31 Jul 2014 . 3 min read

Delivering Happiness - Tony Hsieh

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Tony Hsieh the CEO of “Zappos”has successfully built and sold two companies. He built Link Exchange and it sold for $265 million to Microsoft and then online shoe retailer Zappos.com sold for $1.2 billion to Amazon.

Here are a few lessons that every entrepreneur can learn from Tony Hsieh’s book Delivering Happiness-

Build a powerful network

Tony narrates the story of a lesson that he learned from one of his business partners Fred Mossler. During a shoe show Fred invited a rep for a very small brand out to dinner, instead of a rep from one of the larger brands they were introduced to. While the brand contributed almost nothing to Zappos bottom line, the relationship was something Fred truly valued. That rep went on to become the president of a company that Zappos had been trying to acquire. Had he been concentrating on immediate gain rather than the relationship then the opportunity would have been lost.

The most powerful form of advertising are stories by customers

 According to Tony growth comes from customer references and word of mouth stories. He writes, “When customers get that perfect outfit or pair of shoes from Zappos, it’s like getting happiness in a box.” And that happiness spreads because people talk about it. There is no better way than providing brilliant services to customers to advertise a brand.


Positive disruption is where the greatest innovations, ideas, opportunities, and inventions come from. And when we act as a disruptive force, we can find success as we create opportunities for ourselves and find the solutions that have eluded us.

Choose the right people for your organization

Interview for skills and for culture…if there is a red flag in either of these areas, the person isn’t the right fit. A skilled person might not fit into the company culture. You can create interview questions around culture so everyone has the same chance.

Zappos  offers their new hires $4,000 to quit. Only about 3% have so far taken the money since the program was started. This concept was designed to weed out those who are only in it for the money and not in pursuit of a place where they can be part of a great working culture.

Lastly, understand what makes you happy

Tony Hsieh was running his own venture capital business when he initially invested in Zappos. At the time it was just one investment among many. However Tony realized within a year that what he really enjoyed in business was operating fledgling businesses not just being an investor in them.

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