The pizza distributor who became a special millionaire manager
The CEO who "gave" happiness is resigning after 20 years
At the end of August, one of the most successful and certainly the most beloved CEO He retired as CEO of the online footwear giant Zappos, which Amazon bought in 2009 for $ 1,2 billion, after 21 years at the helm of the company he founded.
Tony Hsieh, one of the first people of technology who "humanized" the conditions and the workplace of his employees, will forever remain in the history of management for his additions to better customer service, and especially for the formation of a different corporate culture, focusing on the best working conditions and a friendly environment for them employees.
Hailing from Taiwan, Hsieh was born in Illinois and raised in San Francisco Bay, California. In 1995 he graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Computer Science. During his studies he made a living by distributing pizza to his classmates in the dormitory where he lived, while several years later his best client, Alfred Lin, would become Zappos CFO and COO.
After completing his studies, he worked for Oracle Corporation, and after five months he became quite dissatisfied with the work environment and left his position to create with Sanjay Madan, a college friend and former Oracle Corporation employee, LinkExchange. The advertising network that he set up with his friend in 90 days managed to collect 20.000 entries, displaying in the form of banners the websites of his customers more than 10 million times. By 1998 the site had over 400.000 members, with 5 million ads rotating daily. In November of the same year, the genius Hsieh sold his company to Microsoft for $ 265 million.
Zappos was originally conceived in 1999 by Nick Swinmurn, who approached Hsieh and Lin to sell shoes online. Hsieh was initially quite skeptical, however, he was later persuaded to invest in the original idea through his company with Lin, Venture Frogs. Two months later, he joined Zappos as CEO, starting with a total revenue of $ 2000 million in 1,6. Until 2009 its revenues company reached $ 1 billion.
During his tenure as director at Zappos, Hsieh had a hard time convincing the rest of the board to build a unique corporate culture - they were pioneers in free shipping and returns long before e-commerce took off in the rest of the industry - as most wanted to focus on the short-term economic performance of e-commerce. However, within ten years it managed to escalate the business and from nothing to reach its profits to 1 billion dollars. A practice that confirmed with the above the corporate culture in which he from the beginning struggled to apply. A corporate culture that, given the numbers, defines the difference between success and failure.
On July 22, 2009 the Amazon.com announced the acquisition of Zappos in a $ 1,2 billion deal, with Hsieh reportedly earning at least $ 214 million from the sale, not including the money he earned through investment firm Venture Frogs.
When Zappos was acquired, many speculated about the culture that the new "parent" of the company would impose, however, Zappos continued to operate in exactly the same way as the same leadership team that brought it to the forefront. years.
Innovative as always, in 2015, the company abolished them managers in favor of a form of self-organization. In a post he made at the time, Hsieh wrote: "Like all the bold steps we've taken in the past, it sounds a little scary, but it's the next step that only a company like Zappos would dare to take. this scale ".
From its earliest days, Zappos has served as a breeding ground for the application of theories of corporate culture and productivity - long before these ideas became the keywords they are today. Much of this effort is credited to Hsieh himself.
Already having experience from his first company, Hsieh used Zappos as a platform to support linking success to employee relationships with their bosses, looking for ways to bring happiness to the workplace.
Which not only did he put into practice, but also published in a book, in order to transmit his philosophy to the rest of the world.
Driven by his whole philosophy, in 2010 he published "Delivering Happiness", a book about his business culture, which was presented by many international media such as The Washington Post, CNBC, The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal and was found for 27 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.