Zach Ferres is an entrepreneur, leader, runner and CEO at Coplex. Coplex is an interactive web development agency that specializes in agile development. Since starting there three years ago, Ferres has shifted how Coplex approaches the agency lifestyle to focus on building a purpose and passion-driven culture. Ferres has worked in the online marketing world for over 9 years and also co-founded Huddlewoo, a video chat platform. Today, he remains heavily involved and dedicated to building the startup community around the country.

Why does the world need a work revolution? (In other words: the way we’re working isn’t working. Why not?)
With the world getting smaller, information being so accessible, and automation everywhere the trivial tasks that used to define our ‘work lives’ are disappearing. The jobs we have today require us to be more creative, more efficient, more innovative, and more human. People are bored with status quo and want to buy amazing products from meaningful companies and have great experiences going through this process. The companies that are going to survive and create amazing products need to put their people at the forefront and create ecosystems that spark innovation, creativity, and trust. Let’s work together to create companies that people love to work for and can reach their maximum potential to make a difference in the world.

How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
We’re not a huge company but we have to start somewhere. We’ve got a very transparent culture where our team is heard and truly contributes to what we are building together. We’ve flattened our organization structure and encouraged small cross-discplined teams in our company to work together and create amazing web and mobile applications. We have a mutual culture of trust with unlimited paid time off, flexible work hours, and flexible work locations.

Why do you do what you do?
We’re big fans of the internet and we love creating things. It just made a lot of sense to go into digital product design, development, and marketing. It’s our vehicle for changing the way people work but we certainly think it needs to expand far beyond our industry.

What kind of art (any kind) do you like and why? Any recommendations we should know about?
I’m fascinated by product design because it combines design, psychology, and science.

What is one specific thing your company does that makes your culture unique and/or different?
(Vegan) waffle days

What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you? How does it impact your work?
Psychology. It’s fascinating to really understand people, what motivates them, and how to deal with them. It’s inspired me to gain understanding in how to create sub-cultures that are both productive and make people feel good.

What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
Walk the walk. Before trying to impose culture by slapping some “core values” on the wall at the office, it’s important to walk the walk. Leadership too often tries to impose culture, rather than let it develop organically. You have to live the values you want to have in your culture to the point that employees could almost go to the wall and write the values themselves without anyone even telling them.

What piece of technology (other than your laptop/smartphone/tablet) could you not live without and why?
Bluetooth headset. I walk around (sometime like blocks around the office, even when it is 115 outside) when I am on calls.

What do you do for fun?
Run.

What is “required reading” or “required viewing” for people who want to understand what makes you tick?

Where in the world are you?
Phoenix, AZ

How can people connect with you?
Twitter: @zcferres
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/zcferres
Facebook: facebook.com/zcferres

Zach Ferres

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