Tony Hsieh

Owner and CEO of Zappos

Tony Hsies

Tony Hsies is an entrepreneur in the shoe industry. He changed the way shoes were sold by founding Zappos, the largest online shoe store. Tony was born on December 12 1973. Both of his parents (Richard and Judy) came from Taiwan. Tony Hsieh was born in Ilinois and grew up in the San Francisco Bay area of California. He has two younger brothers, Andy Hsieh and Dave Hsieh. In 1995, he graduated from Harvard University with a degree in computer science. While at Harvard, he managed the Quincy House Grille selling pizza to the students in his dorm. His best customer, Alfred Lin, would later be Zappos’s CFO and COO.

How it All Began

In 1998, 24-year-old Tony Hsieh sold his company, LinkExchange (an internet advisor), to Microsoft for $265 million. A year later, he met a younger entrepreneur, Nick Swinmurn, who had an idea nobody would touch: selling shoes on the Internet. Hsieh was intrigued and invested $500,000 in (they soon changed the name to Zappos, after zapatos, which is Spanish for "shoes"). Within six months, he and Swinmurn were running the company together. Eventually, Swinmurn moved on, leaving Hsieh in charge of a company that had sales of $252 million in 2005. The company is now worth over two billion dollars.

Service #1

It all started when Nick sent Tony a voice mail asking him to invest in selling shoes online. Tony almost deleted the message until he heard Nick's statement that it was a $40 billion industry. They started the company together and focused not on marketing but instead on exceptional service. They wanted costumers to find better service with Zappos than any other shoe retailer. When potential employees are interviewed, the interviewer is looking for people who are passionate about service, not the shoe industry.


Qualities that entrepreneurs such as Tony have are confidence, being open minded, experimental, competitive, a self-starter, and creative.