This weekend it became known that the man behind the shoe giant died in a tragic house fire. Its impact on retail will not be forgotten.
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4 min read
Last weekend the world heard the tragic news that former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh died in a house fire. He was 46 years old.
Hsieh helped turn the Zappos shoe empire into a billion dollar business. He had recently retired from the company after being in first place for 20 years. A Harvard University graduate, Hsieh joined the company when it was called ShoeSite.com and helped it become a shoe superpower. Amazon bought Zappos for $ 1.9 billion in 2009.
Hsieh was also instrumental in rebuilding downtown Las Vegas , where he lived in an exclusive trailer park with two pet alpacas named Marley and Triton . It invested $ 350 million to revitalize the center, developing Container Park. Hsieh also created an RV park called “Llamaoplis”, a converted parking lot and home to 33 Tumbleweeds and an Airstream. That’s where Hsieh lived with her hay-eating friends.
“Tony Hsieh played a pivotal role in helping transform downtown Las Vegas,” Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak tweeted. “Kathy and I send our love and condolences to Tony’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
After the news of Hsieh’s death broke, tributes were poured out on social media.
A beautiful tribute to a true pioneer. Tony Hsieh was a visionary. He was generous with his time and willing to share his invaluable expertise with anyone. And he was very, very cool. https://t.co/5A78fWpNyv
– Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) November 28, 2020
Under Hsieh, Zappos has been known for its friendly and forgiving customer service, including a return policy that gives buyers 365 days to return their shoes (as long as they are “as new”).
“Buying shoes online can be initially a scary process for people,” Hsieh said in 2003. “But Zappos has held out when other dot coms failed because we provide the best customer experience, like free shipping both ways. While free shipping on both orders and returns has cost us more, it has allowed us to retain our customers longer. “
Here are some other words of wisdom from the shoe genius:
1. “There is a big difference between motivation and inspiration: inspiring through values and motivation will happen by itself.”
2. “Have fun. Gambling is a lot more fun when you’re trying to do more than just make money. “
3. “For people, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny. “
4. “We believe that if you get the right culture, most other things, like great customer service, building a good long-term brand, or empowering passionate customers and employees will happen by themselves.”
5. “Don’t be arrogant. Don’t be flashy. There is always someone better than you.”
6. “People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they always remember how you made them feel, that’s the most important thing.”
7. “If anyone has ever interacted with an alpaca, you know you can’t help but laugh.”