The footwear giant will settle down with his pet alpacas in a Las Vegas trailer park.
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3 min read
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh built a shoe empire worth billions of dollars. Now he’s preparing to step down and retire to a Las Vegas trailer park, where he lives with two pet alpacas named Marley and Triton.
Hsieh, 46, announced his retirement as company CEO after being at the top spot for 20 years. A graduate of Harvard University, Hsieh joined the company when it was called ShoeSite.com and helped it become a shoe superpower. Zappos sold to Amazon for $1.9 billion in 2009.
Sin City champion
A big booster of Las Vegas, Hsieh invested $350 million to revitalize downtown, developing Container Park, which boats a fire-shooting praying mantis at its front entrance. Hsieh also created a trailer park called “Llamaoplis,” a converted parking lot and home to 33 Tumbleweeds and an Airstream. This is where Hsieh lives with his hay-eating friends.
Under Hsieh, Zappos has been known for its friendly and lenient customer service, including a return policy that gives customers 365 days to return their shoes (provided they’re “like new”).
“Buying shoes online can initially be a scary process for people,” Hsieh said in 2003. “But Zappos has withstood when other dot-coms have failed because we provide the best customer experience, such as free shipping both ways. Even though free shipping of both orders and returns has cost us more, it has enabled us to keep our customers longer.”
Here are some other words of wisdom from the shoe sage:
1. “There’s a big difference between motivation and inspiration: Inspire through values and motivation takes care of itself.”
2. “Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you’re trying to do more than just make money.”
3. “For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny. ”
4. “Our belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff, like great customer service or building a great long-term brand or empowering passionate employees and customers will happen on its own.”
5. “Don’t be cocky. Don’t be flashy. There’s always someone better than you.”
6. “People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said but they always remember how you made them feel, that’s what matters the most.”
7. “If anyone’s ever interacted with an alpaca, you know you just can’t help but laugh.”