The Chief Fungineer

Tyler was an itinerant drummer from Alaska, switching genres from punk to metal to country to survive. But his wife had rheumatoid arthritis and was suffering in the cold so they moved to Vegas whereupon Tyler’s wife told him she met with someone who was talking about Zappos and she thought it would be a great fit for him, since he was burned out on the road.

But he couldn’t get in, acceptance rate is in the single digits. So he made a video where he played all the instruments to a song he wrote why he wanted to work at Zappos, and he got in.

He started in the call center.

It was FUN!

Does not compute, I know. But he loved blowing people’s minds. They’d call all huffed and puffed and he’d send a replacement and give a credit and a fifty dollar coupon to boot. That’s the essence of Zappos, it’s a customer service outfit, not a shoe store.

And Tyler, a redhead with a long beard, pitched in on events. With parade floats, parties, things like that, and word got around, he was called into HR, they asked him what he wanted to DO!

They’d already been calling him the “Chief Fungineer.” He said that’s what he wanted to be. So HR said to go home and write up a job description and come up with how much he wanted to be paid and when he turned it all in, they said YES!

So Tyler built built events and everybody was having so much fun and he was doing so well that Tony asked him to fly to L.A., with him and by the end of the trip made him head of “Brand Aura.” You know, enhancing the brand, the image, what everybody tries to do while ripping you off all the while.

And now that’s his gig. It’s Tyler who coordinated with Jason to build and execute the activities at the Church of Rock & Roll. And he wants to proceed further, and don’t think Zappos is handing out money, Jason is a force of nature, when dedicated he can infect you and convince you.

So, I’m here at Fergusons meeting so many people. It’s like summer camp. I have to come back, when it’s quieter, when I can relax. But what I like most is the people. I work alone. I don’t have kids and I don’t go to an office. So it’s moments like this I lust for, and lament the passing of, I could be crying tomorrow.

And this music business is a giant party, where everybody’s working 24/7 yet not complaining. I had a long conversation with Greg Perloff last night where we discussed where we came from and where we are now. We bonded over Laura Nyro, he said the greatest rock band was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and it was like we’d known each other forever, even though we’d only met in passing before.

That’s the power of rock and roll.

And Florence and her Machine were quite good last night. She’s got the music in her, albeit very differently from Kiki Dee. And the band was tight and honest. But she still lost half her audience by the end of the show. Then again, it was late. If I was a headliner I’d want to go on EARLIER!

And walking back to my trailer, everybody was mouthing the words of Travis Scott, who was prowling the stage sans musicians. Never underestimate the power of a hit.

And Foster The People sounded like music, which can be a relief. And their finale with Cirque du Soleil on “Hey Jude” was quite the spectacular.

And long after midnight, you could still not get into the EDM tent.

And they say the bill drew all the females.

But I still have questions. I’m still looking for answers.

Then again, talking to Tyler my belief in the American spirit was rekindled. We’re a can do people. We see a target and we go there. How did our politicians become all about the negative.

And if I had to start all over would I work at Zappos?


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