The constant battle of business ethics...
Can a business make a ton of money and do the right thing? At first blush we would say, "no way... it doesn't happen." When Tony Hsieh took over at Zappos (selling shoes online) in 1999, nobody thought a business like this could work. By 2009, the company was doing over a billion dollars in sales every year and by July of that same year, Amazon announced that it was buying the company for over one billion dollars. Zappos is mostly known as being one of the most consumer-centric companies in the world. It's a corporate culture that isn't just external facing, but internal as well (you don't even want to know the public shaming that happens in the company if someone dares to "replay-all" to an email). In 2010, Hsieh published his first bestselling business book, Delivering Happiness (full-disclosure: Hsieh and I share the same publisher and editor), which talks not only about his adventures with Zappos but with his other entrepreneurial endeavors as well. On the cusp of turning 40 years old, Hsieh's latest adventure is to revitalize the downtown area of Las Vegas - a one billion dollar investment, of which he has personally invested $350 million of his own money. In short (and this paragraph is but a sidenote to the true breadth and depth of his life), Hsieh is proving the traditional business world wrong. You can build a substantive business by having tons of sales, treating employees and customers as honest equals and trying to create a positive impact in your community. It's a choice. In this episode of the ever-fantastic Foundation podcast, Kevin Rose (ex. Digg and currently at Google Ventures) spends over forty minutes in what can only be described as a MBA-level conversation about what true business success should look like with Tony Hsieh.
Watch... and enjoy: