Tony Hsieh, Former Zappos CEO and Holacracy Pioneer Dies at 46
Entrepreneur and management revolutionary Tony Hsieh died on Friday, November 27, 2020 after being injured in a house fire.
Hsieh was famously the former CEO of Zappos, a company that revolutionized the way shoe shopping and the way customer service worked. He also pioneered a management concept called Holacracy. While Zappos tacitly withdrew from Holacracy, it left a lasting impact on the business – and likely affected how you run your business (even if you’ve never heard the term before).
Under the leadership of Hsieh, Zappos switched to this bottom-up, individually oriented leadership style. Holacracy does away with strict hierarchies and titles and instead relies on community-style leadership.
Hsieh is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Delivering Happiness”. Blinkist summarizes the main points of the book as follows:
- It is important to discover what you are passionate about and, conversely, what you don’t want to do.
- Take things slow. Growing quickly can be counterproductive if the wrong people are hired.
- Your company’s success is closely related to your culture. So focus on creating one that you believe in.
- Make an effort to always learn and make it a priority for your employees too.
- Pick one thing you want your organization to be the best at and focus on that thing.
- Don’t focus on getting your brand going; instead, build engagement and trust by treating people well.
- Have a vision of a higher purpose so that your ultimate outcome is happiness.
Think about how these concepts have influenced you and your business and management style. Are the startups out there based on strict hierarchies? Or is there more input from all management levels? Do you focus on culture? What about passion
All of these ideas from Tony Hsieh have taken over the corporate culture so much that reading the list of key points you might yawn – you know all of these things. But because of Hsieh’s guidance, you know her.
Hsieh’s entrepreneurial life didn’t start at Zappos – he started a company that revolutionized internet advertising before turning to shoes.
Tony Hsieh, my partner and co-founder of LinkExchange, has passed away. Tony, I miss you. ️ You were among the most creative people I have known. I will remember your unique combination of genius and calamity and your annoying ability to bet against all odds and win. https://t.co/rI9unaHWDW
– Ali Partovi (@apartovi) November 28, 2020
LinkExchange provided a platform for advertising via banner ads. It seems obvious now, but it was a new and exciting concept and Hsieh sold LinkExchange to Microsoft for $ 265 million. Your company is likely to rely on this concept, just as you are likely to rely on the ideas of a flatter organization, where individuals have more power over their own areas of responsibility.
While Hsieh was best known for his years at Zappos, which included selling Zappos to Amazon, his projects didn’t end when he left Zappos. His last project was the revitalization of Las Vegas through an organization called DTP.
46 is incredibly young. Unfortunately we will not know what else Hsieh could have come up with if he had lived longer.
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