What We Can Learn From The Tragic Loss Of Tony Hsieh

The world recently learned of the tragic passing of Tony Hsieh, the brilliant founder of Zappos, online shoe retailer. The org he founded was so special & his vision, a huge reason for their success:

Tony considered Zappos a service company- not one that simply “sold shoes.” They delivered happiness. If you toured Zappos’ offices, they were open floor plans, adorned w decorations- even a ball pit for employees. His/their motto was to: “Deliver WOW thru service.” He empowered his reps to do whatever they needed to please customers. They had a “no questions asked return policy,” no matter how many shoes were returned. You can see why customers loved buying from them & kept coming back.

Altogether, the memories of Hsieh create an image of a man whose mission in life was to create happiness- for everyone. He even penned a NYT #1 Bestseller: “Delivering Happiness: A Path To Profits, Passion & Purpose.”

Impt bkgrnd for a movement that’s focused on shifting the paradigm arnd MH: Tony’s not someone you’d “expect” to have struggled.

Forbes mag interviewed more than 20 of his close friends since his tragic passing, trying to come to grips w how someone whose own light shined so bright, could’ve faded to such a dark place.

What those interviews reveal is that COVID brought to a halt – the nonstop action that he craved. He was always “addicted” to things like ideas & energy. But w that personality many close to him say he was also a heavy drinker, & frequently used drugs. The isolation & social distancing did a number on him, & his use grew. So, in August amidst the loneliness of the pandemic, Zappos announced that in only his mid-40s, Tony had retired. His tragic passing, where there is still so much left unanswered, soon followed.

Why are all the details impt? 1)Many w big brains & great ideas often struggle w addictive personalities. What makes them great also makes their choices risky. 2) W/ companies announcing WFH indefinite plans, we have to consider the impact of not being in office, & whether that’s conducive to healthy lifestyles given the isolation it creates. Tragic loss…& one we hopefully learn from. RIP.

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