It’s a new year and 2021 doesn’t feel much different than 2020. However, nothing could have prepared me this time last year for what was to come. 2020 has provided many hardships and losses, including the loss of a mentor and inspiration for HTH. I thought
it was fitting to start the year off talking about how he’s inspiring us to focus this new year on happiness.

I read Tony Hsieh’s book Delivering Happiness in 2010 and fell in love. I was shocked that such a company existed that shared so many of my philosophies, so I applied to work at Zappos and I got hired! It was such an amazing place to work; everything you read about is all true! I worked with such smart talented people that were nice, kind and fun to be around. I woke up every day excited to go to work.

There was a program at work where employees could make wishes. The wishes could be about anything and everything, and anyone in the company can grant a wish to anyone. My wish was to shadow Tony himself and pick his brain. Tony found out about my wish and granted it! Talk about a dream come true!

I only got to meet with Tony a few times but I learned so much from him and from working at Zappos. Here are just a few nuggets that I wanted to share.

  1. Be humble. Tony and his exec team sat in a cubicle like everyone else and he always wore a t-shirt and jeans. He wasn’t flashy and he never made people feel like he was better than anyone else. The CEO of a billion dollar company was sitting and having a conversation with me just because I wanted to. He made you feel like your equal and he was willing to help anyone that crossed his path.
  2. Do business with people you could be friends with. On one of the days I got to follow Tony around, I was privy to some cool business meetings. On one of those occasions, there was someone pitching a large deal/opportunity. The guy and his team just flew in and he was OBNOXIOUS! (With a capital O). Starting the initial daytime meeting with a loud “Let’s do a round of shots!” He was extremely loud, pompous and talked over people – completely opposite from Tony. After the meeting, I was there to debrief with Tony’s team and saw Tony’s thought process in making decisions. He asked the team if they could do business with that guy and the consensus seemed to be “no”. He wasn’t judgmental, but he was aware that the potential partners were not the type of people he would want to do business with and that was the end of that. At Zappos, he encouraged coworkers going out after work and connecting with them in a deeper way because he believed that if you became friends with who you worked with, then you were more likely to help them in their job. It’s been 7 years since I left and I can still call the people there my friends.

Those few interactions with Tony and the time I spent at Zappos were some of the most profound moments in my life. I can attribute our success to much of what I learned there. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, life is about creating happiness for yourself and others, for your team, and for your customers. When people are happy they pay it forward and make this world a better place. May
his legacy to deliver happiness live on through us.

– A Message from Anne-Marie Lerch, CXO

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