Last week I was fortunate to hear Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay in case you meet him), the CEO of Zappos, speak at the Milken Institute. He is a very humble guy with an incredible philosophy and inspiring story. I’ve included the video link below to his talk if you’d like to listen.
1994-95: Started a Pizza business in college
1996-98: Founded LinkExchange (online advertising) and sold it to Microsoft for $265 million
1999: Worked at Venture Frogs an investment fund and invested in Zappos
1999-today: Tony became CEO of Zappos. In 2009, Amazon acquired Zappos for $1.2 billion.
Those are the numbers and the facts but his mission and philosophy is also interesting. Here are ten takeaways that will help you make a difference.
1. Tony was told you can’t sell shoes online or build a brand around customer service….
2. Tony’s source of inspiration is the Virgin brand for ideas and his employees.
3. He constantly asks himself, “How do we WOW our customers?”
4. Zappos pays employees $2,000 to quit after training because they only want employees who are deeply committed to the company. He said only about 2% of people take the offer so they continue to increase the amount to weed out more people.
5. His vision: to deliver happiness to customers and employees
6. Tony’s #1 Priority is the CULTURE. He places a huge importance on culture and wants his employees to be themselves at work and contribute their strengths and enjoy the workplace. He focuses on his 3 C’s: Culture, customer service and clothing
7. “People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” – Tony Hsieh
8. They have a stringent hiring process and will choose to not hire a talented and smart employee if they do not fit within the culture. For example, one of the qualities they value is being humble and creating fun and a little weirdness (interesting right?)
9. Tony’s view on vision: “Whatever you’re thinking, think bigger.” Ask yourself if the vision has meaning and then chase the vision rather than the money
10. He is a student of positive psychology and believes there are 3 types of happiness
* Rock Star (pleasure is short term – chasing the next high)
* Flow (when you are fully engaged and time flies, this lasts longer than rock star happiness)
* Meaning/Higher Purpose (being part of something bigger than yourself, this happiness lasts the longest)
You can view the video of his talk below
Alissa Finerman is an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in YOUR Top 1%. She works with managers, C-suite executives and teams to leverage strengths, shift beliefs and achieve meaningful goals. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with Ross Stores, Petco, BNP Paribas, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Brookfield Property Partners, Neutrogena, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Dress for Success. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook
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