In this new episode of my Foundation video series, I talk with Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, about entrepreneurship, fostering corporate culture, and his latest project to fuel a thriving tech community in Las Vegas.
Tony opens up about starting his first company, LinkExchange, an early take on Web advertising which was acquired by Microsoft for $265 million. He tells why his first startup taught him to pay close attention to company culture, outlines how founders can map company culture to their personal values, and explains why Zappos actually pays people to quit. Tony also discusses his latest efforts to accelerate the tech ecosystem in Las Vegas and his goal to fund at least 100 local tech startups.
Tony Hsieh’s advice on how to hire the right people to build a great company culture:
From the beginning, company culture was always important. Is this someone I would choose to hang out with or grab a drink with, if we weren’t in business? If the answer was no, we wouldn’t hire them.
Kevin Rose is a general partner at Google Ventures. You can watch Kevin’s prior Foundation episode, an interview with Tom Conrad, CTO of Pandora, here.
Tony originally got involved with Zappos as an advisor and investor in 1999, about 2 months after the company was founded. Over time, Tony ended up spending more and more time with the company because it was both the most fun and the most promising out of all the companies that he was involved with. He eventually joined Zappos full time in 2000. Under his leadership, Zappos has grown gross merchandise sales from $1.6M in 2000 to $840M in...
Kevin Rose is a Partner at Google Ventures, where he primarily focuses on early-stage and seed investments. Prior to joining Google Ventures, Kevin co-founded Milk, a mobile application development company in San Francisco. Previously Kevin was the founder of Digg, and co-founder of Revision3, and Pownce (acquired by Six Apart). In addition, Rose is the founder of Foundation, a private newsletter and podcast, and formerly was co-host of the tech news podcast Diggnation.
Zappos is an online retailer specializing in shoes. In addition to shoes they sell handbags, clothing, eyewear, watches and accessories. The company is currently based in Henderson, NV, with a warehouse in Shepherdsville, KY. In addition, Zappos has a small number of brick-and-mortar outlet stores. The name Zappos is derived from the Spanish word zapatos, meaning shoes.