A year ago, I read the book Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. I sat down with the book and didn’t actually stand up again until I had finished it. Tony’s story was THAT riveting. So it was fantastic to see Tony in person earlier this week when he was in Australia. Tony was brought out to Sydney and Melbourne to run a series of workshops. This inspired this week’s Enterprise post.
There aren’t too many celebrity CEOs in the world. But without a doubt, Tony Hsieh is one of them. As CEO of giant online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos, Hsieh has grown the company from a fledging start-up in 1999 to the behemoth it is today. Amazon acquired Zappos in 2009 for a reported $1.2 billion and Hsieh (pronounced Shay) remained as CEO.
In Australia running a series of workshops for national network Business Chicks, he spoke to a packed room in Sydney earlier this week about his entrepreneurial journey.
Not the first time
Hsieh’s success with Zappos doesn’t appear to be a fluke. Out of college, Hsieh founded online advertising company LinkExchange, which he sold for $265 million to Microsoft in 1999 at the age of just 24.
“It just wasn’t a fun place to work any more,” says Hsieh, now 38.
“Company culture went downhill. Our whole strategy was to employ friends, and friends of friends. That worked well till we got to about 20 people. Then we ran out of friends.
“When we got to about 100 people, I realised that I was dreading getting out of bed to go to my own company.”
Selling out of LinkExchange gave Hsieh enough money to never work again. Along with his former college mate Alfred Lin, he co-founded incubator and investment firm, Venture Frogs. “We invested in about 20 companies,” he says. “Zappos was one of them. Within a year, I joined full-time.”
You can read the full Enterprise post here.