Tony Hsieh.

From left to right:

1.  2008 Zappos Culture Book on top of a stack of other books, magazines and a t-shirt
2.  Brass monkey sculpture
3.  Cowboy hat
4.  Zappos license plate
5.  2 bottles of Grey Goose Vodka (actually there are three; the 3rd is more to the right)
6.  Red Bull
7.  Reusable Water bottle
8.  4 empty soda cans
9.  A laptop

In 1999, at the age of 24, Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay) sold LinkExchange, the company he co-founded, to Microsoft for $265 million. He then joined Zappos as an adviser and investor, and eventually became CEO, where he helped Zappos grow from almost no sales to over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually, while simultaneously making Fortune magazine’s annual “Best Companies to Work For” list. Zappos was acquired by Amazon in November 2009 in a deal valued at $1.2 billion on the day of closing.

Tony’s first book, Delivering Happiness, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list and has remained on the list every week since June 2010. He currently lives in Las Vegas and sort of has a cat.

FROM YOUR DESKS: Tony, under your desk, what shoes are you wearing?

TONY HSIEH: Right now I am traveling on my cross country book tour for “Delivering Happiness,” so I am not at my desk. But, I’m in Donald J Pliner shoes.

FYD: What is a “sort of cat?”  Name?  Vitals?

TH: El Gato – it just showed up in my backyard one day and I leave some food out for it every day.  She is a long-haired calico, but I am not sure of her age. For all I know it could be my neighbor’s cat.

FYD: You are soda fan. What is for breakfast or dinner?

TH: Black coffee.

FYD: Do you nap at work? Get some fresh air?

TH: I don’t nap at work, but I go outside from time to time.

FYD: Did you sign up for Groupon?

TH: Yes!

El Gato – it just showed up in my backyard one day and I leave some food out for it every day. 

FYD: Say you are in a store, receiving poor customer service.  Knowing what you know, and what you have written in your book, does that store get a second chance?

TH:  I’d probably just go shop at another store.

FYD: In a nutshell, what is the one great truth in customer service?

TH: Happy customers are loyal customers.  Our philosophy is to take most of the money we would have spent on paid advertising/marketing and put that into the customer experience instead, including things like free shipping both ways, our 365-day return policy, and staffing our call center 24/7.

Follow Tony @ZAPPOS

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