Tony Hsieh

Don’t be cocky. Don’t be flashy. There’s always someone better than you.
– Tony Hsieh

Happiness is really just about four things: perceived control, perceived progress,
connectedness (number and depth of your relationships), and vision/meaning (being part of
something bigger than yourself).
– Tony Hsieh

We believe that customer service shouldn’t be just a department; it should be the entire
– Tony Hsieh

Our philosophy at Zappos is that we’re willing to make short-term sacrifices (including lost
revenue or profits) if we believe that the long-term benefits are worth it. Protecting the
company culture and sticking to core values is a long-term benefit.
– Tony Hsieh

Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you
can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.
– Tony Hsieh

We take most of the money that we could have spent on paid advertising and instead put it
back into the customer experience. Then we let the customers be our marketing.
– Tony Hsieh

I made a list of the happiest periods in my life, and I realized that none of them involved
money. I realized that building stuff and being creative and inventive made me happy.
Connecting with a friend and talking through the entire night until the sun rose made me
happy. Trick-or-treating in middle school with a group of my closest friends made me happy.
Eating a baked potato after a swim meet made me happy… I thought about how easily we
are all brainwashed by our society and culture to stop thinking and just assume by default
that more money equals more success and more happiness, when ultimately happiness is
really just about enjoying life.
– Tony Hsieh

The best businesses are really the ones that combine profits, passion and a purpose.
– Tony Hsieh

Another common trap that many marketers fall into is focusing too much on trying to figure
out how to generate a lot of buzz, when really they should be focused on building
engagement and trust. I can tell you that my mom has zero buzz, but when she says
something, I listen.
– Tony Hsieh

Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you’re trying to do more than just make
– Tony Hsieh

What I ended up learning was that it’s a bad idea to invest in industries you don’t
understand, in companies you don’t have any control or influence over, or in people you don’t
know or trust.
– Tony Hsieh

Hopefully, ten years from now people won’t even realize we started out selling shoes. They
will just think about Zappos as a place to get the best customer service.
– Tony Hsieh

I started making a list of the lessons I learned from playing poker that could also be applied
to business…
– Be patient and think long-term.
– The players with the most stamina and focus usually win.
– Differentiate yourself. Do the opposite of what the rest of the table is doing.
– Hope is not a good plan.
– Tony Hsieh

For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny.
– Tony Hsieh

Money alone isn’t enough to bring happiness… happiness is when you’re actually truly ok with
losing everything you have.
– Tony Hsieh

Three types of happiness: pleasure, passion, and higher purpose

The pleasure type of happiness is about always chasing the next high. I like to refer to it as
the “Rock Star” type of happiness because it’s great if you can have a constant flow of
stimuli, but it’s very hard to maintain unless you’re living the lifestyle of a rock star. Research
has shown that of the three types of happiness, this is the shortest lasting. As soon as the
source of stimuli goes away, people’s happiness levels drop immediately.

The passion type of happiness is also known as flow, where peak performance meets peak
engagement, and time flies by. Research has shown that of the three types of happiness,
this is the second longest lasting. Professional athletes sometimes refer to this state as
“being in the zone.”

Higher purpose
The higher-purpose type of happiness is about being part of something bigger than yourself
that has meaning to you. Research has shown that of the three types of happiness, this is
the longest lasting.
– Tony Hsieh

Even if someone is great at their job, even if they are a superstar at their job, if they are bad
for our culture, we fire them for that reason alone. And performance reviews are 50 percent
based on whether you’re living or inspiring Zappo’s culture in others.
– Tony Hsieh

Never outsource your core competency.
– Tony Hsieh

Ever since selling LinkExchange, I’d committed to living by the philosophy that experiences
were much more important to me than material things. Most people assumed that I would
have gone out and bought a fancy and expensive car, but I was content with my Acura
– Tony Hsieh

In The Happiness Hypothesis, author Jonathan Haidt concludes that happiness doesn’t come
primarily from within but, rather, from between. This is one of the reasons why we place so
much emphasis on company culture at Zappos.
– Tony Hsieh

Without conscious and deliberate effort, inertia always wins.
– Tony Hsieh

When people call our call center, our reps don’t have scripts, and they don’t try to up-sell.
They are just judged on whether they go above and beyond for the customer and really
deliver a kind of personal service and emotional connection with our customers.
– Tony Hsieh

We learned a great lesson: If you just focus on making sure that your product or service
continually WOWs people, eventually the press will find out about it.
– Tony Hsieh

I’ve also always been an avid book reader. At Zappos, we encourage our employees to read
books from our library to help them grow, both personally and professionally. There are many
books that have influenced our thinking at Zappos and helped us to get where we are today.
– Tony Hsieh

A word is a word, and a picture is worth a thousand… but a brand is worth a million.
– Tony Hsieh

At Zappos, our belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff – like great
customer service, or building a great long-term brand, or passionate employees and
customers – will happen naturally on its own.
– Tony Hsieh

Learn by doing. Theory is nice, but nothing replaces actual experience.
– Tony Hsieh

I learned that PLUR was an acronym that stood for “Peace, Love, Unity, Respect,” and that it
was the mantra for how people were supposed to carry themselves and behave both at raves
and in life.
– Tony Hsieh

Great companies have a greater purpose and bigger vision beyond just making money or being
number one in a market. A lot of companies fall into the trap of just focusing on making
money, and then they never become a great company.
– Tony Hsieh

In business, one of the most important decisions for an entrepreneur or a CEO to make is
what business to be in. It doesn’t matter how flawlessly a business is executed if it’s the
wrong business or if it’s in too small a market.
– Tony Hsieh

I had decided to stop chasing the money, and start chasing the passion.
– Tony Hsieh

As a guiding principle in life for anything I do, I try to ask myself, What would happen if
everyone on the world acted in the same way? What would the world look like? What would
the net effect be on the overall happiness in the world?
– Tony Hsieh

At, we decided a long time ago that we didn’t want our brand to be just about
shoes, or clothing, or even online retailing. We decided that we wanted to build our brand to
be about the very best customer service and the very best customer experience.
– Tony Hsieh

You gotta love the game. To become really good, you need to live it and sleep it.
– Tony Hsieh

The more diverse your set of friendships are, the more likely you’ll derive both personal and
business benefits from your friendships later down the road. You won’t know exactly what
those benefits will be, but if your friendships are genuine, those benefits will magically appear
2-3 years later down the road.
– Tony Hsieh

Our final list of ten core values, which we still use today:
1. Deliver WOW Through Service
2. Embrace and Drive Change
3. Create Fun and a Little Weirdness
4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
5. Pursue Growth and Learning
6. Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
8. Do More with Less
9. Be Passionate and Determined
10. Be Humble.
– Tony Hsieh

In 2009, we expanded our vision and purpose to a simple statement:
Zappos is about delivering happiness to the world.
– Tony Hsieh