are flaring. Horns are honking. And there is nothing more frustrating then watching the drivers fly down that diamond lane next to you.

Everyone and their mothers are part of an online community. It's a crowded and confusing world. It lacks any type of unity, or interaction between forums for that matter. There hasn't been any one group of people to stand up and say, "Hey! Follow me! I'll show you a better way of doing things." We are going to do our best to solve that problem. We will lead with innovation.

Innovation and improvement are concepts central to our ten principles, as quoted above. These concepts make the Zoints lane exist in the first place, and make it a better way to get around from one place to another. And while you carpool (or pick up the nearest hitchhiker), you get to interact with a lot of people you would have never met before. Maybe even pick up a hobby or two from your new-found friends.

In the Zoints lane, however, we do things differently. We produce the steel to make the car safer. We refine the gas to make it burn more efficiently. We install the leather interior to make the journey as comfortable as possible. We clean the mirrors and windshield to make sure you can clearly see the road ahead. In the glovebox, you'll find a whole notebook of ways to contact us if something goes wrong, and rest assured, mechanics will arrive by helicopter to get the car back up and running. And, don't worry about getting over to the exits. You won't be needing those.

So...isn't it about time you changed lanes?

 

We Mean What We Say

I feel proud. I don't mean that I feel like I'm superior to anyone else - that's the wrong kind of pride. What I do mean is that I feel grateful and lucky to be working with Zoints. I applied to Zoints as a Community Consultant, not quite sure of what I was getting myself into. But as time went on, I discovered that the people I'm working with are simply amazing. The communication, the promptness, the friendliness, and the general care and concern are indicative of the great company that I know Zoints is.

There is a great deal of difference between saying and doing. Any company can have a list of empty promises and goals. The difference between Zoints and "that company" is that we mean what we say. Zoints is only beginning, and I can already see our Ten Principles,coming to fruition.

We are treated like people at Zoints...like equals. Every person working with (I use "with" because it truly is a team effort, if I felt it wasn't I would use "for") Zoints is treated with respect and valued as an individual. This company is going to be great because we all care about our goals - to help online communities achieve their potential as the 'killer app' of the internet, and to unite people.

As I write this, I not only feel proud but hopeful. The future looks bright, and it feels so great to be "part of something." Time will only tell how Zoints will fare, but for me, it is already a success.

Friday, December 09, 2005

 

Customers and integrity come first.

Customer satisfaction is the cornerstone of our principles. We realize this is unattainable if we don't consistently maintain our integrity. By being clear, honest, helpful, and considerate, our goal is ultimately to make your world a better place.

The above is excerpted from our Ten Principles, the guidelines by which we manage Zoints. This principle gets at what REALLY matters. You. Our customers. PEOPLE. Too many businesses become obsessed with the 'bottom line' and forget that customers are human beings. Not only that, but companies actually fail because they neglect people. Throughout my own professional AND consumer experience, I have interacted with many a customer service department. And frankly, they disgust me. Service is poor because people have come to accept it as the norm. They just don't realize that something better exists.

At Zoints, our philosophy is simple - provide a product or service that speaks for itself, and you won't have to become obsessed with the bottom line. Do right by people, and you'll succeed in the long run. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've tried to explain this concept. It's so simple that many minds cannot even grasp it. Many companies try to improve customer service through sensitivity training or adjustment of their hiring practices, but these are afterthoughts. Service needs to be THE priority, from square one. It needs to be at the root of everything we do, and it needs to permeate every aspect of our business. For Zoints, customer satisfaction isn't enough...we want customer bliss!

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