Oh, Tony. . . if you hadn’t already won my heart with Zappos’ endless array of sexy high heels, then it would have been the fact that I’m utterly in love with your company’s culture. This month’s fobby heartthrob is Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, which is my absolute favorite online shoe store. Tony Hsieh, whose parents are Taiwanese immigrants, is a natural entrepreneur — by 24, he had sold his first company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265 million. He then took over Zappos.com. While many venture capitalists thought that an online shoe store was a recipe for failure, Tony Hsieh’s success stemmed from his ability to revolutionize and redefine customer service for online shopping.
But what really makes me admire Tony is the way he has fostered and protected a truly unique and magnetic company culture. I mean, how awesome is it that one of their core values is “Create fun and A Little Weirdness“?!
“… [Tony] has decided that his entire business revolves around one thing: happiness. Everything at Zappos serves that single end. Other business innovators work with software code or circuit boards or molecular formulas. Hsieh prefers to work with something altogether more complex and volatile: human beings themselves,” writes Inc.com.
I truly believe that managing people and creating a genuinely compelling company culture is just as hard, if not harder, than managing a company’s bottom line. Ironically, Tony is a subdued and introverted guy, a contrast to the bubbly and proudly quirky culture that he’s created. But I actually really like that — a company’s culture shouldn’t revolve around just one person, even if it’s the CEO.
Wanna know what they really mean when they say “Create a little weirdness”? Check out this hilarious “Office Toilet Prank” video from their YouTube channel.
P.S. Get Tony’s new book here!