Tony Hsieh, Zappos' CEO, on Happiness

Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com, blew away the crowd this morning at LeWeb with an inspiring speech about meaning/purpose and happiness. A long applause followed his presentation.

Tony Hsieh Zappos LeWeb Paris December 2009

Highlights:

  • Hsieh says Zappos takes most of the money they would have invested in marketing and invests it in customer experience
  • The corporate culture is the number one priority. Zappos hires for culture, they give five weeks of training to every new employee, they offer new hires $2000 after one week to quit, they have a culture book, and use twitter to build culture
  • They base their decisions on the 3Cs: Clothing / Customer service / Culture
  • They worry about customer happiness, employee happiness, vendor happiness
  • What separates great from good companies? Culture: committable core values
  • The main comment he gets: “that’s great but it would never work at my company”. Hsieh says it doesn’t matter what your values are, the important is to stick to them.
  • As for vision, he says that whatever you’re thinking, think bigger. Does the vision have meaning? Chase the vision, not the money.
  • Everyone should take a step back and ask what is your goal in life and the reasons why it’s your goal? and then you should ask why you answered that? and try it again. Keep asking “why” and everyone eventually answers “happiness”.
  • Problem: people are very bad at predicting what will bring them sustained happiness.
  • The few different frameworks of happiness: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness, vision/meaning (something bigger than yourself)
  • Meaning / higher purpose is the most sustainable way to be reach happiness

Hsieh suggested three books if you’re interested in the topic:

By the way, do you know you can visit Zappos’ offices in Las Vegas. Details here.

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