Growing Up, What Did Tony Hsieh Want To Be?

What did he want to be when he grew up. What did they all want to be? Did they want to be all about shoes or something bigger?  They could expand into handbags and apparel and appeal to outside activities.  Great companies have a better purpose other than just making money.  Zappos wanted to focus on great customer service for the online business.  In 2003, Fred Mossler sent an email to Hsieh to recommend employees read certain books and offer a Zappos library.  Eventually, some of those books became a requirement for employees to read.  Zappos made a hard decision in March of 2003 and removed all the drop-ship sales from their business.  This caused a drop in sales, but this eliminated many of the customer complaints.  Wells Fargo took a risk with Zappos and offered them a loan.  Getting the loan would take them to the next level.  Zappos was saved.


June 19, 2003, Hsieh sent a memo to the employees notifying them that Zappos had a line of credit through Wells Fargo for up to six million dollars.  The plan was to have over 600,000 pairs of shoes in inventory.  They would double their best year and felt this was only the beginning.  They could take the company to the next level.  They would reach over a billion dollars of sales in the next year.


And they had the potential to be doing a lot more.  Zappos would offer free shipping and free returns.  Their goal is one day become the number one eCommerce company.  They would remain focused on maintaining and improving good customer service. I asked a friend of mine that is an online marketing consultant and she agrees that focusing on customer service was a smart move for Zappos. They ended 2003 with over seven billion dollars in sales.  Zappos flew all employees to Vegas for a celebration.  A month later, they decided Zappos would move from San Francisco to Las Vegas.

 Platform for growth, brand, culture, pipeline.

It was difficult to find people to hire for customer service.  Working in a call center wasn’t what people in California wanted to do.  They checked into outsourcing it from India, but knew better than going with outsourcing; they needed to have control.  They decided Las Vegas would be the best location for them and decided to relocate.  They had 90 employees working in San Francisco and 70 employees decided to move to Las Vegas.  Most didn’t have any friends in Las Vegas so they all hung out together.  It was a great time and they all leaned on each other.  They decided they would get the culture right and hired only people they would enjoy working with and who would fit into the Zappos culture.  Zappos created a “Zappos Culture Book” which they give out to prospective employees and vendors.  It contained the employees’ contributions about what the Zappos cultures meant to them.  The book encouraged them to generate a monthly “ask anything” meeting in which they could, yes, ask any question.  Zappos spent the next few years focusing on their employees and culture.  And Wells Fargo and a couple other banks increased Zappos’ loan limits.  Zappos’ core values apply to work and life, and those values are now available for anyone to review.