Just finished a wonderful book, “Delivering Happiness” by Zappos’ Tony Hsieh. I recommend it to anyone interested in entrepreneurship, building a unique company culture, finding happiness, or just reading a good human story.
In October, 2009, Zappos, the customer-service online brand, was acquired by Amazon at a value of $1.2 billion (at the time of closing). In the book Tony outlines his personal history, as well as that of Zappos and the development of its amazing culture built on 10 core values:
- Deliver WOW Through Service
- Embrace and Drive Change
- Create Fun and a Little Weirdness
- Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
- Pursue Growth and Learning
- Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
- Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
- Do More With Less
- Be Passionate and Determined
- Be Humble
Zappos is not the first company with well-defined core values. However, I believe how Tony lead everyone to them is unique and inspiring. Like all success stories, many times along the way, Zappos was on the brink of failure. Yet, leadership and determination persevered the company to great success — not just in terms of the eventual financial valuation, but by becoming a brand that is truly synonymous with customer service, as well as being a place where people want to work. The financial output was really the result of the great value of the brand and culture.
When reading his message, pay attention to how Tony drove the brand and culture with sound operational and financial controls. He built the company balancing all these elements. He moved beyond just the old “bottom line” mentality. His success is now spawning a new type of entrepreneurs and executives in his mold.
The story reads well from his story as a boy entrepreneur, to his thoughts on raves, to his passion for delivering happiness — all told with a very distinct and playful sense of humor.
“The higher-purpose type of happiness is about being part of something bigger than yourself that has meaning to you..” – Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos.