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.