ZoZa.com Overview

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To aid the technical staff in their job hunting I've created this presentation.

Note that this area is composed of large screenshots - some of the more complex images may take a little while to download.

Also some of these images were taken from a development environment - some of the graphic assets may be missing.

Finally I have modified the screen shots to obscure personal information.

ZoZa Corporate Background

Mel and Patricia Ziegler, founders of Banana Republic and The Republic of Tea, got tired of running home after a mountain bike ride to change clothes for a nice dinner out. They wore their Patagonia and Gramicci everywhere, prompting their friends to ask where they had been camping. They wondered why good looking clothes which supported their active lifestyle were not available. They brooded on this for quite a while.

The Internet boom happened. Out of the blue their mentor from the early days of the Gaps acquisition of Banana called - "Want to make a company y? There is a lot of money flying around these days!" This was Ed Strobin, the original COO of ZoZa.com.

Ed had been COO of the Banana division and guided the Zieglers through the maze of a large aggressive company until they left. During this time the early Banana Republic stores were built. After that he went on to be CEO of the Nature Company, building out their massive line of retail stores. He was retired at this point, but he couldn't stand watching all the excitement of the internet bubble happen without playing a part in it.

Ed shook the tree and found a CFO - Bill Wick, and a CTO. That would be me.

We spent couple of months developing a business plan and shopping it around. Nothing happened. One low day Bill decided to spam the email addresses of some VC's we hadn't appeared before. Literally within moments we had a call from a senior partner at Sequoia, Pierre Lamond. Even though we thought he was a different Pierre we got a request to make a presentation. Somehow word got out through the VC community and a number of firms were interested in talking. Finally we were funded by SoftBank to a tune of $12 million for 22% of the company. The Z's got the majority percentage, including various funds for their children. Ed might of gotten 8%? This being a technical era (hah!) I got lucky and received 1% of the company - around a million shares give or take a hundred thousand.

Our plan was to outsource as much of the production of this company as we could, and keep a small team of people doing design work. At first we were hoping to grow the company incrementally, but as discussions continued projected sales continued to climb.

I'll add more corporate details later - but the gist of the matter is this: ZoZa hunted down neat technical fabrics, designed sleek clothing, outsourced the manufacturing of the clothing to various outfits around the world, outsourced the maintenance of the website to a credible firm, outsourced the fulfillment and Customer support to a credible firm, and was all set to conquer the apparel world. It was in the water, I swear.

ZoZa.com Technical Infrastructure

The ZoZa public website was built using ATG's Dynamo running on Solaris. Our database of choice was Oracle 8i. We also made use of Verity's search tools. A lot of custom, stand-alone Java glued everything else together. I personally wrote a lot of the stand-alone Java and Oracle stuff, but the bulk of the ATG work was outsourced to Xuma.

The production site was comprised of 2 Netras doing web services via Apache/Stronghold. 4 Netras providing an application layer and running Dynamo. 1 Verity server. 1 Netra providing gateway services to our fulfillment partner(s). One Enterprise 250 running Oracle as production database.

Staging was 2 web boxes, 2 logic boxes, 1 oracle box, 1 verity box

Development was one big ultra 2. Seems wimpy in retrospect, but we had good desktop boxes.

We had 2 in-house web mechanics, Beverly Estrada and Evan Rose. Diana Boyle was our excellent, excellent production manager. We had a series of Creative Directors - the stress over in that area was incredible. Grant Peterson saw us through the build-out of the site, and Jutiki Gardner taking over the maintenance. You've seen Grant's work everywhere - and he hooked us up with Small Pond. I think you'll see Jutiki's work in the future.

We built like this so we could swap in existing or new Netras as we needed to - the Netras were as closely configured as we could make them.

Internally I ran a mixed shop of NT, Win2000, Solaris, Macintosh computers, and HP and Ricoh printers. Basic desktop apps, basic web design apps, oh, and an Asset server running Extensis! I had 2.5 people (Darin, Ben and Nic) running around keeping this all running. We had about 50 client stations, not including home systems/networks to support for some of the officers. I designed a 100baseT network, supplemented by 802.11 wireless, for internal connectivity. It all got backed up via Retrospect. We ran VPN to various officers (CTO and CFO) homes, which were about 45 miles from HQ.

Financials were first run on Quickbooks Pro, and then Oracle Financials. Ernst & Young did our Financials implementation. We decided to outsource the hosting to Oracle's Business Online.

Corporate email was outsourced to Critical Path.

Web email was routed through Xuma, and was done using stand-alone Java code I wrote.

We outsourced the buildout of the site to Xuma. The Information Architecture and design was done with Small Pond Studios.

We originally intended to have SPS do all the product asset production, but the product was so late we had to do it in-house.