The world of entrepreneurs mourns the loss of Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos, a business selling shoes and clothes over the internet. Zappos was sold to Amazon for $ 1 billion.
A descendant of Taiwanese in the USA, the family values forced him to pursue high grades at school, a recognized career or mastery of a musical instrument. Despite getting high grades and having worked at Oracle, he really wanted the freedom to create his own business.
One of his first businesses, as a teenager, was to create a service to transform photos into pin up bottoms. The service was passed on to the younger brothers, and lasted for many years.
In college, he started a pizza business. One specific colleague always ordered many pizzas, in superhuman quantities: two, three large pepperoni pizzas. Later, Tony discovered that the guy (Alfred Lin) sold slices of pizza, gaining a large margin on the product. Alfred ended up becoming CFO of Zappos, years later.
Tony founded LinkExchange, sold to Microsoft for $ 265 million, before founding Zappos.
At Zappos, he was not concerned with efficiency, but with generating the best possible value for the customer. Eg. on common websites, it is extremely difficult to find a phone to call. At Zappos, the number was always visible. The revolutionary technology was the old phone, andcustomer service.
It is not by chance that his book is entitled “Delivering happiness”.
Tony passed away due to a fire in his home, aged 46.
“I decided to stop chasing money, and started chasing passion” — Tony Hsieh.