Tony Hsieh

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pages: 222 words: 75,778

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

call centre, crowdsourcing, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Tony Hsieh, Y2K

And just like that, the idea for the Zappos Culture Book was born, and it’s been a part of Zappos ever since. Every year, a new edition of the Zappos Culture Book is produced, which we give out to prospective employees, vendors, and even customers. I sent the following e-mail to all of our employees in August 2004: From: Tony Hsieh To: All Zappos Employees Subject: Zappos Culture Book We will be putting together a mini-book as part of the orientation package for all new hires about the Zappos culture. Our culture is the combination of all of our employees’ ideas about the culture, so we would like to include everyone’s thoughts in this book. Please email me 100–500 words about what the Zappos culture means to you. (What is the Zappos culture? What’s different about it compared to other company cultures? What do you like about our culture?) We will compile everyone’s contribution into the book.

We had to communicate with Zappos employees, Zappos vendors, Amazon employees, Amazon vendors, the press calling Amazon, the press calling Zappos, our customers, the SEC, our board of directors, our investors, and the general public all within a two-hour window, and it had to be perfectly coordinated. It felt like we were about to launch a rocket to the moon. Finally, at the predetermined time, I sent the following e-mail to our employees: Date: July 22, 2009 From: Tony Hsieh To: All Zappos Employees Subject: Zappos and Amazon Please set aside 20 minutes to carefully read this entire email. (My apologies for the occasional use of formal-sounding language, as parts of it are written in a particular way for legal reasons.) Today is a big day in Zappos history. This morning, our board approved and we signed what’s known as a “definitive agreement,” in which all of the existing shareholders and investors of Zappos (there are over 100) will be exchanging their Zappos stock for Amazon stock.

If you have any questions about your specific job or department, please talk to your department manager. For all other questions, comments, or thoughts, please feel free to email me. —Tony Hsieh, CEO After the weekend had passed, I sent a follow up e-mail to our remaining employees, which we also publicly posted on our blogs: Date: November 11, 2008 From: Tony Hsieh To: All Zappos Employees Subject: Moving forward Last week was a tough week for everyone, as we went through the process of laying off 8% of the Zappos family. At the same time, it was also heartwarming hearing all the stories of Zappos employees and ex-employees getting together for drinks Thursday night after the layoffs as well as over the weekend. The economic environment we’re in right now is unlike any we’ve ever witnessed in our lifetime.

pages: 280 words: 82,355

Extreme Teams: Why Pixar, Netflix, AirBnB, and Other Cutting-Edge Companies Succeed Where Most Fail by Robert Bruce Shaw, James Foster, Brilliance Audio

Airbnb, augmented reality, call centre, cloud computing, deliberate practice, Elon Musk, future of work, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Jony Ive, loose coupling, meta analysis, meta-analysis, nuclear winter, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, Peter Thiel, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh

One person in the group suggested that they order out from a pizzeria. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh suggested, half in jest, that they call the Zappos 800 number for ordering shoes. He said they should, without telling the Zappos call-center employee who they were, ask for help in finding a pizzeria that would deliver to the hotel. Hsieh made a bet that the Zappos call-center employee would help because his firm is dedicated to serving others—regardless of the request. One of the Sketchers people took the CEO up on his boast and made the call, with others in the group listening in on the speakerphone. The Zappos call-center employee was initially confused as to how to respond. But, as Hsieh predicted, she then helped locate the desired pizza. Tony Hsieh tells this story to illustrate that his firm’s first priority is not selling shoes but, instead, creating happiness through service to others.14 This statement is more than rhetoric at Zappos.

The comparison is inevitable given the degree of passion one finds within these companies, particularly when they are led by a highly charismatic leader who engenders a strong sense of loyalty. Zappos, for example, is very much the creation of its founder Tony Hsieh. His personality is stamped on most of the company’s beliefs and practices. For example, he believes that the lines most people draw between their work and personal lives are artificial and unhealthy. He requires Zappos managers to actively socialize outside of work with others on their teams. Hsieh believes this fosters closer relationships and allows good ideas to surface more naturally. Managers who are unwilling to do so are not hired or don’t remain with the firm. A second example of Zappos being an expression of Hsieh’s thinking involves his dislike of hierarchy. He is now implementing a new organizational approach in Zappos with an emphasis on self-managing teams, called holacracy.17 In the simplest terms, holacracy eliminates most of the authority structures found in traditional firms (including titles).

In fact, it can mean that relationships are seen as peripheral in comparison to the product or service being produced. Cutting-edge teams realize the risk in this approach and, instead, want people to be equally obsessed with the culture of their firms. They want those who are consumed not only with their work; they want people who are consumed with creating relationships that are the foundation of a great company. Again, consider Tony Hsieh of Zappos. The firm he founded prior to Zappos was an Internet advertising group. It was eventually bought by Microsoft for $265 million. Hsieh says he sold his first firm because, as it grew, he no longer wanted to work there. He notes, When it was starting out, when it was just 5 or 10 of us, it was like your typical dot-com. We were all really excited, working around the clock, sleeping under our desks, had no idea what day of the week it was.

pages: 197 words: 59,946

The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, business process, call centre, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, crowdsourcing,, hiring and firing, intangible asset, Jeff Bezos, new economy, pre–internet, Skype, social software, Tony Hsieh

That’s what capitalism understands and communism doesn’t. Tony Hsieh’s Letter to His Employees When Amazon acquired Zappos, even the way the acquisition was announced was culturally significant. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, wrote an incredibly personal letter to Zappos employees explaining the details of the transaction, what it meant for the company, and how it would affect their jobs. Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2009 From: Tony Hsieh (CEO— To: All Zappos Employees Subject: Zappos and Amazon Please set aside 20 minutes to carefully read this entire email. (My apologies for the occasional use of formal-sounding language, as parts of it are written in a particular way for legal reasons.) Today is a big day in Zappos history. This morning, our board approved and we signed what’s known as a “definitive agreement,” in which all of the existing shareholders and investors of Zappos (there are over 100) will be exchanging their Zappos stock for Amazon stock.

The feelings I’m experiencing are similar to what I felt in college on graduation day: excitement about the future mixed with fond memories of the past. The last 10 years were an incredible ride, and I’m excited about what we will accomplish together over the next 10 years as we continue to grow Zappos! —Tony Hsieh CEO— Compare this letter to some of the stiff, jargon-filled letters most CEOs send out to their companies when they make big announcements. They may as well have been written by HAL, from 2001: A Space Odyssey, for all the genuine personality, compassion, and concern they project. Very few employees feel safe after receiving one of those, yet I imagine that most of the Zappos staff who read Hsieh’s letter believed that the decisions made on behalf of the company were made with the right intent. And good intent, as we’ve discussed, goes a long, long way. How Innovation Feeds Culture You can never lose by going out on a creative limb.

He also makes the point that he believes Amazon and Zappos are compatible because they both obsess over customer service (though as Tony Hsieh points out in the letter he wrote to Zappos employees to announce the deal, they do it in different ways). Specifically, what he says is, “When given the choice of obsessing over competitors, or obsessing over customers, we [Amazon] always obsess over customers.” Bezos hasn’t asked for my advice, but I’m going to give it anyway. If he or anyone else wants to dominate in the Thank You Economy, there’s one more obsession that has to take root that isn’t mentioned in his video. Success in the Thank You Economy hinges on obsessively caring about the customer, yes, but a great caring culture stems from the top of a company and cascades through it like a waterfall. If you want that culture to flow outside of the company to the customer, and then get carried even farther by word of mouth, you have to be sure that your messengers live and breathe it the same way you do.

pages: 223 words: 63,484

Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality by Scott Belsky

centralized clearinghouse, index card, lone genius, market bubble, Merlin Mann, New Journalism, Results Only Work Environment, rolodex, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, Tony Hsieh, young professional

Nevertheless, your ability to make use of many of the benefits that your community can provide for you depends on how transparent you are with your ideas, objectives, and progress. Tony Hsieh, CEO of the online retailing company Zappos, has spoken extensively about how the microblogging and social networking platform Twitter has helped his company build stronger relationships both externally (with customers) and internally (among employees). When Hsieh made the decision to embrace transparency both personally and professionally by using Twitter, the impact was powerful. Hsieh explained in a post on his company blog: Because radical transparency was part of the culture of [T]weeting, I decided to give it a try and be as transparent as possible, both for myself personally and for Zappos. It was also consistent with [one of Zappos’s core values]: “Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication.”

For a business that puts customer service at the center of its mission, the commitment and contentment of its employees is extremely important—and employee morale at Zappos is legendary. I was struck by the expression of company spirit as my tour guide led me through the company’s cavernous hallways. Every department offered a custom greeting as we passed. The “Kids’ Shoes” team shook their pompoms. The “Clothing” department rang cowbells. The “Company Coach,” Vik, took a photo of me wearing a crown and placed it on the VIP wall—reserved for everyone who comes to visit Zappos. Because, Vik explained, “at a company all about service, everyone is a VIP.” The CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, also serves as the company’s cultural attaché, with a steady stream of speaking engagements, blog posts, and Twitter commentary. Hsieh believes wholeheartedly in the value of happiness as the backbone of a service-based business.

Your team’s chemistry is a reflection of your ability to strike a harmonious balance and constantly make small tweaks in the service of making ideas happen. During my visit with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, it was clear that a potential employee’s culture-fit and commitment to serving customers are as important as the technical skills required for the job. To demonstrate this core value, Hsieh tells the story about a key technical hire—a top executive—whom the company recruited and moved from Los Angeles to Zappos’s headquarters in Las Vegas. Upon arriving to solve some critical technology challenges for the company, the new hire made it clear that he wasn’t interested in doing any direct customer support. The company fired him, losing quite a bit of money in the process. The reason? Zappos considers interest in customer support as a basic expectation, a prime element of the company’s DNA.

pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk,, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, lifelogging, loose coupling, loss aversion, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Any Googler can look up the OKRs of other colleagues and teams to see what they’re trying to achieve and how successful they’ve been in the past. Such transparency takes a considerable amount of cultural and organizational courage, but Google has found that the openness it engenders is worth any discomfort. Tony Hsieh built Zappos into a billion dollar company using this very same philosophy. Everything at Zappos is about customer service and openness. Its publicly available and annually updated 500-page Culture Book defines who and what the company is. According to David Vik, Zappos’ “company coach,” there are five key precepts to Zappos that drive culture across the organization: Vision: What you’re doing Purpose: Why you do it Business model: What will fuel you as you’re doing it Wow and uniqueness factors: What sets you apart from others Values: What matters to you The control frameworks used by traditional organizations were devised because the longer (and slower) feedback loops between management and teams often required considerable oversight and intervention.

They evaluate employees based on their fit within the company culture and offer suggestions on how to improve that fit. To be eligible for raises, employees must pass skill-based tests. Zappos also regularly holds internal incentive competitions and hackathons, most relating to company data and APIs. In 2011 Zappos opened its competitions to the external developer community as well (the API Developer Challenge and the Winter Hackathon), and awarded money and gift certificates to the winners [Engagement]. In December 2013, CEO Tony Hsieh adopted the Holacracy approach and shook up the 1,500-person organization by moving to full Autonomy. After six months, 225 employees had been transitioned from the old hierarchical model, and Zappos is currently stripping all job titles and management layers—eventually, even the CEO job will disappear. This is an extraordinary move for a large firm, perhaps the largest such transition ever attempted.

In 2013, Reddit, which has just fifty-one employees, most of whom manage the platform, saw 731 million unique visitors cast 6.7 billion votes on 41 million stories. Talk about a platform…(More on this later.) Tony Hsieh, CEO of Las Vegas-based Zappos, was inspired by the Burning Man community to combine both physical and trait-based communities within his Las Vegas Downtown Project. The project combines work and play in an urban landscape with homes, infrastructure, hacker spaces, shops, cafe/theater and art. In addition to the goal of helping to transform the downtown area into the most community-focused large city in the world, Hsieh aims to create the smartest place on the planet by maximizing the chances of serendipitous learning between Zappos insiders and outsiders. The result is not only a community built around common passions, but also around a common location. Note that in early stages, many companies find it easier to join an existing community that shares its MTP.

pages: 372 words: 89,876

The Connected Company by Dave Gray, Thomas Vander Wal

A Pattern Language, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, Berlin Wall, business cycle, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, complexity theory, creative destruction, David Heinemeier Hansson, disruptive innovation,, factory automation, Googley, index card, industrial cluster, interchangeable parts, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, loose coupling, low cost airline, market design, minimum viable product, more computing power than Apollo, profit maximization, Richard Florida, Ruby on Rails, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, Vanguard fund, web application, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

Zappos treats frequent customers well, with surprises like upgrades from standard ground shipping to next-day air. Making customers happy, says CEO Tony Hsieh, leads to cost savings elsewhere, like marketing. “We let our customers do our marketing,” he says. By making sure they get the right people and giving them the autonomy and authority they need to serve customers, Zappos call centers are designed to absorb variety, not contain it. Freedom to Experiment Service leaders like Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom, and Ritz-Carlton give employees wide latitude to resolve issues for customers. At Southwest Airlines, employees are expected to act immediately to take care of customers and to check with a supervisor only if a customer asks for something that makes them feel uncomfortable. At Nordstrom, employees are told to use their best judgment in all situations.

It often involves things that seem like sacrifices in the short term, like trusting a customer and accepting a returned product without questions or skepticism, or promptly paying an insurance claim. This means valuing long-term relationships over transactions and short-term profits. In the long run, the Golden Rule strategy is the most winning strategy of all. Make people feel good. Happiness is contagious. Happy employees create happy customers. Happy customers create happy shareholders. As Tony Hsieh of Zappos has said clearly and often: happiness is a business model. Principles Trump Processes Every connected company stands for something. It has opinions. Its people are bound together by shared purpose and principles. One way to help people make good decisions in uncertain environments is to have a strong, constant purpose so everyone understands the job to be done, and a few clear principles that they can use to guide their decisions about “how” to do that job.

Fred Mosser, who came to online shoe retailer Zappos from Nordstrom to head up merchandising, soon realized that with an online catalog, Zappos would be managing so many brands and styles that they would never be able to staff enough buyers to manage them adequately. So they engaged vendors to help them. Zappos opened up their data and gave vendors the same access to information that their buyers had. Since the average buyer works with 50 brands, by making their buyer data transparent, Zappos multiplies the thinking power of each buyer by 50. Vendors can see inventory levels, prices, and profitability. They can suggest orders to buyers and communicate with Zappos creative teams about marketing and make changes to their brand boutique on the Zappos website. Usually, retailers hide their profits so they can demand lower prices from vendors.

pages: 240 words: 65,363

Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Barry Marshall: ulcers, call centre, Cass Sunstein, colonial rule, Edward Glaeser, Everything should be made as simple as possible, food miles, Gary Taubes, income inequality, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, medical residency, Metcalfe’s law, microbiome, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Tony Hsieh, transatlantic slave trade, éminence grise

DeVoss, “Ping-Pong Diplomacy,” Smithsonian, April 2002; “The Ping Heard Round the World,” Time, April 26, 1971. 128 ZAPPOS: This section was based in part on author interviews with Tony Hsieh and a visit to Zappos headquarters. See also: Hsieh, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose (Business Plus, 2010); Hsieh, “How I Did It: Zappos’s CEO on Going to Extremes for Customers,” Harvard Business Review, July 2010; Robin Wauters, “Amazon Closes Zappos Deal, Ends Up Paying $1.2 Billion,” TechCrunch, November 2, 2009; Hsieh, “Amazon Closing,”, November 2, 2009; Alexandra Jacobs, “Happy Feet,” The New Yorker, September 14, 2009. “You guys are just the best” testimonial on by Jodi M., February 21, 2006. 131 MEXICO CITY HAS LONG SUFFERED FROM DREADFUL TRAFFIC JAMS: See Lucas W.

All they have to do is go through an exit interview and surrender their eligibility to be rehired at Zappos. Doesn’t that sound nuts? What kind of company would offer a new employee $2,000 to not work? A clever company. “It’s really putting the employee in the position of ‘Do you care more about money or do you care more about this culture and the company?’ “ says Tony Hsieh, the company’s CEO. “And if they care more about the easy money, then we probably aren’t the right fit for them.” Hsieh figured that any worker who would take the easy $2,000 was the kind of worker who would end up costing Zappos a lot more in the long run. By one industry estimate, it costs an average of roughly $4,000 to replace a single employee, and one recent survey of 2,500 companies found that a single bad hire can cost more than $25,000 in lost productivity, lower morale, and the like. So Zappos decided to pay a measly $2,000 up front and let the bad hires weed themselves out before they took root.

Retail Compensation and Benefits Survey,” October 2013; Jordan Melnick, “Hiring’s New Frontier,”, September 2012; and Melnick, “More Than Minimum Wage,”, November 2011. 150 A WORKER WITH A FOUR-YEAR DEGREE EARNS ABOUT 75 PERCENT MORE: See “Education at a Glance 2013: OECD Indicators” (OECD, 2013). 150 ZAPPOS AND “THE OFFER”: See Stephen J. Dubner, “The Upside of Quitting,” September 30, 2011; Stacey Vanek-Smith conducted the interview with Tony Hsieh and other Zappos employees. Thanks to various Zappos employees for follow-up interviews. / 151 It costs an average of roughly $4,000 to replace a single employee: See Arindrajit Dube, Eric Freeman, and Michael Reich, “Employee Replacement Costs,” U.C.-Berkeley working paper, 2010. / 151 A single bad hire can cost . . . : Drawn from a CareerBuilder survey by Harris Interactive. 152 THE SECRET BULLET FACTORY AND THE WARM-BEER ALARM: Based primarily on author visit to the site, with follow-up correspondence with Yehudit Ayalon.

pages: 296 words: 76,284

The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving by Leigh Gallagher

Airbnb, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, car-free, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collaborative consumption, Columbine, commoditize, crack epidemic, East Village, edge city, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, New Urbanism, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, Ponzi scheme, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tony Hsieh, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, young professional, Zipcar

In the mornings, the traffic on the 101, the main commuting freeway out of San Francisco toward the Valley, is now heavier heading out of the city than the reverse. One of the more interesting company relocations these days is happening in Las Vegas, where Zappos, the online shoe giant, is getting ready to move from a cookie-cutter suburban office park off a highway interchange in Henderson, Nevada, to a brand-new headquarters in Las Vegas’s old city hall. The company’s CEO, Tony Hsieh, is something of a guru when it comes to building workplaces, and the zany, quirky Zappos offices are legendary both for the employees’ cubicles, which are decorated with streamers, foil, kitschy figurines, faux-jungle greenery, and more, and for its stated mission to “create fun and a little weirdness.” But even with all the office whimsy, Hsieh, a big believer in the benefits of the spontaneous “collisions” that occur among employees when they are encouraged to socialize and have places to do so, felt his company’s culture was stifled by its suburban location.

But with people spending so much time in their cars and in their houses, and with many communities lacking a walkable town center or pleasantly walkable residential streets, the spontaneous interaction that comes from, for example, walking down a Main Street or a central square or even down the block is harder to come by. And that spontaneous interaction is important, as a growing body of research has shown. Researchers have found that when people bump into each other, good things happen. Both the Harvard economist and urban scholar Edward Glaeser and the urban theorist Richard Florida have linked higher-density or pedestrian-friendly places to higher levels of innovation. Tony Hsieh, the CEO of, is moving his company from suburban Henderson, Nevada, to downtown Las Vegas precisely because he believes the “serendipitous collisions” that happen when people are freer to walk between the office and local cafés, restaurants, and other public places will make his employees happier, help them forge closer relationships with one another, and lead to the faster cultivation of new ideas.

Katz also points out that having choices is only going to become more important: unlike other mature countries—like, say, Germany or Japan—we’re still experiencing massive rates of growth; the U.S. population is growing at the rate of thirty million a decade. Our racial and ethnic makeup is evolving. We have many different cohorts and a continuum of housing preferences. “People really just want more alternatives,” Katz says. Now, they will undoubtedly get them. But there’s still some of what Chuck Marohn of Minnesota would call “lobster-eating” going on. Driving around the far reaches of Summerlin, Nevada, after my visit with Zappos’s Tony Hsieh, I found myself at what seemed like the end of the earth. It was really just a small subdivision up a hill right off Paseo Breeze Drive, but as I drove up the half-developed street, it seemed like the final frontier, the edge of the developed United States itself. Soon the pavement turned to dirt road, and I pulled over when the road ended and got out of my rental car. There was a chain-link fence with alarming DANGER/NO TRESPASSING!

pages: 407 words: 90,238

Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work by Steven Kotler, Jamie Wheal

3D printing, Alexander Shulgin, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, disruptive innovation, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk,, high batting average, hive mind, Hyperloop, impulse control, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lateral thinking, Mason jar, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, music of the spheres, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, science of happiness, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, urban planning

In 2007, Elon Musk did just that: Gregory Ferenstein, “Burning Man Founder Is Cool with Capitalism, and Silicon Valley Billionaires,” TechCrunch, September 3, 2013. 11. He also came up with the ideas: Sarah Buhr, “Elon Musk Is Right, Burning Man Is Silicon Valley,” TechCrunch, September 4, 2004; Ferenstein, “Burning Man Founder Is Cool with Capitalism, and Silicon Valley Billionaires.” 12. Zappos founder and CEO Tony Hsieh: David Hochman, “Playboy Interview: Tony Hsieh,” Playboy, April 2014. 13. While much has been made of the fact’: Zack Guzman, “Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Shares What He Would Have Changed About his $350M Downtown Las Vegas Project,” CNBC, August 9, 2016, and Jennifer Reingold, “How a Radical Shift Left Zappos Reeling,” Fortune, March 4, 2016. 14. As Burning Man cofounder Will Roger: Nellie Bowles, “Is Burning Man on the Cusp of Becoming a Permanent Utopian Community?,” New York August 30, 2015. 15. This is all part of the evolution of Burning Man: “We Bought Fly Ranch,” Burning Man Journal, June 10, 2016. 16.

It’s the world’s first ecstatically inspired eco-town, though it didn’t start out that way. Summit began in 2008, when five entrepreneurs in their early twenties came together to solve a common problem. They didn’t know any really successful entrepreneurs, and had no one to ask for advice. So the quintet came up with a creative solution: cold-call business leaders and ask them to go skiing. Nineteen people showed up, including Zappos’s Tony Hsieh and Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz. “We learned that when you take a bunch of really bright, diverse people,” explains Rosenthal, “and let them share a dynamic immersive experience, you get powerful results. Lifelong friendships were formed. It removed the tedious, transactional nature of networking. I guess you could say that one of the things we discovered on that trip was that altered states accelerate business.”

Their goal was to forge a future based on the shared experience of communitas writ large: a permanent Burning Man community, a place where experiments with the four forces could be conducted year round. As Burning Man cofounder Will Roger recently wrote: “I would argue that the proposal is part of a large strain of utopian separatism that can be found in the modern-tech boom: Peter Thiel’s Sea-steading efforts or Tony Hsieh’s attempt to build a start-up city in Las Vegas. But a Burning Man permanent community would arguably be the most interesting and achievable manifestation of it.”14 In the summer of 2016, they achieved just that, closing on the purchase of Fly Ranch, a parcel of nearly four thousand acres a few miles north of the festival site, filled with geysers, hot springs, and wetlands. “This is all part of the evolution of Burning Man,”15 the organization announced, “from an ephemeral experiment into a global cultural movement having an impact on social, economic and artistic norms and structures.

pages: 260 words: 76,223

Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It. by Mitch Joel

3D printing, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, call centre, clockwatching, cloud computing, Firefox, future of work, ghettoisation, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, place-making, prediction markets, pre–internet, QR code, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, Tony Hsieh, white picket fence, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

In June 2010, Delivering Happiness was published and became an instant bestseller. The book is written by Tony Hsieh—the CEO of Zappos. Most people know Zappos as the hot footwear/clothing retailer that has taken the e-commerce world by storm, or for the acquisition of Zappos by Amazon (which paid close to $1 billion for the business). Scratching a little deeper beneath the surface, you’ll uncover that what really drives this profitable, likable, and media-friendly company is amazing customer service. Buying shoes seems like one of the more difficult things to do online, but Zappos has overcome this hurdle by initiating a radical (and much-lauded) customer service protocol. Sure, anything you buy is easy, simple, and carefree to return, but it’s the Zappos customer service people and how they interact with their consumers (mail, phone, and online) that has really changed the game.

The major record labels within the music industry are making their struggles even worse because they don’t have a social business framework. They were always in control (of the artists, of the music’s distribution channel, of what the fans would hear), and they took that power on with the kind of pretentious attitude that is similar to how kings used to rule their empires. When the C-suite makes the call, everything changes. Don’t believe me? Just ask Tony Hsieh over at Zappos, Richard Branson at Virgin, or Marc Benioff at These business leaders (and there are many more) didn’t sell social business through their organizations as a marketing and communications initiative. They sold it through as customer service. We’re not talking about customer service in terms of the call center, we’re talking about the core of customer service: Why are we in business?

The reality of the future is simple: Again, all businesses must be social. If you don’t turn marketing into a horizontal that runs pervasively throughout the organization, your competitors will. And when they do, they will not only eat your lunch but they will marry your beloved consumers. Want an excellent primer on social business and customer service? Pick up a copy of the blockbuster bestseller Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. You’ll get a terrific understanding of how and why Zappos has become beloved by its millions of customers. THE NEXT #3—RISE OF THE INDIE BRAND. In March 2012, I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote address at the Art of Marketing event in Toronto. With more than fifteen hundred business professionals in attendance, I shared the stage with people like Martin Lindstrom (author of Brandwashed and Buyology), Randi Zuckerberg (former head of marketing at Facebook and sister of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg), Scooter Braun (music industry professional and the person who discovered and manages Justin Bieber), and many others.

pages: 102 words: 27,769

Rework by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson

call centre, Clayton Christensen, Dean Kamen, Exxon Valdez, fault tolerance, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, Ralph Nader, risk tolerance, Ruby on Rails, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, Y Combinator

Decommoditize your product. Make it something no one else can offer. Look at, a billion-dollar online shoe retailer. A pair of sneakers from Zappos is the same as a pair from Foot Locker or any other retailer. But Zappos sets itself apart by injecting CEO Tony Hsieh’s obsession with customer service into everything it does. At Zappos, customer-service employees don’t use scripts and are allowed to talk at length with customers. The call center and the company’s headquarters are in the same place, not oceans apart. And all Zappos employees—even those who don’t work in customer service or fulfillment—start out by spending four weeks answering phones and working in the warehouse. It’s this devotion to customer service that makes Zappos unique among shoe sellers.* Another example is Polyface, an environmentally friendly Virginia farm owned by Joel Salatin.

More Praise for Rework “In typical 37signals fashion, the wisdom in these pages is edgy yet simple, straightforward, and proven … Read this book multiple times to help give you the courage you need to get out there and make something great.” —Tony Hsieh, CEO, “The brilliance of Rework is that it inspires you to rethink everything you thought you knew about strategy, customers, and getting things done.” —William C. Taylor, founding editor of Fast Company and coauthor of Mavericks at Work “For me, Rework posed a new challenge: stifling the urge to rip out each page and tape it to my wall … Amazing, powerful, inspirational—those adjectives might make me sound like a fawning fan, but Rework is that useful. After you’ve finished it, be prepared for a new feeling of clarity and motivation.”

pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kangaroo Route, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, kremlinology, low cost airline, Marchetti’s constant, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Calthorpe, Peter Thiel,, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, starchitect, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

When Zappos opened in 1999, it relied on the long tail to find its customers—women wearing a size thirteen, for instance—who were frustrated by the selection at shoe stores. Zappos made its mark early by always being in stock. I once called Converse about a pair of Jack Purcells. “We’re out,” the operator said, “but you might want to try Zappos.” Since then, Zappos has rebranded itself around customer service, which it has elevated to an almost saintly ideal. It famously pays new employees to quit—as much as $2,000—if they are insufficiently committed to the cause. The ones who stick it out receive free, comprehensive health insurance and full indoctrination into a cult. The first item on Zappos’ list of core values is “Deliver ‘wow’ through service,” and the last is “Be humble.” In between is “Build open and honest relationships with communication.” Tony Hsieh, its CEO, has taken this to heart, Facebooking and Twittering constantly to a half-million followers.

Which is why it offers free, unlimited returns. Zappos wants you to treat your living room as the store, trying on as many pairs in as many colors and sizes as you like, guilt-free, before sending back what you don’t keep. Customers love it. In the first half of 2009—dark days for retailing— buyers of fashion footwear spent almost 20 percent more online than they had the previous year, while sales at brick-and-mortar stores fell 11 percent. “In the long term,” Tony Hsieh told me, “we want our brand to be about the best service. And we deliver the best brand experience with overnight delivery and free returns. We just happened to start with shoes the same way Amazon just happened to start with books.” In the short term it’s worked, albeit too well. Zappos’ best customers also have the most returns. In 2008, Zappos surpassed $1 billion in gross sales for the first time, a year ahead of schedule.

In chronological order, they are to tell the Zappos database what it is and where it is in the warehouse, to confirm it’s been picked for an order, and to double-check which order it’s been assigned to. No one could find my Jack Purcells without them, because no one else knows how. There is no Dewey decimal system. Arriving inventory is simply dropped in the next available space (increasingly by robot) and stocked randomly on the shelves. Its location is noted by Zappos’ omniscient inventory system, named Genghis, and forgotten by everyone else. Random pick, as it’s called, has been used off and on for twenty years. It was already installed at Zappos when Adkins arrived from a competing retailer still struggling to pinpoint the most logical approach. How did Tony Hsieh figure it out? By imagining his warehouse as Genghis would—as if it were a giant computer.

pages: 222 words: 54,506

One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of by Richard L. Brandt

Amazon Web Services, automated trading system, big-box store, call centre, cloud computing, Dynabook, Elon Musk, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, new economy, science of happiness, search inside the book, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, software patent, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

It shipped products to customers for free (even paying return postage if customers decided to send them back), had a one-year return policy, and provided a customer-service call center open twenty-four hours a day. It also paid 100 percent of employees’ health care premiums. How could Bezos resist a company with such ideals and ambitions ? In 2005, he visited CEO Tony Hsieh at Zappos headquarters in Henderson, Nevada, to discuss buying the company. Hsieh turned him down, worried that being absorbed into Amazon would destroy the unique Zappos culture. “We told Jeff that we weren’t interested in selling at any price,” Hsieh wrote in an essay in Inc. magazine. But Bezos returned four years later. Hsieh still didn’t want to sell. Zappos was now profitable, but the economy was in a recession, and Bezos was offering an astounding amount of money, although in the form of stock rather than cash. In April 2009, Hsieh flew to Seattle to talk about the company and its culture, including Hsieh’s philosophy on “the science of happiness—and how we try to use it to serve our customers and employees better.”

“One of the biggest problems: Tim O’Reilly, “Jeff Bezos at Wired Disruptive by Design Conference,” O’Reilly Radar (blog), June 15, 2009, Chapter 16: Head in the Clouds 178. Robert Frederick, then: Wade Roush, “Amazon: Giving Away the Store,” Technology Review, January 2005. 184. Hsieh turned him down: Tony Hsieh, “Why I Sold Zappos,” Inc., June 1, 2010. 185. But Bezos was so excited: Video from Jeff Bezos about Amazon and Zappos, July 27, 2009, Chapter 17: Step by Step, Courageously 187. It adorned a warehouse: Brad Stone, “Bezos in Space,” Newsweek, May 5, 2003. 188. We want to try: Hof, “Speaking Out:’s Jeff Bezos,” BusinessWeek , August 18–25, 2003. 190. As he explains in a video:

“Zappos is a company I have long admired for a very important reason,” he said in the video. “Zappos has a customer obsession. . . . I get all weak-kneed when I see a customer-obsessed company.” In fact, he seems to just love everything about the Zappos culture. “Zappos has a totally unique culture,” he added. “I’ve never seen a company with a culture like Zappos’s. . . . That culture and the Zappos brand are huge assets that I value very much, and I want to see those things continue.” Even when not buying companies to add to Amazon, Bezos likes to invest in other companies he believes are exceptional. Despite a lot of bad dot-com investments in the late 1990s, Bezos has not been shy about trying again. He was an early investor in both Google and Twitter. Bezos has learned not only how to create a great company, but how to recognize other great companies in the making.

pages: 481 words: 120,693

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, assortative mating, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, call centre, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, double helix, energy security, estate planning, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, global village, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, high net worth, income inequality, invention of the steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liberation theology, light touch regulation, linear programming, London Whale, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, NetJets, new economy, Occupy movement, open economy, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Solar eclipse in 1919, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, stem cell, Steve Jobs, the new new thing, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

—Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments DELIVERING HAPPINESS If you ever have to work at a call center, make sure it is Zappos. The online retailer has built a business around the idea of, as founder Tony Hsieh put it in his bestselling advice book cum autobiography, Delivering Happiness, the unlikely premise that buying and selling stuff over the phone can be an emotionally nurturing experience for both parties. In pursuit of that goal, Zappos has created a corporate culture so widely admired that the online shoe seller now has a business sideline teaching others how to operate the Zappos way—for $5,000 and two days of your time, you and your top team can be trained on how to bring the Zappos culture back to your own cubicles. A cheaper option is to take one of the free company tours Zappos offers to anyone who wants one, including complimentary pickup and return on a bus driven by one of the characteristically upbeat members of what they call “the Zappos family.”

But the most potent currency at this and comparable gatherings is neither fame nor money. Rather, it’s what author Michael Lewis has dubbed “the new new thing”—the insight or algorithm or technology with the potential to change the world. Hence the presence of three Nobel laureates, including Daniel Kahneman, a pioneer in behavioral economics. One of the business stars in attendance was then thirty-six-year-old entrepreneur Tony Hsieh, who had sold his Zappos online shoe retailer to Amazon for more than a billion dollars the previous summer. And the most popular session of all was the one in which Google showed off some of its new inventions, including the Nexus phone. This geeky enthusiasm for innovation and ideas is evident at more intimate gatherings of the global elite as well. Take the elegant Manhattan dinner parties hosted by Marie-Josée Kravis, the economist wife of private equity billionaire Henry Kravis in their elegant Upper East Side apartment.

The mood is part self-improvement seminar—the bookshelf is heavy on the works of Jim Collins and Clay Christensen—part wacky college dorm, and part low-rent version of luxe Silicon Valley firms like Google and Facebook. Zappos, too, has free food and a concierge desk for employees, but neither is quite up to the swish standards of the Valley. When we meet for lunch at a steakhouse a five-minute drive away (this is one of those neighborhoods without sidewalks), Hsieh tells me he moved Zappos from San Francisco to Las Vegas because the city has “a call center population” and a twenty-four/seven culture. That’s a nice way of saying this is a place where you can find the lower-skilled, lower-paid workers you need for customer service. Within that universe, though, Zappos really does deliver on its promise of being “free from boring work environments, go-nowhere jobs, and typical corporate America!” Our tour guide—he proudly informs us that you need to know two hundred things about Zappos to be a certified host—says, “I was working at a call center that was kind of the opposite of this—kind of a sweatshop” before joining two and a half years earlier.

pages: 344 words: 96,690

Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff

business process, call centre, centre right, citizen journalism, crowdsourcing, demand response, Donald Trump, estate planning, Firefox, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, social intelligence, Tony Hsieh

This demonstrates an incredible amount of trust in both its employees and its customers, but it also makes it clear to anyone considering buying from Zappos that the company’s commitment to service is real, as reflected in the groundswell. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, tweeting at @zappos, has gathered 1.7 million followers by behaving just as he expects his employees to behave.3 supporting with twitter We’ve already seen that people who use Twitter are influential. As a result, more and more companies are using Twitter to do support. If you create a Twitter account for your company, people will expect you to respond when they tweet their questions and problems to you. And even if you’re not there, that certainly doesn’t stop people from speaking about you on Twitter. AT&T’s management noticed that the company was a Twitter trending topic—a topic highlighted by Twitter for its popularity—from time to time, and not for reasons the company preferred: many of the tweets were about wireless service problems and its tie-up with the Apple iPhone.

The blog “all.things.fadra” by Fadra Nally is visible at To see her tweets, go to 2. doing “twelve hours in a city.” The blog “Twelve Hours in a City” by Clark Dever and Joe Dinardo is visible at 3. behaving just as his he expects his employees to behave. Tony Hsieh has made a career out of being Tony Hsieh. As of this writing, he has over 1.7 million followers at He’s also written a number-one best-selling book, Delivering Happiness (Business Plus, 2010). The Web site for the book is 4. customer service and sales staff to respond to Twitter requests, as we describe in Empowered. Empowered, the follow-on book from Forrester Research to Groundswell, explains how to manage your company in the era of the empowered consumer.

That got Clark and Joe (and Dunkin’) featured on ABC News. When it comes to energizing, though, one company stands out. Zappos, the online shoe retailer that is now a division of Amazon, encourages all its employees to use Twitter. Since Zappos has built its reputation on an over-the-top level of service, listening and responding on Twitter make natural sense (and the company would most likely agree that it uses Twitter mostly for a supporting objective, rather than an energizing objective). But highlighting this support activity is also an objective, which is why Zappos collects all the Twitter mentions of Zappos and posts them publicly on its Web site at, along with the list of all tweeting employees and all of their tweets. This demonstrates an incredible amount of trust in both its employees and its customers, but it also makes it clear to anyone considering buying from Zappos that the company’s commitment to service is real, as reflected in the groundswell.

pages: 394 words: 57,287

Unleashed by Anne Morriss, Frances Frei

"side hustle", Airbnb, Donald Trump, future of work, gig economy, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, Jeff Bezos, Netflix Prize, Network effects, performance metric, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, women in the workforce

We have observed that too many businesses underestimate the return on delighting their suppliers. One company that doesn’t make this mistake is Zappos, the service-crazed online retailer that flamboyantly defies industry norms when it comes to suppliers. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is super clear about the rationale for investing in healthy supplier relationships: when your suppliers can’t thrive and make a profit, they start making choices that are bad for you, like cutting back on service and innovation. And when suppliers can thrive—as in Zappos’s case—Hsieh estimates the number of benefits as roughly “endless.”11 The company walks the talk in its supplier relationships. Zappos returns vendor calls within a few hours. Vendors who visit the company’s Las Vegas headquarters are picked up from the airport by a Zappos employee and treated like royalty when they arrive on site. They’re thrown a blowout vendor appreciation party every year at a club on the famed Vegas strip.

This framework is an illustration of value-based strategy, an approach to strategic management that builds on the foundational work of Michael Porter, Adam Brandenburger, and Harbone Stuart. 9. David Yoffie and Eric Baldwin, “Apple Inc. in 2015,” Case 715-456 (Boston: Harvard Business School, 2015). 10. Tim O’Reilly, WTF: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us (New York: Harper Business, 2017). 11. Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2010), 185–186. 12. Ibid., 187–188. 13. Zeynep Ton, The Good Jobs Strategy: How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs and Boost Profits (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2014). 14. QuikTrip, “QuikTrip Opens 800th Store, Celebrates Huge Growth Milestone in Its 60-Year History,” QuikTrip News, April 3, 2019, 15.

Vendors who visit the company’s Las Vegas headquarters are picked up from the airport by a Zappos employee and treated like royalty when they arrive on site. They’re thrown a blowout vendor appreciation party every year at a club on the famed Vegas strip. Zappos even gives vendors access to the company’s own performance data, which helps them run their own companies better while becoming better suppliers to Zappos. And when it comes to negotiating price, Hsieh honors supplier surplus as the strategic input that it is: “Instead of pounding the vendors, we collaborate. We decide together … the amount of risk we want to sign up for, and how quickly we want the business to grow.”12 This same logic applies to all of your suppliers, including your labor suppliers. For most companies, this means your employees, a reminder that HR decisions can be as strategic as anything else we’ve discussed.c Which brings us to an essential question: What should you pay for a steady supply of good labor?

pages: 252 words: 78,780

Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us by Dan Lyons

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Gruber, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, RAND corporation, remote working, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software is eating the world, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tesla Model S, Thomas Davenport, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, young professional

Instead of reducing internal politics and eliminating favoritism, Zappos got more of both. People resented being put into a social experiment and treated like human lab rats. They hated that the system itself was more important than the people working inside it. “Zappos is struggling with Holacracy because humans aren’t designed to operate like software” is how Aimee Groth, a writer at Quartz, put it. Instead of admitting failure, Zappos CEO and founder Tony Hsieh doubled down on Holacracy and added a new concept called Teal, which was created by Frederic Laloux, a Belgian business guru and former McKinsey consultant. Teal isn’t just a management concept. Its proponents bill Teal as—drum roll—“the next stage in the evolution of human consciousness.” Zappos employees get “points” and “badges,” which sounds more like going back to kindergarten than leaping forward into the next stage of human consciousness.

MacRumors, August 9, 2017. Bruch, Heike, and Jochen I. Menges. “The Acceleration Trap.” Harvard Business Review, April 2010 Issue. Holacracy website. Homepage, accessed May 31, 2018. Reingold, Jennifer. “How a Radical Shift Left Zappos Reeling.” Fortune, March 4, 2016. Rogers, Christina. “A Pioneer of the Open Office Helps Ford Rethink the Car.” Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2016. Rumbles, Sally, and Gary Rees. “Continuous Changes, Organizational Burnout, and the Implications for HRD.” Industrial and Commercial Training 45, no. 4 (2013): 236–242.

Robertson admits that the transition to Holacracy can be painful. When Zappos, the online shoe retailer, insisted in 2015 that employees commit to using Holacracy or leave the company, nearly 30 percent walked out. The ones who remained were so unhappy that Zappos fell off the Fortune magazine “Best Places to Work” list, where for years it had been a top company. “Employees were shocked and frustrated by the numerous mandates, the endless meetings and the confusion about who did what,” Fortune reported in 2016. The quarterly all-hands company meeting became “a quirky mix of circus, therapy session, and revival meeting.” People were “confused, demoralized, and whipsawed by the constant pace of change.” On Glassdoor, one Zappos employee declared that “leadership is insane and completely disregards employees and reality in decision making, but parties are fun.”

pages: 261 words: 71,349

The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms by Beth Buelow

fear of failure, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Skype, Tony Hsieh

As an introvert, you know: The truth isn’t out there. It’s in you! Company Culture and Values: Not Just for the Big Guys If you’re a solopreneur, chances are you’ve not given a lot of thought to your company culture. And if you have employees, you’ve probably noticed a particular culture developing, and it may or may not be intentional. In reading the enlightening corporate history of Zappos, Delivering Happiness by introverted CEO Tony Hsieh, I was reminded that the concept of culture is highly relevant, whether you are a company of one or one thousand. It’s the place where values, truth, and purpose come together. According to Hsieh, your culture is your brand. They are two sides of the same coin. We all recognize the importance of our brand; have we paid equal attention to our culture? Because culture and brand are on the same coin, alignment is the key to making sure your business cultivates and sustains strong value.

Rather than seeing introversion as a liability (as most of society treats it), this book provides a road map for entrepreneurs who want to cultivate and amplify their natural, internal strengths. What many people, including introverts themselves, may not know is that the strengths and traits of the typical introvert—curiosity, desire for depth over breadth, comfort with going solo, thoroughness and introspection, love of research—lend themselves well to entrepreneurship. Introvert entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Tony Hsieh, Guy Kawasaki, and others have transformed our lives not by pretending to be extroverts but by applying their introvert strengths to their entrepreneurial endeavors. • • • An introvert trying to be a fake extrovert is just that: a fake extrovert. If you choose to approach your business with that mindset, you won’t solve your problem. You’ll only feed the energetic tug-of-war between your private and public personas.

(Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press, 1998). 2. Fear, Doubt, and Other Icky Stuff 1. Webster’s New World Telecom Dictionary copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing Inc., Indianapolis, IN. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons Inc. 3. Finding Your Voice 1. William Deresiewicz, “Solitude and Leadership,” American Scholar essays, March 1, 2010, 2. Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose (New York: Business Plus, 2010). 3. Anahad O’Connor, “The Claim: A Fake Smile Can Be Bad for Your Health,” New York Times, February 21, 2011. 5. “But I’m Not a Salesperson!” 1. Simon Sinek, Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action, TEDxPugetSound, video recorded September 2009, 2.

pages: 367 words: 117,340

America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to Freedom by Meghan McCain, Michael Black

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, carbon footprint, Columbine, fear of failure, feminist movement, glass ceiling, income inequality, obamacare, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, white picket fence

For the record, I have no affiliation with Zappos other than as a customer. On top of that, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has established a substantial cult following as a result of the wild success of Zappos and its somewhat unorthodox business environment; or depending on your perspective, the working environment all other working environments should follow and replicate. Zappos made Fortune magazine’s annual Best Companies to Work For list and it grosses over a billion dollars in sales annually. In fact Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, has been an overwhelming success, spending twenty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. His latest venture is to rejuvenate downtown Las Vegas, where they are preparing to move their headquarters to the city hall building, which was slated to become a homeless shelter until Hsieh stepped in.

Meghan: One of the main things I want to do with Michael while we’re in Vegas is tour the Zappos headquarters. I am a frequent user of the Zappos website to buy shoes and sometimes clothes. Although that is what I use Zappos to shop for, you can find a huge variety of things to purchase on the site that extend past shoes and jeans. Everything the Zappos company touts itself to be is true. My shipments come when they are supposed to, it is easy to print out a return slip from their website, and the customer service is amazing, probably the best I’ve ever encountered. Everything is simple and easy, and the people I have talked to about an order seemed happy to help me. As weird as it sounds, it is really refreshing to do business with a company that seems to truly believe in customer service. For the record, I have no affiliation with Zappos other than as a customer.

Some say he is trying to create a new Silicon Valley right in the center of town. I say, more power to him. Michael: I have never ordered anything from Zappos and do not know anything about them as a company, but Meghan is excited to tour the company because apparently people come from all over the world to observe their amazing corporate culture. In my experience the words “corporate” and “culture” do not coexist well together, sort of like “chocolate” and “martini.” People often put the two together, but why? What’s so special about Zappos that people are freaking out about the company and wanting to emulate its success? As it turns out: construction paper and tambourines. The Zappos corporate culture can basically be boiled down to “adult day camp.” Everything about the place is FUN! The popcorn machine in the lobby: FUN!

pages: 243 words: 74,452

Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck by Jon Acuff

Albert Einstein, fear of failure, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Ruby on Rails, Skype, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh

Joyce, “What 80% of Employers Do Before Inviting You for an Interview,” Huffington Post (March 1, 2014), Chapter 2 1. Jules Pieri, “Happiness Equals Reality Minus Expectations,” Inc. (November 21, 2013), Investment 1 1. Will Wei, “Tony Hsieh: Bad Hires Have Cost Zappos Over $100 Million,” Business Insider (October 25, 2010), Chapter 3 1. Michael Pantalon, Instant Influence: How to Get Anyone to Do Anything—Fast (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2011), Kindle Edition. 2. Patricia Ann Wade, “Do Students Learn Better by Typing on a Keyboard or Writing with a Pen?” Indiana School of Medicine Newsletter (April 4, 2013),

Investment 1: Relationships I get by with a little help from my friends. —THE BEATLES I once worked for a company that paid employees $250 if someone they recommended got hired and stayed longer than ninety days. They paid $2,000 if the person referred was that mythical creature known as a “developer.” They did this because $2,000 was a small amount of money to pay for the right person. The wrong person is always more expensive, which is why Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, once estimated his bad hires have cost his company “well over $100 million.”1 Finding good people is difficult, and companies know that the fastest, cheapest way is often via a relationship. Long before the term “hacking” was popular, the original way to hack a job search was to know someone. “It’s not what you know, but who you know” might feel cliché but it’s still true. Relationships get you the first gig.

pages: 284 words: 72,406

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland, Jj Sutherland

Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business cycle, call centre, clean water, death of newspapers, fundamental attribution error, knowledge worker, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product,, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Shai Danziger, Silicon Valley, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System

They went from a great company back to mediocre performance by returning to traditional corporate behavior. Delivering Happiness One company that views happiness as core to their culture is Zappos. The wildly successful website convinced people to do something a lot of folks thought couldn’t be done: buy shoes over the Internet. CEO Tony Hsieh wrote a book about it, Delivering Happiness. Tony writes about the unique culture at Zappos, which is based on creating “Wow!” moments for customers. It turns out that to make customers happy, you want happy people on the other end of the phone. In talking to executives at Zappos, one of the words you hear a lot is connection. Their research shows that the more connected people are to other people at work, the happier they are—and, apparently, the more productive and innovative as well.

The idea is that mastering work motivates people. Giving people the chance to find out where they fit helps Zappos keep employees happy, excited, and engaged. For many who’ve plugged along in a very traditional career, this culture can be a breath of fresh air. “All of my career before Zappos I was mostly focused on recruiting,” says Foley. It was a rote job, she says, and she was burned out. Coming to Zappos reinvigorated her. It was the culture, she says. “It’s what makes me excited coming to work.” That’s what Zappos wants, what any company should want. It’s what I want. I want people to love coming to work. It’s a change in mind-set. From working for a company to working with my company. It’s a mind-set that some people have a problem embracing. It’s why Zappos focuses on internal promotions. They’ve found that people who come in from the outside, especially at more senior levels, have a hard time adjusting.

Their building has many exits, but they’re all closed, save one, forcing people to go in and out through one door. The idea is that by having people bump into one another, they’ll more likely create, and nurture, those connections. Another example relates to the way people are brought into the Zappos culture. Each employee, from a warehouse worker to a director, has to go through what Christa Foley, the Senior Manager of Human Resources at Zappos, calls “boot camp.” For four weeks each employee is brought up to speed on how the company works, but also on how the company’s culture works. It is really the second screening within the Zappos hiring process. Even after getting the job offer, you have to prove that you can absorb the culture. The results, says Foley, are remarkable. “Those connections [employees] made during boot camp stay with them throughout their careers.”

pages: 247 words: 63,208

The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance by Jim Whitehurst

Airbnb, cloud computing, crowdsourcing,, Google Hangouts, Infrastructure as a Service, job satisfaction, market design, Network effects, new economy, place-making, platform as a service, post-materialism, profit motive, risk tolerance, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, subscription business, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tony Hsieh

It is what makes people willing to do the hard tasks of innovation together and work through the inevitable conflict and tension.”6 More and more, executives and entrepreneurs are beginning to understand the importance of having a purpose in business—you need to have a goal in mind that transcends the profit motive. That’s the only way you’ll be able to attract the best and brightest talent. Think about the success that Tony Hsieh and his company, Zappos, have had, for example, by focusing on delivering happiness to their customers. But what’s less clear is that to truly perform at a peak level, simply defining a purpose is not enough. It’s just a first step, the table stakes for competing in the twenty-first-century economy. What sets open organizations apart, and what gives them a true competitive advantage, is that they also have embraced the idea that they need to activate the emotional passions and desires among their workers to actually reach that ultimate destination as defined by their purpose.

As management expert Gary Hamel says, “To put it bluntly, the most important task for any manager today is to create a work environment that inspires exceptional contribution and that merits an outpouring of passion, imagination and initiative.”7 At Red Hat, we realize that people invest their valuable time by choosing to work with us (versus the myriad other alternatives they have) because they want to feel as if they are changing the world for the better. Unlike my experience at Delta during the takeover attempt, Red Hat maintains an extremely high level of passion every day. It’s not episodic or periodic: it’s consistently there, bubbling, simmering, and sometimes exploding. At Zappos, the idea of delivering happiness to its customers begins by focusing on first building a team that believes in the company’s purpose. As Mig Pascual, a content developer for Zappos Insights, part of the Zappos Family of Companies, puts it, “Zappos hires talent whose personal values align with the company’s core values, our employees have a genuine interest in helping others. They’re inspired to be a part of something bigger than they are, and are able to fulfill their personal higher purpose at work by living out their own values every day.”8 Red Hat associates passionately live our purpose every day, so it becomes the norm.

Ibid., 55. 6. Ibid., 92. 7. Gary Hamel, “The Problem With Management,” The Guardian, March 9, 2012. 8. Mig Pascual, “Zappos: 5 Out-of-the-Box Ideas for Keeping Employees Engaged,” U.S. News & World Report, October 30, 2012. 9. Mackey and Sisodia, Conscious Capitalism, 183–184. 10. “Why These 6 Companies Are the Best Places to Work in Medical Sales,” Business Insider, January 20, 2014. 11. Burchell and Robin, The Great Workplace, 134. 12. Simon Sinek, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” filmed September 2009., 13. Burchell and Robin, The Great Workplace, 153. 14. Pascual, “Zappos.” Chapter 3 1. “Worldwide, 13% of Employees Are Engaged at Work,” Gallup World, October 8, 2013, 2.

pages: 204 words: 54,395

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

affirmative action, call centre, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, deliberate practice, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, functional fixedness, game design, George Akerlof, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, performance metric, profit maximization, profit motive, Results Only Work Environment, side project, the built environment, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, zero-sum game

In some call centers the annual turnover rate exceeds 100 percent, meaning that, on average, none of the people working there today will be there a year from now. Tony Hsieh, founder of the online shoe retailer (now part of ), thought there was a better way to recruit, prepare, and challenge such employees. So new hires at Zappos go through a week of training. Then, at the end of those seven days, Hsieh makes them an offer. If they feel Zappos isn't for them and want to leave, he'll pay them $2,000 no hard feelings. Hsieh is hacking the Motivation 2.0 operating system like a brilliant and benevolent teenage computer whiz. He's using an if-then reward not to motivate people to perform better, but to weed out those who aren't fit for a Motivation 3.0-style workplace. The people who remain receive decent pay, and just as important, they have autonomy over technique. Zappos doesn't monitor its customer service employees' call times or require them to use scripts.

Zappos doesn't monitor its customer service employees' call times or require them to use scripts. The reps handle calls the way they want. Their job is to serve the customer well; how they do it is up to them. The results of this emphasis on autonomy over technique? Turnover at Zappos is minimal. And although it's still young, Zappos consistently ranks as one of the best companies for customer service in the United States ahead of better-known names like Cadillac, BMW, and Apple and roughly equal to ritzy brands like Jaguar and the Ritz-Carlton. Not bad for a shoe company based in the Nevada desert. What Zappos is doing is part of a small but growing move to restore some measure of individual freedom in jobs usually known for the lack of it. For instance, while many enterprises are offshoring work to low-cost providers overseas, some companies are reversing the trend by beginning what's known as homeshoring.

If we pluck people out of controlling environments, when they've known nothing else, and plop them in a ROWE or an environment of undiluted autonomy, they'll struggle. Organizations must provide, as Richard Ryan puts it, scaffolding to help every employee find his footing to make the transition. What's more, different individuals will prize different aspects of autonomy. Some might crave autonomy over a task; others might prefer autonomy over the team. As Zappos CEO Hsieh told me by e-mail, Studies have shown that perceived control is an important component of one's happiness. However, what people feel like they want control over really varies, so I don't think there's one aspect of autonomy that's universally the most important. Different individuals have different desires, so the best strategy for an employer would be to figure out what's important to each individual employee.

pages: 176 words: 55,819

The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha

Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Black Swan, business intelligence, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, David Brooks, Donald Trump,, fear of failure, follow your passion, future of work, game design, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, late fees, lateral thinking, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, out of africa, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, rolodex, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs

Zappos’ 1-800 number, on the other hand, is displayed “proudly,” in CEO Tony Hsieh’s words, on every single page of its website. Moreover, local employees working at corporate headquarters in Nevada answer every call. There are no scripts and no time limits on such calls—virtually unheard of in an age of quota-driven, outsourced customer service centers. Zappos massively differentiated itself from its competition by building a culture that is customer-centric in every way imaginable. This is what has made Zappos a trusted destination for millions of loyal online shoppers (and it’s also why it was acquired by Amazon for close to a billion dollars). Yes, you are different from an online shoe store. But you are selling your brainpower, your skills, your energy. And you are doing so in the face of massive competition. Possible employers, partners, investors, and other people with power choose between you and someone who looks like you.

They are able to finish the sentence, “Our customers buy from us and not that other company because …”, the online shoe retailer founded in 1999, has a clear answer to that question: insanely good customer service. While other online shoe stores like shoebuy and offered 30-day return windows, Zappos made a name for itself by being the first to offer a 365-day return policy on everything they sold. While retailers like L.L. Bean and J. Crew expected customers to pick up the shipping costs each time they returned something from an online order, Zappos offered free shipping on all returns, no questions asked. And even when giants like The Gap mimicked the free shipping and free returns offer in their online shoe store, they buried a customer service phone number in small print at the bottom of the page. Zappos’ 1-800 number, on the other hand, is displayed “proudly,” in CEO Tony Hsieh’s words, on every single page of its website.

If you want to chart a course that differentiates you from other professionals in the marketplace, the first step is being able to complete the sentence, “A company hires me over other professionals because …” How are you first, only, faster, better, or cheaper than other people who want to do what you’re doing in the world? What are you offering that’s hard to come by? What are you offering that’s both rare and valuable? You don’t need to be better or faster or cheaper than everyone. Companies, after all, don’t compete in every product category or offer every conceivable service. Zappos focuses on mainstream shoes and clothes. If it tried to offer over-the-top customer service on a range of high-end luxury products, it couldn’t be the place for quality shoes delivered with terrific service, because its focus would be diluted and its differentiation eroded. In life, there are multiple gold medals. If you try to be the best at everything and better than everyone (that is, if you believe success means ascending one global, mega leaderboard), you’ll be the best at nothing and better than no one.

pages: 373 words: 112,822

The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Boris Johnson, Burning Man, call centre, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, collaborative consumption, East Village, fixed income, Google X / Alphabet X, housing crisis, inflight wifi, Jeff Bezos,, Kickstarter, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Necker cube, obamacare, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, race to the bottom, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zipcar

The founders realized they had to make customer service a priority. McAdoo suggested they take a few lessons from another Sequoia company, the shoe retailer Zappos, an unconventional e-commerce player that had originally focused solely on shoes and that had won customers’ loyalties with free shipping and by accepting returns with no questions asked. When he spoke to the founders a few days later, they had already taken his advice and been to the Zappos headquarters in Las Vegas; they’d toured the company’s tchotchke-lined offices, where employees stood in unison to warmly cheer guests, and met CEO Tony Hsieh and his COO, future Airbnb board member Alfred Lin. Amazon had acquired Zappos in June 2009, but its slightly madcap vibe remained intact. Around this time, Airbnb returned to Sand Hill Road, the seat of the venture capital industry, to raise more money.

If the individual was energized by the opportunity and likable, Jung sent him or her to San Francisco, where Chesky had the final say. Airbnb furnished each new manager with a set of online tools to monitor the health of the business and with something Chesky called an “office in a box.” It contained a guidebook to setting up an Airbnb-like working environment and included various props, like a portable Ping-Pong table and the books Delivering Happiness by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh and Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. “Brian was always worried about how do we scale our culture—how does every Airbnb office feel?” says Dubost, who joined Airbnb’s business travel team and left the company in 2016. Some of the new regional managers modeled themselves after Chesky. In Moscow, Jung hired Eugen Miropolski, a former Groupon exec, who promptly rented out his home and started living in Airbnbs around town, just as Chesky had done in San Francisco.

Kalanick found a few willing backers there, including Calacanis himself, who for the next ten years would revisit his investment decision on various podcasts, in blogs, and on the Q-and-A website Quora. But as much as they might want to cast their decisions as intuition, most of the early investors would have to bow to that unpredictable Silicon Valley divinity—luck. “It was controversial to invest in the company,” says Alfred Lin, then the chief operating officer at the online shoe retailer Zappos. When Lin heard about the deal, he doubted Uber could ever work back at his home in Las Vegas. He had serious misgivings. “I just thought that founders who are passionate about the idea would run the company,” he says. But he ponied up anyway after trying out the service in San Francisco and deciding he’d rather not be left out. David Cohen, co-founder of the Colorado-based startup school Techstars, got a chance to invest only because of a geographic accident.

pages: 209 words: 63,649

The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World by Aaron Hurst

Airbnb, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, big-box store, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, Elon Musk, Firefox, glass ceiling, greed is good, housing crisis, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, longitudinal study, means of production, Mitch Kapor, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, QR code, Ray Oldenburg, remote working, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, underbanked, women in the workforce, young professional, Zipcar

Finally, they avoid all deadlines and structured meetings. He reports it has worked remarkably well. “The team is ruthlessly focused on the right things with a fraction of the input.” Admittedly, they are a small company of what Evan describes as “incredibly well-rounded individuals”. But in spite of its small-scale experiment, it is inspiring others like Debbie at Mozilla, and more recently Tony Hsieh at Zappos, to push the limits of what work can and should be. Debbie and the Mozilla team are at the forefront of the Purpose Economy and wrestling with some of the new challenges that come with it. For example, the non-engineering team members tend to be less purpose-driven. If you are working in accounting, how do you still feel like a strong part of the community? How do you design the culture where accountants can share the passion?

Jonathan Guryan, Dr. Erik Hurst, Bob Epstein and Nicole Lederer, Ryan Gravel, Cathy Woolard, Tom Cousins, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Craig Jelinek, Bernie Glassman, Juliet Ellis, Freelancers Union, Paul Rice, Charles Montgomery, Jacob Wood & William McNulty, Jennifer Pahlka, Melinda Gates, Jeffrey Stewart, Indra Nooyi, Ryan Howard, Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, Steve Ells, Ray Oldenburg, Vivek Kundra, Tony Hsieh, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, John Tolva, Rob Spiro and Alon Salant, Yancey Strickler, Charles Adler, Perry Chen, Meg Garlinghouse, Mitchell Baker, Dr. Tom X. Lee, Elon Musk, Peter Koechley & Eli Pariser, David Payne and Michael Tavani, Michael Bloomberg, Rachel Kleinfeld, John Mackey, Michael Pollan, Brad Neuberg, Chris Anderson, David Edinger, Scotty Martin, Dr. Regina Benjamin, Frank Perez, Al Gore, Zack Exley and Judith Freeman, Ben Goldhirsh, Adam Grant, David Javerbaum, Dr.

Happiness is, at any rate, generally quite fleeting; it is really a mood rather than a state of being. Well-being, by contrast, is a more enduring condition. Vital to its attainment, Seligman argues, are five core components: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment.18 But well-being isn’t just good for people; it’s good for business. 21st-century-born organizations like Zappos and Etsy are making investments in measuring and maximizing the well-being of their employees, levering the emerging research of pioneers like Seligman. Matt Stinchcomb, Etsy’s Vice President of Values and Impact, partnered with the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Positive Psychology to launch a company-wide study of employee well-being. The team leveraged the PERMA measurement framework—a self-assessment tool developed by Dr.

pages: 269 words: 77,876

Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the Top 1% of Entrepreneurs Profit From Global Chaos by Sarah Lacy

Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, BRICs, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, fear of failure, Firefox, income per capita, intangible asset, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, megacity, Network effects, paypal mafia, QWERTY keyboard, risk tolerance, Skype, social web, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, urban planning, web application, women in the workforce, working-age population, zero-sum game

Having spent the previous decade of my career parsing business pitches on medical devices, new drug compounds, chipsets, rational databases, super routers, and Web sites, I can’t remember the last time I had this un-techy of a conversation. But here’s the remarkable part: Just as those McMansions on the hil s could be under construction anywhere in the world, as I sit and talk business with Kagabo, I can’t stop thinking about how much he reminds me of an entrepreneur I’d recently interviewed in the United States: Tony Hsieh, CEO of the ecommerce shoe company, Part of this resemblance is physical: Both men have thin, slight builds, close-cropped hair, and boyish faces. Neither is particularly emotive or talkative. They both answer direct questions, succinctly and without pretense in a soft-spoken tone, more out of shyness than any sort of coldness. There’s also a similarity in what they say, or more to the point, in the way they think.

Almost like the kid in the story “The Emperor Has No Clothes,” for both Kagabo and Hsieh, the obvious answer is the right one, and no one wil persuade them otherwise. Zappos, for instance, was a dot-com survivor that shouldn’t have survived. When faced with the concern that shoes were too difficult to purchase online because fit matters and can vary so wildly across brands, Hsieh solved this problem with a common-sense solution. Zappos would pay for the shipping and returns so people could order several different sizes, styles, or colors and just send the rest back. He’d even pay to have a UPS driver come to your house to pick the boxes up. He also gave every customer a surprise upgrade to priority shipping. The hidden truth behind Zappos’ nearly $1 bil ion in gross merchandise sales in 2009 was the fact that some 40 percent were returns—and Hsieh was fine with that. Of course, some competitors argued that Zappos had kil ed their business models by setting such expensive customer expectations, but Hsieh’s approach solved the customer loyalty problem.

Of course, some competitors argued that Zappos had kil ed their business models by setting such expensive customer expectations, but Hsieh’s approach solved the customer loyalty problem. That was more important to Hsieh, because Zappos wasn’t just sel ing shoes, it was sel ing “happiness,” in his words. It was a way of constructing a business that no seasoned manager would have ever al owed, but Hsieh saw this clearly and believed that it was the only way to build a bil ion-dol ar ecommerce business for long-term success. He wasn’t going to stop at shoes either. Zappos started sel ing cookware because customers suggested it, and he stated that he could see a scenario where one day Zappos might have its own airline. A decade later, paid $1.2 bil ion for the company—not because of its margins on shoes, but because of what it meant in consumers’ minds and hearts.

pages: 380 words: 118,675

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, buy and hold, call centre, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, game design, housing crisis, invention of movable type, inventory management, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, late fees, loose coupling, low skilled workers, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, optical character recognition,, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Rodney Brooks, search inside the book, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Skype, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, why are manhole covers round?, zero-sum game

For Bezos and Amazon, the irresistible temptation was, the online footwear and apparel retailer founded in 1999 by a soft-spoken but unnaturally persistent entrepreneur named Nick Swinmurn. By all measures, Swinmurn’s unlikely idea—to let people buy shoes over the Web without trying them on first—should have drifted off with the other flotsam in the dot-com bust. But after getting turned away from a dozen venture-capital firms, Swinmurn finally solicited an investment from an equally tenacious entrepreneur named Tony Hsieh, the son of Taiwanese immigrants and a seasoned poker player who had sold his first company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $250 million in stock. Hsieh and Alfred Lin, a Harvard classmate and former chief financial officer of LinkExchange, placed a tentative $500,000 bet on the startup Zappos via their investment firm Venture Frogs, and Hsieh later joined it as CEO.

But Amazon was walking an almost impossible precarious tightrope, trying to assuage the fears of brand-name companies with industry-standard pricing while also using Endless as a way to undercut Zappos on price. In early 2007, with apparel brands watching closely for any signs of discounting, Amazon added a five-dollar bonus to its free overnight shipping. In other words, a customer was given five dollars just to buy something on the site. It was a clever but transparent ploy, an effort to inflict further pain on Zappos. Employees who worked on Endless say that, naturally, this was Jeff Bezos’s idea. Yet Zappos still continued to grow. Its 2007 gross sales hit $840 million and in 2008 it topped $1 billion. That year, Bezos learned that Zappos was advertising on the bottoms of the plastic bins at airport-security checkpoints. “They are outthinking us!” he snapped at a meeting. But inside Zappos, a big problem had emerged. It had been acquiring inventory with a revolving $100 million line of credit, and the financial crisis, which intensified with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the fall of 2008, froze the capital markets.

Hsieh brought Nick Swinmurn, Michael Moritz, and Alfred Lin, who had just joined Zappos as chairman and chief operating officer. Playing off Amazon’s famous two-pizza-team culture, the Zappos executives served two pizzas, one with pepperoni and one with jalapeño peppers, from a local restaurant. The meeting was brief and awkward. The Zappos executives suggested potential partnership arrangements, but Bezos politely said he would rather own the whole business. Hsieh replied flatly that he was set on building an independent company. Later, Amazon executives got the impression that Zappos could be acquired for around $500 million, but Bezos, who’d become a chronically frugal acquirer, imagined paying only a fraction of that amount. At this point, the competitive landscape must have looked to Bezos like the chessboards of his youth.

Designing Interfaces by Jenifer Tidwell

A Pattern Language, business intelligence, crowdsourcing, Firefox, longitudinal study, school vouchers, social software, social web, sorting algorithm, Tony Hsieh, web application

Consider whether to publish guidelines for employees’ social media participation, beyond the obvious “don’t publish anything that will get us sued.” Some companies, such as SAP and Oracle, put their guidelines on the Web to serve as examples. Examples The CEO of Zappos tweets frequently, and as of this writing has 1.7 million followers (see Figure 9-4 at the top of the pattern). Tony Hsieh’s quirky, humorous, very personal tweets draw lots of attention, without ever being overt advertising for the brand. Zappos also encourages its other employees to use Twitter, and the company’s website devotes a page to the tweets sent out by its employees (see Figure 9-5). Figure 9-5. Zappos employee tweets Several of CNN’s well-known anchors and reporters use Twitter, including Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, and Ed Henry (see Figure 9-6). These posts tend to have much more personality and intimacy than the “official” CNN tweets.

Corporate blogs need to achieve a delicate balance between focus and diversity of topics. As shown in Figure 9-3, Whole Foods’ blog deals with many topics related to natural food, whereas the Google blog, reflecting Google’s variety of products and services, covers a much broader range of topics. Figure 9-2. The Facebook page for Starbucks Figure 9-3. Headlines from the Whole Foods and Google blogs Personal Voices Figure 9-4. Tony Hsieh’s Twitter feed What Encourage individuals to use their own voices, separate from the social media streams published by the organization itself. Let them publish blogs and write guest blog posts; encourage them to use Twitter and other social channels. Use when You have social media champions within your organization—people who are willing to put themselves out there, as both individuals and representatives.

Mac OS Finder AIGA’s design archives (Figure 5-12) and YouTube (Figure 5-13) are two Picture Manager that show no text information and lots of text information, respectively. Figure 5-12. AIGA design archives Figure 5-13. YouTube Zappos (Figure 5-14) and Hanna Andersson (Figure 5-10, at the top of the pattern) demonstrate nicely designed Thumbnail Grid for product galleries. Uniformity is beautiful here—the similarities and differences between products show up with stunning clarity, and a strong visual rhythm exists on the page. Figure 5-14. Zappos Mobile devices need Thumbnail Grid in many contexts: to show applications, features, and images themselves. Note the relative sizes of the thumbnails in Figure 5-15; the Google Images and iPhone home screen examples are just big enough to be touched easily by human fingertips.

The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy by Bruce Katz, Jennifer Bradley

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, British Empire, business climate, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, collapse of Lehman Brothers, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, double entry bookkeeping, edge city, Edward Glaeser, global supply chain, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial cluster, intermodal, Jane Jacobs, jitney, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, lone genius, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, Masdar, megacity, Menlo Park, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, place-making, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Spirit Level, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, transit-oriented development, urban planning, white flight

These offices have open floor plans that can be easily reconfigured to create dense, collaborative spaces for new teams and projects.18 The line between private and public spaces is now blurred. When Zappos, the online retail giant that grew to scale in suburban Las Vegas, was looking for new headquarters in 2010, the company’s CEO Tony Hsieh decided to create a denser workplace to increase interaction and collaboration. For Hsieh, that meant not only providing open floor plans and amenities within the office but also embedding the new headquarters (and 2,000 Zappos workers) downtown, in Las Vegas’s Fremont East neighborhood in the city’s old city hall. Hsieh is pairing the move with 06-2151-2 ch6.indd 119 5/20/13 6:53 PM 120 THE RISE OF INNOVATION DISTRICTS a new private investment fund (separate from Zappos) called the Downtown Project to build a dense, multiuse and walkable environment; the strategies include luring new start-ups close to the headquarters and creating more housing and co-working spaces in the district.

Henry Chesbrough, “The Era of Open Innovation,” MIT Sloan Management Review, April 15, 2003. 17. Peter Hall, Cities in Civilization: Culture, Innovation, and Urban Order (London: Phoenix Giant, 1999). 18. Owen Washburn, senior policy analyst at Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, personal communication with Randy Howder, senior associate and workplace strategist at Gensler, February 20, 2013. 19. Quoted in Leigh Gallagher, “Tony Hsieh’s New $350 Million Startup,” Fortune, January 23, 2012. 20. Arthur C. Nelson, Reshaping Metropolitan America: Development Trends and Opportunities to 2030 (Washington: Island Press, 2013), p. 49. 21. Paul Taylor and others, “Barely Half of U.S. Adults Are Married—A Record Low” (Washington: Pew Research Center, 2011), p. 2. 22. Alan Berube and others, “State of Metropolitan America: On the Front Lines of Demographic Transformation” (Brookings, 2010), p. 93. 23.

pages: 159 words: 46,518

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

clean water, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh

Let this powerful guide show you how to make better choices, develop better habits, and think better thoughts. Your success is truly in your hands... in this book.” —Jim Cathcart, speaker and author of The Acorn Principle “At Zappos, one of our core values is to Pursue Growth and Learning. In the lobby of our headquarters, we have a giving library where we give away books to employees and visitors that we think will help with their growth, both personally and professionally. I can’t wait to add The Compound Effect to our library.” —Tony Hsieh, author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of Zappos “If there were ever a person who has his finger on the pulse of success, it’s Darren Hardy, publisher and editorial director of SUCCESS magazine. I always look forward to reading what he has to say. He is a great synthesizer of great ideas.”

pages: 286 words: 82,065

Curation Nation by Rosenbaum, Steven

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disintermediation,, future of journalism, Jason Scott:, means of production, PageRank, pattern recognition, post-work, postindustrial economy, pre–internet, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, social web, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, Yogi Berra

Those are just 6 of the more than 70 people I interviewed for this book. From corporate leaders like News Corp’s Jonathan Miller to Edelman’s Steve Rubel. From BlogHer’s Lisa Stone to Modem Media’s Jean-Philippe Maheu. There’s a whole new world of content strategists, with Brain Traffic’s Kristina Halvorson leading the charge. And there’s a groundbreaking group of brand marketers and e-tailers like ZapposTony Hsieh and Pepsi’s Bonin Bough. Privacy is emerging as a critical issue in this era of both purposeful and accidental sharing, so Jules Polonetsky from the Future of Privacy Forum and Stanford University’s Lauren Gellman are critically important voices. And then there are the content makers both old and new—some embracing, some struggling with this new era of consumer curation. The team at AOL is thinking hard about content and folks like Michael Silberman at New York Magazine and Renee Jordon at Readers Digest’s Taste of Home are exploring new and exciting ways to mix created, contributed, and curated content.

In time, these curators will bring more utility and order to the social web. In doing so, they will help to add a voice and point of view to organizations and companies that can connect them with customers—creating an entirely new dialogue based on valued content rather than just brand created marketing messages. It’s worth remembering that content isn’t the same thing it used to be. In fact, you may be surprised to know the folks at Zappos, the Web e-commerce site that is legendarily known for its customer service, consider every item they sell on their site content. There’s a team photo on the wall of their Las Vegas headquarters with a caption that reads: “The Content Team, formerly known as Product Information.” Information about shoes, headlines in the New York Times, data about New York City subway arrival times—it’s all content.

The site’s founders think it offers a new way to learn about deals and new products. And knowing your spending habits are being transmitted to a flock of friends might make you think twice before spending $500 on a pair of designer shoes. Kaplan assured the Wall Street Journal that the idea is not quite a creepy as it might sound at first. “You can choose on a vendor-by-vendor basis,” he says. “Like automatically post all my iTunes or Zappos purchases. You can connect a credit card to Blippy. A lot of people connect just one card to Blippy and use a different one if they don’t want it shared. You can also connect without any credit card. You can just connect it to your iTunes account to just show what you’re buying on iTunes.” And if you think there’s danger of sharing too much personal information, Kaplan says there’s more danger in being perceived as lame: “A woman tweeted and said ‘Everyone’s going to know about the vibrator I bought last week!’

pages: 505 words: 127,542

If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Happy? by Raj Raghunathan

Broken windows theory, business process, cognitive dissonance, deliberate practice,, epigenetics, fundamental attribution error, hedonic treadmill, job satisfaction, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Phillip Zimbardo, placebo effect, science of happiness, Skype, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thorstein Veblen, Tony Hsieh, working poor, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Another company that serves as an example of trust begetting trustworthiness is Zappos. As Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, notes in his book Delivering Happiness, “We don’t have scripts (for our customer service employees) because we trust our employees to use their best judgment when dealing with each and every customer.” As a result of such trust, Hsieh goes on to note, “escalations to a supervisor” (whereby customers wish to speak to someone higher up at Zappos) were very rare in the company. Trusting customers was also a core element of the Zappos business model. Customers could, after ordering shoes from the store, try them on and return them without spending a single penny. And—get this—the return period at Zappos was (and continues to be) a full year. What did Zappos get in return for trusting employees and customers? Financial success, for one. Zappos was one of the few bright stars in an otherwise bleak landscape after the 2007 financial crisis that sent the world economy into recession.

Zappos was one of the few bright stars in an otherwise bleak landscape after the 2007 financial crisis that sent the world economy into recession. Zappos was eventually bought out by Amazon for an incredible $1.2 billion in 2009. To this day, Zappos continues to be one of the best companies to work for, ranking eighty-sixth in Fortune’s 2014 list. According to Hsieh, Zappos achieved remarkable success not despite trusting its employees and customers, but because of it. Default Distrust Most of us can understand the idea that trusting others will build mutual trust. And yet, we also feel uncomfortable taking the first step to trust others. In a survey I gave to my students on the first day of class, I found that less than 25 percent were willing to trust another student enough to reveal one of their “insecurities” to them.

pg=about. Grameen Bank: For more on Grameen Bank, see an incredible 98 percent: This statistic is from S. M. Covey, G. Link, and R. R. Merrill, Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy, and Joy in a Low-Trust World (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012). Zappos: Information and details about Zappos are from T. Hsieh, Delivering Happiness (New York: Business Plus, 2010), 147. ranking eighty-sixth in Fortune’s 2014 list: Source: because of our hardwired cynicism: For more on this topic, see I. Bohnet and R. Zeckhauser, “Trust, Risk and Betrayal,” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 55(4) (2004): 467–84; C. A. Holt and S. K. Laury, “Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects,” American Economic Review 92(5) (2002): 1644–55; E.

pages: 404 words: 124,705

The Village Effect: How Face-To-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter by Susan Pinker

assortative mating, Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, facts on the ground, game design, happiness index / gross national happiness, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, Occupy movement, old-boy network, place-making, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Ray Oldenburg, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steven Pinker, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tony Hsieh, urban planning, Yogi Berra

But if, as an entrepreneur, you wanted your staff to connect with clients to sell them stuff or to come up with creative solutions to their problems, then you’d want them to be in a good—if not a fabulous—mood, which, with any luck, would be contagious. Social contact would facilitate matters at the front end, making staff at all levels feel relaxed and happy about their work. And it would also affect their output as they extended that feeling of magnanimity and connection to clients. Tony Hsieh, co-founder of the online shoe retailer Zappos, discovered this for himself early on. After selling his Internet banner business LinkExchange to Microsoft for $265 million in 1998, he was asked to stay on to help with the transition, a scenario that would net him $40 million. If he left, he’d forfeit 20 percent of that sum. He was twenty-four at the time. “The practice of sticking around but not really doing anything was actually pretty common practice in Silicon Valley in acquisition scenarios.

Roberts and Dunbar, “The Costs of Family and Friends”; Gerald Mollenhorst, “Networks in Context: How Meeting Opportunities Affect Personal Relationships,” unpublished paper, University of Utrecht, 2009); Gerald Mollenhorst, Beate Volker, and Henk Flap, “Social Contexts and Personal Relationships: The Effect of Meeting Opportunities on Similarity for Relationships of Different Strength,” Social Networks 30, no. 1 (2008). 43. William Taylor, “Your Call Should Be Important to Us, But It’s Not,” New York Times, February 26, 2006. 44. Daniel Kahneman et al., “A Survey Method for Characterizing Daily Life Experience: The Day Reconstruction Method,” Science 306, no. 5702 (2004). 45. Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow. 46. Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose (New York: Grand Central, 2010). 47. Alexandra Jacobs, “Happy Feet,” New Yorker, September 14, 2009. 48. Zeynep Ton, “Why ‘Good Jobs’ Are Good for Retailers,” Harvard Business Review 90, no. 1/2 (2012). 49. James Surowiecki, “The More the Merrier,” New Yorker, March 26, 2012. 50. Charles Duhigg, “What Does Your Credit-Card Company Know about You?”

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.” He concluded that, along with creating something new, social contact was key to his happiness.46 He turned his back on that $8 million and moved to Zappos, which he had helped launch as an investor a year earlier. He couldn’t care less about shoes and cared even less about fashion. “Long term, it’s not even about e-commerce necessarily,” he told the New York Times. “I guess it’s about an experiential brand that’s really about making people happy, or improving their life somehow.” To delight his customers with just the right pair of shoes at just the right time, he created a corporate culture that fostered a gleeful, self-directed, zany social atmosphere among his sales staff, which he hoped would spill over into their connections with clients.

pages: 290 words: 87,549

The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions...and Created Plenty of Controversy by Leigh Gallagher

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, housing crisis, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive,, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, Network effects, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, RFID, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Tony Hsieh, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, Y Combinator, yield management

Now possessing the ability to access high-level introductions through the Sequoia network—Greg McAdoo had become a close adviser, and they all were having breakfast once or twice a week together at Rocco’s, a neighborhood spot around the corner—Chesky, Gebbia, and Blecharczyk were able to reach out to companies like Zappos, whose culture of friendliness and “zaniness” they particularly admired, as well as Starbucks, Apple, Nike, and others. During one breakfast meeting, they asked McAdoo for an introduction to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, whom McAdoo knew since Zappos was a Sequoia portfolio company. McAdoo fired off a quick e-mail introduction as he was on his way to his car, and the next day when he called Chesky was surprised to learn that the founders were already on the ground in Las Vegas, touring Zappos’s headquarters. One thing the founders noticed was that all the companies they admired had a strong mission and a set of defined “core values,” a somewhat overused term for the general principles that guide an organization’s internal conduct as well as its relationship with its customers, shareholders, and other stakeholders.

But now they were entering the big leagues. And they were about to face some big-league problems. A Few “Punches Right in the Face” During the first Internet boom, a trio of brothers in Germany—Marc, Alexander, and Oliver Samwer—started making a living taking the ideas of the most successful U.S. tech start-ups and cloning them abroad. Their Berlin-based venture capital firm had funded the launch of clones of eBay, Zappos, and Amazon. In 2007 they started another firm, Rocket Internet, to apply this same strategy to the new crop of Internet start-ups. Their playbook was always the same: start copycat websites in Europe early, while the originals were still focused primarily on the United States and before they had the bandwidth and capital for overseas expansion; spend lavishly to grow them almost overnight to dominate the market; and then sell the idea back to the original company, which would by that point pay a huge premium to reclaim “ownership” of its own brand overseas.

pages: 248 words: 72,174

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau

Airbnb, big-box store, clean water, fixed income, follow your passion, if you build it, they will come, index card, informal economy, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, late fees, Nelson Mandela, price anchoring, Ralph Waldo Emerson, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, web application

†Corbett Barr maintains a helpful (and free) set of resources on building traffic at ‡John Jantsch wrote a great book called The Referral Engine, which is all about creating a systemized process for encouraging referrals. Highly recommended. §A little-known secret at Zappos is that they do cut people off who abuse the generous return policy. CEO Tony Hsieh explained to me that if a customer blatantly takes advantage of them—returning worn shoes on day 364 of the 365-day return period, for example—they’ll honor the refund once, but they’ll also gently advise that customer not to purchase from Zappos anymore. Fortunately, he also said, most people are honest. INSTRUCTIONS ON CLONING YOURSELF FOR FUN AND PROFIT. “I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man.” —JAY-Z As business models go, buying a franchise that is based on someone else’s company is usually a bad idea.

Most businesses have boring guarantees: If you don’t like this, you’ll get your money back. But when we buy something, our money isn’t all we’re concerned with. We’re also concerned about time and validation. If I have to return something, will it be a pain in the ass? Make it the opposite of a pain in the ass—some businesses provide a guarantee of 110 percent, ensuring that the burden is on the business to deliver. Zappos famously created free shipping both ways to take away the hesitation about buying shoes without trying them on. A host of competitors had to follow suit.§ ALTERNATIVELY, MAKE A BIG DEAL ABOUT OFFERING NO GUARANTEE. Instead of providing an incredible guarantee, provide no guarantee—and make a big deal about this fact. Note that this strategy usually works better for high-end products. It will likely decrease overall sales but increase the commitment level from those who do purchase.

pages: 255 words: 76,495

The Facebook era: tapping online social networks to build better products, reach new audiences, and sell more stuff by Clara Shih

business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, glass ceiling, jimmy wales, Mark Zuckerberg, Metcalfe’s law, Network effects,, pre–internet, rolodex, semantic web, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social web, software as a service, Tony Hsieh, web application

Last, but not least, encourage your employees to carefully think through their privacy settings (urge them to establish Friend Lists to control visibility of their information, as discussed in the previous chapter) and share the minimum amount of information necessary to still achieve the company and their individual goals of being on the social networking site. This is an important and active step employees must take because by default, the privacy settings on Facebook and MySpace are relatively open. From the Library of Kerri Ross 202 Pa r t I I I Yo u r S te p - B y - S te p G u i d e to Us i n g Fa ce b o o k fo r B u s i n e s s Tony Hsieh, CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos, trains every new call center employee on the appropriate use of Twitter. This has encouraged employees to become active users of social media while supporting Zappos’ brand and mission, which is highly motivating and mutually beneficial for everyone. Reconciling Grassroots Initiatives Particularly given its newness, enterprise social networking to date has largely taken the form of grassroots initiatives driven by individual people or departments. As social networking permeates your company, at some point it makes sense to develop a cohesive, company-level strategy.

From the customer’s perspective, the call feels more personal and engaging. In addition to traditional CRM information such as products purchased and case history, reps can speak to lighter topics like sports teams, hometowns, and hobbies. As a result, support reps are achieving higher customer satisfaction and greater success with attempts at cross-selling and upselling. On a more ad hoc basis, companies like Zappos and Comcast are beginning to assign dedicated support reps to monitor and respond to questions that come up in Tweets. By responding in real-time on Twitter, these vendors not only establish better customer service with the original person who Tweeted, the solution is now posted as a Twitter reply for everyone else to see, search, and benefit. Last, but not least, companies have realized they can crowdsource, or outsource to the “crowd,” a substantial portion of support questions by encouraging customers to talk to one another, troubleshoot for one another, and share tips and tricks in online forums.

pages: 252 words: 70,424

The Self-Made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value by John Sviokla, Mitch Cohen

business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Colonization of Mars, corporate raider, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Elon Musk, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, global supply chain, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, old-boy network, paper trading, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart meter, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, young professional

This not only gives organizations an option in a new market, it also serves as another way for you to discover Producers in your organization—those with a long-standing interest in or commitment to an idea or a vector will gravitate to the new venture as a way to learn more and be involved in a way that is real. Mergers and Acquisitions Acquirers are clearly motivated by the desire to acquire resources, positioning in a new market, or the potential for scale. Sometimes, mergers are overtly about the people running the operation and their ability to pursue ideas. The acquisition of Zappos by Amazon is an example of the Producer Jeff Bezos recognizing another Producer in CEO Tony Hsieh, and buying not only the business asset but the skills and vision of its leader. Warren Buffett, in contrast, could be said to be a Producer who has made his billions by acquiring cash flow in established, unchanging Performer industries. And the acquisition of Climate Corporation by the agricultural science firm Monsanto reads to us as an effort by a diversified agrigiant to grow Producer capability in an area with enormous potential.

., 40, 217 Westbeach Surf, 39, 40, 89 Whitman, Meg, 153 Williams College, 43, 68 Wilson, Chip, 38–39, 40, 52, 75, 88–89, 92–93, 217 Windows, 203 Windsor Mountain, 39 Winfrey, Oprah, 4, 36, 162, 198, 217–18 Wonderful Pistachios, 212 Woodall, Martin, 129, 153–54, 185, 201 World Bank, 90, 99, 142, 213 World Economic Forum, 178 World War II, 106, 114, 195, 207 Wozniak, Steve, 134, 148, 150, 155, 207 Wynn, Steve, 130, 131, 218 Wynn Macau, 219 Wynn Resorts, 130, 211 Xerox, 170 Yahoo, 170, 201 Yale University, 102, 103–4, 106, 216 Yanai, Tadashi, 65–66, 219 Yoovidhya, Chaleo, 8, 210 Yoovidhya, Chalerm, 210 Zappos, 180 Zara, 148 Zuckerberg, Mark, 11, 153, 213, 219 Looking for more? Visit for more about this author and a complete list of their books. Discover your next great read!

pages: 460 words: 131,579

Masters of Management: How the Business Gurus and Their Ideas Have Changed the World—for Better and for Worse by Adrian Wooldridge

affirmative action, barriers to entry, Black Swan, blood diamonds, borderless world, business climate, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Exxon Valdez, financial deregulation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, George Gilder, global supply chain, industrial cluster, intangible asset, job satisfaction, job-hopping, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, Naomi Klein, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Norman Macrae, patent troll, Ponzi scheme, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, wealth creators, women in the workforce, young professional, Zipcar

But now two other companies have challenged Google for the jester’s crown—Twitter, up the road in San Francisco, and Zappos, a state away in Nevada. Twitter employs a team of people whose job is to make workers happy (for example, by providing them with cold towels on a hot day). The company’s Web page features workers wearing cowboy hats and boasts that “crazy things happen every day … it’s pretty ridiculous.” Zappos, an online shoe and clothing shop, describes creating “fun and a little weirdness” as one of its core values. Tony Hsieh, the company’s boss, shaves his head, spends 10 percent of his time studying what he calls the “science of happiness,” and once joked that Zappos had issued a class action lawsuit against Walt Disney for describing itself as “the happiest place on earth.” The company practices regular “random acts of generosity,” when workers form a noisy conga line and single out one of their colleagues for praise.

Firms should use internal markets to turn their employees into mini-entrepreneurs, and external markets to make sure that they are not wasting their time doing things that could be done better elsewhere. For Peters, “crazy” organizations are more efficient as well as more fun than their sane rivals. But is this really true? Peters has had plenty of reason over the years to congratulate himself on his influence. Zappos, America’s most successful online shoe and clothing store, has borrowed many of Peters’s principles: the company’s number-one core value is to “deliver WOW through service.” He has even more reasons to relish the failures of scientific managers, with their complex mathematical formulae. In Re-imagine! he boasts that he tried, without success, to persuade Stanford University to retract his MBA when he saw one of his old accounting professors, Robert Jaedicke, on television explaining (away) his role in the Enron fiasco.

The company practices regular “random acts of generosity,” when workers form a noisy conga line and single out one of their colleagues for praise. The praisee has to wear a hat for a week. The most unpleasant thing about the fashion for fun is that it is mixed with compulsion. Zappos and ePrize don’t just celebrate wackiness; they require it. Compulsory fun is not only cringe-making—Twitter calls its office a Twoffice; Boston Pizza encourages workers to send “golden bananas” to colleagues who are “having fun while being the best”—but hollow and contrived. You do not have to look hard to see the crude management thinking behind the “fun” façade—the desire to brand the company as better than its rivals or the plan to boost productivity through team building. “Having fun puts you in the zone and optimizes your brain chemistry for creativity,” says Josh Linkner, ePrize’s boss.8 The Complexity of Careers The three most striking changes in the world of work—the division of companies into core workers and associates; the growing diversity of the workforce; and the spread of “flexi-working” of one kind or another—are all making careers much more complicated.

pages: 436 words: 141,321

Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness by Frederic Laloux, Ken Wilber

Albert Einstein, augmented reality, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, different worldview, failed state, future of work, hiring and firing, index card, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kenneth Rogoff, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, post-industrial society, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, the market place, the scientific method, Tony Hsieh, zero-sum game

Whenever the percentage of people taking the check draws too close to zero, Zappos increases the amount (it started with $100, then raised it to $200, and raised it again and again up to its current level). The practice, in essence, boils down to a real-life barometer of the health of the organization’s culture. ( is famous for its Green cultural practices described in the bestseller Delivering Happiness, written by CEO Tony Hsieh. The 1,500-employee company is currently making the leap to Holacracy, which will make it the largest holacratic organization to date.) Onboarding The onboarding process in many organizations today is rather basic. People might receive a few brochures about the company’s history, mission statement and values, or there might be a two-hour session where some senior leader talks about these topics. But mostly, the first steps are often mundane: there are papers to sign, a desk and computer to find, and a password to be assigned in order to access the firm’s network.

Some organizations, such as FAVI, make extended use of the trial period for both parties to test whether the match works out., an online shoe retailer, offers its new hires a $3,000 check if they have second thoughts and choose to quit during the four-week orientation. The idea is that everyone will be better off not staying in a marriage that isn’t meant to be. Three thousand dollars is a lot of money for people working in call centers or moving boxes in fulfillment centers, which is what most Zappos employees do. It’s a tribute to Zappos’ outstanding culture that the percentage of people taking the money and leaving is only around one or two percent. Whenever the percentage of people taking the check draws too close to zero, Zappos increases the amount (it started with $100, then raised it to $200, and raised it again and again up to its current level).

But it’s turned out that the more honest and open and candid we are with what’s going on, the more our customers are wanting to engage with us in our efforts to be a better global citizen.117 I believe we will increasingly witness companies choosing a radical level of honesty when dealing with outside parties that can help their purpose materialize. With fewer ego-fears, there is less need for PR polish, less urge to hide failures. Outsiders can be granted a deep view inside the organization, in all sorts of ways. Clients can participate in workshops to listen in to the purpose; all-hands meetings can be streamed live over the Internet (a regular practice at, for instance); or, like Patagonia, companies can choose to film their key production processes and publish them online. HolacracyOne has developed an intranet-type software called Glassfrog that captures people’s roles and accountabilities, the structure of the organization, meeting notes and metrics. Traditionally this kind of data is deemed sensitive and restricted to employees of the organization.

pages: 202 words: 72,857

The Wealth Dragon Way: The Why, the When and the How to Become Infinitely Wealthy by John Lee

8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, butterfly effect, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Donald Trump, financial independence, high net worth, intangible asset, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, negative equity, passive income, payday loans, self-driving car, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, stocks for the long run, stocks for the long term, Tony Hsieh, Y2K

Believe money will come to you in good ways and in great quantities—truly believe it—and once you take action, it will happen! Your perspective is your reality. Perspective is everything. Everything you see will be filtered through your mindset. Your perspective is your reality. If you don't like the way things are, change your mindset…sometimes that's the only thing you can change. Tony Hsieh is a hugely successful entrepreneur and the CEO of Zappos, an online clothing and shoe company. At some point in the company's early days the board sent a marketing executive to India to see what the business opportunities were like there. He came back and said, “It's terrible. No opportunity at all. No one wears shoes there.” A few months later the board sent a different marketing executive there. When he returned the board asked him what the business opportunities were like.

See Undesirable truths Twain, Mark Undesirable truths education failure friendship frugality greed investments jobs money mortgages overview of pensions risk saving time work United States flipping property in higher education in multilevel marketing schemes repossession in Valuation of property Value, vs. cost Value investing Value of money Van Gogh, Vincent Visualization boards Vujicic, Nick Wages Wales, dragon national emblem Warhol, Andy Wealth definition of fear as roadblock to get-rich-quick schemes hard work and monetary wealth vs. moral wealth more money mindset negative people as roadblock to parallel universe perspective rat race trap as roadblock to strategy for building undesirable truths about Wealth Dragons first international tour founding of significance of name top principles of Wealth education Wealth strategy asset building business creation importance of infinite wealth achievement path overview of steps passive income generation See also Property investment Wealthy people, characteristics of Wilde, Oscar Williamson, Marianne Without Risk There’s No Reward (Mayer) Wong, Annika Wong, Vincent auctions Bruce Lee influence celebrity lifestyles daughter’s egg business education failure family background and childhood fear financial abundance financial experts hard work learning curve lease options lotteries luck making commitment to success moral obligation to be wealthy negative people off-plan property investments people skills property investment advantages property investment beginnings property investment deal making tips property investment experiences property investment learning curve rat race trap recessions as opportunity to make money relationship with John Lee taking action unglamorous nature of property investing Wealth Dragon origins wealth journey of Work, finding passion for. See also Hard work Working for yourself Worth, vs. cost Ying Tan Youngman, Henny Zappos Ziglar, Zig Zuckerberg, Mark WILEY END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT Go to to access Wiley’s ebook EULA.

pages: 484 words: 114,613

No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, blockchain, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Frank Gehry, Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, Peter Thiel, ride hailing / ride sharing, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, Travis Kalanick, ubercab, Zipcar

Despite the discouragement, Systrom spent hours brainstorming with White and Amy Cole, the early business employee, about what a strategy might look like, whether in commerce, advertising, or something else entirely. Until that happened, he and Krieger decided, it was time for Instagram to execute on one of Zuckerberg’s other priorities. It was time to address a competitive threat. Systrom thought about his counterparts at other acquired companies. Tony Hsieh, the CEO of the online shoe business Zappos, hadn’t gotten to remain in Jeff Bezos’s orbit after Zappos was acquired by Amazon in 2009. YouTube’s founders weren’t even relevant to YouTube anymore—they’d left the company after the 2006 Google acquisition. He had no intention of being forgotten like that. DOMINATION “We’re looking to have a level of impact on the world that is unmatched by any other company, and in order to do that we can’t sit around and act like we’ve made it.

ABC News, 211 Above Category cycling, 185 abuse, abuse content, 41, 97, 261 Academy Awards, 152 Systrom at, 191–92, 204 Accenture, 260 Acton, Brian, 125, 256, 258 Adams, William (, 128 Adidas, xix Adobe Lightroom, 240, 243 Adobe Photoshop, 21, 23, 244 advertising, 59, 176, 256 false, 244; see also fake news FB’s business of, 75, 77, 89, 91–92, 94, 96, 105, 118–19, 125, 149–50, 163, 217, 224, 277 IG’s business of, 104, 118–21, 124, 151, 155, 163–65, 174, 175–76, 184, 225, 241, 277 mobile, 74–75 television, 215 see also brand advertising advertising agencies, 89 FB’s relationship with, 120–21, 124 Ahrendts, Angela, 147 @aidanalexander, 171 AiGrow, 246 Airbnb, xvi, 45 Alba, Jessica, 130, 250 Alexander, Aidan, 171 algorithms: FB’s use of, 91, 103, 128, 162, 163, 208, 209, 210–12, 215, 221, 224, 259 IG’s early lack of, 34, 143 IG’s use of, 81, 170, 174, 197–98, 218, 229, 230–32, 233, 251, 271 IG users’ mistrust of, 197 YouTube’s use of, 233–34 @alittlepieceofinsane, 161 Allen, Nick, 117 Allen & Company, 49 Amanpour, Christiane, 127 Amaro photo filter, 23 Amazon, 22, 28, 139, 242 Communications Decency Act and, 41 Whole Foods acquired by, 64 Zappos acquired by, 105 Amazon Web Services, 26, 79–80 American Medical Association, 244 American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 244 analytics, 90, 102, 226 IG’s use of, 100, 178, 183, 226 IG users’ access to, 275–76 Anchor Psychology, 172 Anderson, Steve, 34 early IG investment of, 11, 15 on IG board, 37, 56, 63–64 Anderson Cooper 360, 142 Andreessen, Marc, 11 Andreessen Horowitz: early investment in IG by, 11, 15, 33 investment in PicPlz by, 33–34, 36, 77 Android, 19, 33, 110, 203 IG app for, 50, 51 angel investments, 16, 17, 24, 36 anonymity, user, 41, 80 on Formspring, 40 on IG, 41, 80, 163, 173, 218, 219, 260, 261 troubling content and, 40, 163, 218–19, 260; see also bullying antitrust laws, 75, 268 Antonow, Eric, 165 AOL, 116 Apple, 10, 21, 56, 65, 147, 167, 234 Apple app store, 26, 28, 38, 115 Apple IDs, 42 apps: filter, see filter apps, photo location-based, 15 see also mobile apps; specific apps Argentina, 12 Arthur D.

Records, 129, 130 Warr, Andy, 199 Washington Post, 208, 271 watchLAB, 182, 199 Watts, Kristen Joy, 153–54 Web 2.0, 5, 10 Weil, Kevin, 194–95, 263 West, Kanye, 218 WhatsApp, 64, 214, 256 business plan lacked by, 256 encryption on, 125, 256, 262 FB’s acquisition of, 125, 202, 217, 255 WhatsApp Status, 216, 256 White, Emily, 100–101, 104, 105, 118, 120, 122–23, 165 in move to Snapchat, 123, 200 White House Correspondents’ dinner, 171 Whole Foods, 64 Wikipedia, 11 (William Adams), 128 Williams, Evan, 5–6, 82 Dorsey and, 25–26 at Odeo, 27 at Twitter, 14, 46, 57, 157 Winfrey, Oprah, 131, 136, 158 Wintour, Anna, 131, 156, 195, 264 WordPress, 17 World Economic Forum, 127 World Travel and Tourism Council, 241 X-Pro II filter, 21 Yahoo!, 2, 8, 11, 24, 116 in attempt to buy Facebook, 57 Flickr acquired by, 54 @yock7, 169 Young, Neil, 129 YouTube, 39, 59, 109, 112, 130, 137, 157, 165, 171, 215, 219, 232, 240, 248, 253 algorithm on, 233–34 Communications Decency Act and, 41 fake news on, 225 Google’s acquisition of, 53, 105 Yuki, Ashley, 175–76, 177 Zappos, 105 Zazzle, 5 Zero to One (Thiel), 191, 193 Zimmerman, Joel Thomas (Deadmau5), 70 Zipcar, 3 Zollman, Jessica, 40, 41–43, 53, 70, 72–73, 97, 104 Zoufonoun, Amin, 58–59, 60, 61–62, 84–85 Zuckerberg, Mark, 27, 52, 106, 112, 148–49, 150, 213, 220–21, 262, 274, 276 in attempt to buy Twitter, 57 in attempts to buy Snapchat, 114–15, 116, 117, 122, 125, 183, 191, 200–202 better understanding of FB users as goal of, 221–22 and Cambridge Analytica scandal, 258 as committed to IG’s independence at FB, 54, 55, 63, 67, 95, 96, 106, 121 competitiveness of, 108, 148 credit for IG’s success taken by, 266–67 in decision to buy IG, 56–57; see also Facebook, Instagram acquired by dominance as goal of, 78, 109, 124 and fake news scandal at FB, 211–12, 225 “family of apps” bundled together by, 255–56, 267–68 FB support for IG shut down by, 268–69 and FTC investigation of FB’s IG acquisition, 76 Greek and Roman history interest of, 106 hoodie worn by, 2, 74 IG cannibalization of FB concern of, 223, 226, 227–28 at IG video launch, 111 Krieger’s meeting with, 60 Krieger’s relationship with, 252–53, 254–55, 256, 264 and Krieger’s resignation from IG, 272 in negotiations with Systrom, 57–58, 60–62, 73; see also Facebook, Instagram acquired by new year’s resolutions of, 221–22 personal security of, 107, 134, 222 problems anticipated by, 149, 214–15 rising tensions between Systrom and, 217, 252, 262, 267 similar background of Systrom and, 106–7 6,000 word manifesto of, 221 Spiegel and, 116–17, 200, 201–2 Systrom pressed to build IG’s business model by, 163–65, 167 Systrom’s 2005 meeting with, 1–3 Systrom’s relationship with, 7, 38, 55, 95, 104–5, 107–8, 216–17, 251, 252–53, 256, 264, 266–68, 269–70 and Systrom’s resignation from IG, 272 testimony to Congress by, 258–59, 262 understanding of teens as goal of, 116 and WhatsApp, 64, 125, 217, 256 see also Facebook Zuckerberg, Randi, 126–28, 130, 148 ZuckPri, 95 Zwift, 186 Simon & Schuster 1230 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020 Copyright © 2020 by Sarah Frier All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

pages: 550 words: 89,316

The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett

assortative mating, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, discrete time, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, East Village, Edward Glaeser,, Etonian, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, income inequality, iterative process, knowledge economy, longitudinal study, Mason jar, means of production, NetJets, new economy, New Urbanism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, post-industrial society, profit maximization, Richard Florida, selection bias, Silicon Valley, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, Thorstein Veblen, Tony Hsieh, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Veblen good, women in the workforce

Louis also undertook a renaissance—retrofitting industrial lofts for residential living, bringing more amenities into the city, paving bike paths and pedestrian-friendly walkways to attract members of the creative class (thought to be the lifeblood of the new economy).13 Local politicians and developers advocate for active street life, coffee shops, and live music as a part of the new urbanity. Countless new-build developments around the country in both urban and suburban areas offer residential, shopping, and restaurants as a combined experience for the consumer. While some of these developments are in downtown (Zappos’ founder Tony Hsieh’s Las Vegas Downtown Project, Chicago’s New City, or the Los Angeles Staples Center), many simply replicate the downtown experience with sidewalks, outdoor music, and cafés and apartments overlooking the “street life” (Santana Row in Silicon Valley, the Grove in Los Angeles, or the uber-luxury Bal Harbour shops in Florida). Some 150 years after the Industrial Revolution took hold of the metropolis, long after the last factory closed shop, the city has become the center of consumption, rather than production, of material goods.

Once upon a time, if you lived in small-town Kansas or Missouri you needed to visit a major city to obtain high-end fashion. Today, a simple click on Sak’s Fifth Avenue’s website will send a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s “BB” shoes to any woman in the country, provided she’s willing to spend $600 for the privilege. Additionally, the web enables luxury brands to distribute items from their past seasons to various discount fashion sites. Apparel and shoes websites such as Bluefly (1998), Zappos (1999), (1999), and of course the original bargain-hunting virtual mecca, Ebay (1995), allow mainstream consumers to engage in conspicuous consumption at blue-light special prices. Some more recent additions to this group include Gilt (2007) and Rue La La (2007), which offer luxury goods from Cartier watches to Chanel handbags at shockingly reduced prices through their “flash sales,” in which an Hermès handbag will be reduced from $20,000 to $10,000 and La Perla lingerie is 60% off for a limited time (sometimes hours or a day or so).

See the rich Weber, Max, 58, 96, 177 Weingarten, Essie, 46–47 West, Geoffrey, 159–60 wet nurses, 89–90 Wharton, Edith, 10, 164, 182 white farm imaginary, 124 whites, consumption patterns of, 37 Whole Foods, 117–20, 122, 124, 126 Whyte, William, The Organization Man, 16, 106 widowers, 37 Williams, Deric, 102 Williams, Jennifer, 102–3 Wilson, William Julius, 186 wine, 164 Wirth, Louis, Urbanism as a Way of Life, 159, 176 Wolf, Joan, 86 Wolfe, Tom, 10, 101, 162 women, working, 65–66, 83–84. See also motherhood Women Infants and Children (WIC), 82 working class. See the poor and low-income group World Health Organization, 94 World Wildlife Fund, 134–35 Wrigley, 194 Young, Molly, 180 Zambito, Mark, 112 Zappos, 12 Table of Contents Title Page Copyright Page Dedication Page Contents Acknowledgments Chapter 1: The Twenty-first-Century “Leisure” Class Chapter 2: Conspicuous Consumption in the Twenty-first Century Chapter 3: Ballet Slippers and Yale Tuition: Inconspicuous Consumption and the New Elites Chapter 4: Motherhood as Conspicuous Leisure in the Twenty-first Century Chapter 5: Conspicuous Production Chapter 6: Landscapes of Consumption Chapter 7: “To Get Rich Is Glorious”?

pages: 362 words: 99,063

The Education of Millionaires: It's Not What You Think and It's Not Too Late by Michael Ellsberg

affirmative action, Black Swan, Burning Man, corporate governance, creative destruction, financial independence, follow your passion, future of work, hiring and firing, job automation, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mega-rich, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Norman Mailer, Peter Thiel, profit motive, race to the bottom, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, Steve Ballmer, survivorship bias, telemarketer, Tony Hsieh

For three days, they were stopping their lives and meeting amazing other people, doing business together, learning from each other. We made these great friendships,” Elliott said. The trip went so well, in fact, that Elliott decided to do another trip six months later, for sixty young business leaders. Naturally, he found sponsors to pay for that as well. Dustin Moskovitz attended the second gathering, as did Tony Hsieh from Zappos. The trips took on a life of their own, grew and grew. Elliott brought on some friends to help him, Jeremy Schwartz (a Berklee College of Music dropout), Brett Leve, and Jeff Rosenthal, and the gatherings morphed into what is now Summit Series (, an annual invitation-only gathering of young entrepreneurs, innovators, and thought leaders, which has been called by Forbes “the Davos for Generation Y.”

See Mentors TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) Thiel, Peter and Facebook higher education, critique of Thiel Fellowship criticism of elements of Thievery Corporation Third tribe marketing Thrillist TOMS Shoes Tracy, Brian, on money, connection to value Treasure Island Hotel and Casino Turner, Ted Twain, Mark Twitter Value, relationship to money Van Veen, Ricky Vimeo Vlogging Vocational training Wallerstein, Michael, education debt of Weisberg, Jacob, Thiel Fellowship, criticism of Williams, Evan Word of mouth, power of WordPress Work ethic, versus cash-generation ethic Worry, common sources of Zappos Ziglar, Zig Zivity Zuckerberg, Mark as college non-graduate success, evolution of

pages: 190 words: 62,941

Wild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination by Adam Lashinsky

"side hustle", Airbnb, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, business process, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, gig economy, Golden Gate Park, Google X / Alphabet X, information retrieval, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, pattern recognition, price mechanism, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, South of Market, San Francisco, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, turn-by-turn navigation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, young professional

Chris Sacca, a frequent visitor to the JamPad, had been a “packager” for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. He raised $600,000 for the inauguration, and so he invited a large number of his posse—at $12,500 a pop—to attend a multiday party that would include the main event itself, a ball, and concerts by Beyoncé and Bruce Springsteen. Camp and Kalanick went together, joining a group that included Evan Williams as well as Tony Hsieh and Alfred Lin, both early investors in the online shoe retailer Zappos. Once again, cold and wet weather bedeviled—and possibly inspired—the pair. “Travis and Garrett were fidgety and annoyed at waiting for cabs to get from party to party,” recalls Lin. Experienced traveler though he’d become, Kalanick arrived in Washington unprepared. “We went to the inauguration concert together, and poor Travis had not properly packed for the chilly D.C. weather,” says Lin’s wife, Rebecca.

pages: 216 words: 61,061

Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed by Alexis Ohanian

Airbnb, barriers to entry, carbon-based life, cloud computing, crowdsourcing,, Hans Rosling, hiring and firing, Internet Archive,, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, Occupy movement, Paul Graham, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, software is eating the world, Startup school, Tony Hsieh, unpaid internship, Y Combinator

And it makes a difference. I routinely see people chortling about this online. And that’s just one example of many—not unique to hipmunk but unique to a new generation of companies building products and services that actually give a damn about the end customer. How bad has it gotten? My friend and fellow author Tony Hsieh, who’s also published by Business Plus, wrote a major international bestseller, Delivering Happiness, that essentially boiled down to two points: excellent customer service is vital to Zappos, and it should be vital in your business, too. Think about that. What does it say about the state of business when CEOs everywhere hear that and think, “Wow! That’s a revolutionary idea—we should be treating our customers well!” There’s a huge opportunity here for startups. It’s one more reason why the best time is now to get started—so many incumbents are still figuring this out.

pages: 387 words: 119,409

Work Rules!: Insights From Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, citizen journalism, clean water, correlation coefficient, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice,, experimental subject, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, helicopter parent, immigration reform, Internet Archive, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, nudge unit, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, random walk, Richard Thaler, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, six sigma, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, survivorship bias, TaskRabbit, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tony Hsieh, Turing machine, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

The “high-freedom” extreme is based on liberty, where employees are treated with dignity and given a voice in how the company evolves. Both models can be very profitable, but this book presumes that the most talented people on the planet will want to be part of a freedom-driven company. And freedom-driven companies, because they benefit from the best insight and passion of all their employees, are more resilient and better sustain success. Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Reed Hastings of Netflix, Jim Goodnight of SAS Institute, and many others will gladly tell you about the business results that come from giving their people freedom,258 as the leaders of Wegmans and Brandix have. These technology companies have continued to see year after year of growth. Wegmans grows regardless of what happens in the economy, and continues to be a great place to work. What’s beautiful here is that treating your people well is both a means to an end and an end in itself.

United States Congress House Special Committee to Investigate the Taylor and Other Systems of Shop Management, The Taylor and Other Systems of Shop Management: Hearings before Special Committee of the House of Representatives to Investigate the Taylor and Other Systems of Shop Management (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1912), 3: 1397, 258. Tony Hsieh: “I think of myself less as a leader, and more of being almost an architect of an environment that enables employees to come up with their own ideas, and where employees can grow the culture and evolve it over time.” (Adam Bryant, “On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Weird Are You?,” New York Times, January 9, 2010.) Reed Hastings: “Responsible people thrive on freedom and are worthy of freedom. Our model is to increase employee freedom as we grow, rather than limit it, to continue to attract and nourish innovative people, so we have a better chance of sustained success.”

pages: 361 words: 76,849

The Year Without Pants: and the Future of Work by Scott Berkun

barriers to entry, blue-collar work, Broken windows theory,, Firefox, future of work, Google Hangouts, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Lean Startup, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, post-work, remote working, Results Only Work Environment, Richard Stallman, Seaside, Florida, side project, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the map is not the territory, Tony Hsieh, trade route, zero-sum game

—Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president, Microsoft “Most talk of the future of work is just speculation, but Berkun has actually worked there. The Year Without Pants is a brilliant, honest, and funny insider's story of life at a great company.” —Eric Ries, author, New York Times bestseller The Lean Startup “ has discovered a better way to work, and The Year Without Pants allows the reader to learn from the organization's fun and entertaining story.” —Tony Hsieh, author, New York Times bestseller Delivering Happiness, and CEO,, Inc. “The Year Without Pants is a highly unusual business book, full of ideas and lessons for a business of any size, but a truly insightful and entertaining read as well. Scott Berkun's willingness to take us behind the scenes of uncovers some of the tenets of a great company: transparency, teamwork, hard work, talent, and fun, to name a few.

pages: 260 words: 77,007

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?: Trick Questions, Zen-Like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You ... Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy by William Poundstone

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, cloud computing, creative destruction,, full text search, hiring and firing, index card, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, lateral thinking, loss aversion, mental accounting, new economy, Paul Erdős, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Feynman, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, Tony Hsieh, why are manhole covers round?, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

There is much speculation about how best to answer the “scale of 1 to 10” questions that have become popular lately. For example, Wells Fargo has candidates rate their competitiveness on a 1-to-10 scale. In practice, almost everyone rates himself 8 or higher, and if you want the job, you should avoid false modesty. Online retailer Zappos has a trickier question: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?” The preferred answer there is somewhere in the middle, CEO Tony Hsieh explained. A 1 is “probably a little bit too straight-laced for us,” and a 10 “might be too psychotic.” It’s possible to flunk a litmus test without realizing it. According to one recruiter, Nordstrom screens out more than 90 percent of female applicants with a simple three-part test: Is the applicant wearing black? Is she wearing heels?

pages: 539 words: 139,378

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

affirmative action, Black Swan, cognitive bias, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, index card, invisible hand, lateral thinking, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Necker cube, Nelson Mandela, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, social intelligence, social web, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Spirit Level, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, ultimatum game

(Revealingly, the colloquial name for MDMA is ecstasy.) When some or all of these ingredients were combined, the result was so deeply appealing that young people began converging by the thousands for all-night dance parties, first in the United Kingdom and then, in the 1990s, throughout the developed world. There’s a description of a rave experience in Tony Hsieh’s autobiography Delivering Happiness. Hsieh (pronounced “Shay”) is the CEO of the online retailer He made a fortune at the age of twenty-four when he sold his start-up tech company to Microsoft. For the next few years Hsieh wondered what to do with his life. He had a small group of friends who hung out together in San Francisco. The first time Hsieh and his “tribe” (as they called themselves) attended a rave, it flipped his hive switch.

I benefited immensely from their generosity with advice, criticism, and suggested readings on conservatism. Many friends and colleagues gave me advice on one or several chapters. I thank them all: Gerard Alexander, Scott Atran, Simon Baron-Cohen, Paul Bloomfield, Chris Boehm, Rob Boyd, Arthur Brooks, Teddy Downey, Dan Fessler, Mike Gazzaniga, Sarah Estes Graham, Josh Greene, Rebecca Haidt, Henry Haslam, Robert Hogan, Tony Hsieh, Darrell Icenogle, Brad Jones, Rob Kaiser, Doug Kenrick, Judd King, Rob Kurzban, Brian Lowe, Jonathan Moreno, Lesley Newson, Richard Nisbett, Ara Norenzayan, Steve Pinker, David Pizarro, Robert Posacki, N. Sriram, Don Reed, Pete Richerson, Robert Sapolsky, Azim Shariff, Mark Shepp, Richard Shweder, Richard Sosis, Phil Tetlock, Richard Thaler, Mike Tomasello, Steve Vaisey, Nicholas Wade, Will Wilkinson, David Sloan Wilson, Dave Winsborough, Keith Winsten, and Paul Zak.

pages: 501 words: 145,943

If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities by Benjamin R. Barber

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, Berlin Wall, bike sharing scheme, borderless world, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, clean water, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, desegregation, Detroit bankruptcy, digital Maoism, disintermediation, edge city, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, Etonian, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global pandemic, global village, Hernando de Soto, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, London Interbank Offered Rate, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, megacity, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peace of Westphalia, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, Tony Hsieh, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, unpaid internship, urban sprawl, War on Poverty, zero-sum game

Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities We need to make sure that we’re building . . . neighborhoods that are mixed, where people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and particularly income levels can live in the same neighborhoods. . . . Social inclusion . . . can go a long way in reducing inequality. Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Calgary If you fix cities, you kind of fix the world. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos Youth unemployment is an incredible problem in Europe, [where] we have 5.5 million youngsters without jobs, without hope. . . . I think it’s awful for me, it’s an awful situation. [To deal with it] we will need different levels of responsibility and competence, but it will only happen if we have different ways of cooperation. Not hierarchical. Mayor Wolfgang Schuster, Stuttgart Inequality and injustice appear as intractable features of the city because they are endemic to its urban character—its density, its topographical and demographic inclination to segregation, its “natural” ghettos, its susceptibility to economic stratification.

To begin, such an assembly would represent a modest first step toward formalizing the myriad networks of cities already actively cooperating across borders around issues as mundane an express bus lanes, bike-share programs, and web-based information collection, and as momentous as climate change, nuclear security, and intelligence gathering. It turns out that in cities it is often the mundane issues that affect the momentous ones—bike-shares and express bus lanes are a way to address climate change and emissions, information sharing can be a path to collective security—which is precisely why cities can often achieve the momentous while pursuing the mundane. Perhaps it is why Las Vegas urban reformer Tony Hsieh is right to say, if rather too grandly, that “if you fix cities, you kind of fix the world.” A global assembly of cities, meeting as a parliament of mayors, offers a fresh approach to global governance because in my conception it would seek progress through voluntary actions and consensus rather than through executive or legislative mandates. The parliament I envision, operating in the absence of sovereign coercive authority, agreed-upon common law, and (initially) any means of enforcement, would not exercise executive power by command.