Tony Hsieh quotes page 1
Tony Hsieh was born on December 12, 1973 in Illinois but grew up in the San Francisco area. He is a graduate
from Harvard University with a degree in computer science. After graduation, Hsieh went to work in a corporate
environment, but soon found that this environment was not for him. It was then that Hsieh started LinkExchange with
a fellow college graduate. LinkExchange sold in 1998 to Microsoft. Afterwards, Hsieh co-founded LeapFrogs, an
investment firm. With this investment firm, Hsieh invested in Zappos, an online shoe retailer. Afterwards, Hsieh
became the CEO of Zappos. Zappos became highly popular and was purchased by Amazon, leading to Hsieh earning even
more income as the CEO, and as an original investor in the company. Hsieh did not stop after his company was sold;
instead, he started to venture out into other areas of business. In 2011, he joined the board of JetSuite, which is
dedicated to producing and managing more fuel efficient jets. He is currently working on his project of
transforming downtown Las Vegas to an area in which technical entrepreneurs and young business people could call
home. Award wise, Hsieh has won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007, and received recognition
for his ideas while at Harvard. Hsieh is also the author of a distinguished book that many entrepreneurs highly
praise, and the book received many recommendations for major news networks. Hsieh lives in Las Vegas, Nevada
currently, and has easily become one of the few entrepreneurs for young kids to idolize.
Don't be cocky. Don't be flashy. There's always someone better than you.
Happiness is really just about four things: perceived control, perceived progress,
connectedness (number and depth of your relationships), and vision/meaning (being part of
something bigger than yourself).
We believe that customer service shouldn't be just a department; it should be the entire
Our philosophy at Zappos is that we're willing to make short-term sacrifices (including lost
revenue or profits) if we believe that the long-term benefits are worth it. Protecting the
company culture and sticking to core values is a long-term benefit.
Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you
can't deliver good service from unhappy employees.
We take most of the money that we could have spent on paid advertising and instead put it
back into the customer experience. Then we let the customers be our marketing.
I made a list of the happiest periods in my life, and I realized that none of them involved
money. I realized that building stuff and being creative and inventive made me happy.
Connecting with a friend and talking through the entire night until the sun rose made me
happy. Trick-or-treating in middle school with a group of my closest friends made me happy.
Eating a baked potato after a swim meet made me happy... I thought about how easily we
are all brainwashed by our society and culture to stop thinking and just assume by default
that more money equals more success and more happiness, when ultimately happiness is
really just about enjoying life.
The best businesses are really the ones that combine profits, passion and a purpose.
Another common trap that many marketers fall into is focusing too much on trying to figure
out how to generate a lot of buzz, when really they should be focused on building
engagement and trust. I can tell you that my mom has zero buzz, but when she says
something, I listen.
Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you're trying to do more than just make
What I ended up learning was that it's a bad idea to invest in industries you don't
understand, in companies you don't have any control or influence over, or in people you don't
know or trust.
Hopefully, ten years from now people won't even realize we started out selling shoes. They
will just think about Zappos as a place to get the best customer service.
I started making a list of the lessons I learned from playing poker that could also be applied
- Be patient and think long-term.
- The players with the most stamina and focus usually win.
- Differentiate yourself. Do the opposite of what the rest of the table is doing.
- Hope is not a good plan.
For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny.
Money alone isn't enough to bring happiness... happiness is when you're actually truly ok with
losing everything you have.
Three types of happiness: pleasure, passion, and higher purpose
The pleasure type of happiness is about always chasing the next high. I like to refer to it as
the "Rock Star" type of happiness because it's great if you can have a constant flow of
stimuli, but it's very hard to maintain unless you're living the lifestyle of a rock star. Research
has shown that of the three types of happiness, this is the shortest lasting. As soon as the
source of stimuli goes away, people's happiness levels drop immediately.
The passion type of happiness is also known as flow, where peak performance meets peak
engagement, and time flies by. Research has shown that of the three types of happiness,
this is the second longest lasting. Professional athletes sometimes refer to this state as
"being in the zone."
The higher-purpose type of happiness is about being part of something bigger than yourself
that has meaning to you. Research has shown that of the three types of happiness, this is
the longest lasting.
Even if someone is great at their job, even if they are a superstar at their job, if they are bad
for our culture, we fire them for that reason alone. And performance reviews are 50 percent
based on whether you're living or inspiring Zappo's culture in others.
Never outsource your core competency.
Ever since selling LinkExchange, I'd committed to living by the philosophy that experiences
were much more important to me than material things. Most people assumed that I would
have gone out and bought a fancy and expensive car, but I was content with my Acura
In The Happiness Hypothesis, author Jonathan Haidt concludes that happiness doesn't come
primarily from within but, rather, from between. This is one of the reasons why we place so
much emphasis on company culture at Zappos.
Without conscious and deliberate effort, inertia always wins.
When people call our call center, our reps don't have scripts, and they don't try to up-sell.
They are just judged on whether they go above and beyond for the customer and really
deliver a kind of personal service and emotional connection with our customers.
We learned a great lesson: If you just focus on making sure that your product or service
continually WOWs people, eventually the press will find out about it.
I've also always been an avid book reader. At Zappos, we encourage our employees to read
books from our library to help them grow, both personally and professionally. There are many
books that have influenced our thinking at Zappos and helped us to get where we are today.