I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of Tony Hsieh’s book Delivering Happiness a few weeks ago. To be honest, I’ve only read half of the book but love it so far. This is a great story of a kid that got lucky (i think he admits that) in the dotcom craze of the 90’s but learned so much through the experience that he changed everything with Zappos.
Don’t get me wrong; he wasn’t only lucky with Link Exchange. He is obviously incredibly smart but takes it one step further understanding what drives loyalty and passion. He exudes it, employees adapt it to passionately help customers and then customers become brand evangelists. Most brands are built over decades with an image and advertising to support that image. Tony created a brand in a few years that marvels giants like Nike and he did it without heavy advertising or creative strategy. Granted, he was lucky enough to have the money to play Zappos out (most of us don’t have that luxury) and he almost ran out of cash, but he came away building something incredible.
I think everyone can learn a lot from this book. Do what you enjoy? This is not always exactly possible: I can’t ski or sit on the beach for a living but I love to build things. I could grow plants, be a carpenter or something else similar. But building things is what i like to do. i transferred that into building a unique mass-customization business where we use technology and systems to offer embroidered and printed apparel cheaper, faster and better than typical means.
Tony is very much the same way (a whole lot smarter and better with people then i am) and likes creating something. I think we all do in one form or another. He also takes building a culture to a new level and built zappos around it. He’s pleasant, straight-forward and honest which is what i admire the most. I love reading his book and have tried to emulate zappos’s service since I first ordered from them years ago. We still have a long way to go but I hope someday we can match Zappos’s level of service…..not only for brand building reasons but so we may be happier everyday making our customers happy. I think deep-down we are all happiest making others happy and business is no exception…..Tony proves that