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40 Astonishing Tony Hsieh Quotes

Tony Hsieh is an American venture capitalist and internet entrepreneur. He is the CEO of the clothing shop Zappos and former co-founder of LinkExchange, later acquired by Microsoft in 1999. With decades of tech experience under his belt, here is a look at some of the most memorable Tony Hsieh quotes to remember.

“A lot of people may think it’s strange that an Internet company is so focused on the telephone, when only about 5 percent of our sales happen through the telephone.”

“Act weak when strong, act strong when weak. Know when to bluff.”

“Another common trap that many marketers fall into is focusing too much on trying to figure out how to generate a lot of buzz, when really they should be focused on building engagement and trust.”

“As unsexy and low-tech as it may sound, our belief is that the telephone is one of the best branding devices out there.”

“Envision, create, and believe in your own universe, and the universe will form around you.”

“For example, for most of our loyal repeat customers, we do surprise upgrades to overnight shipping, even though we only promise them standard ground shipping when they choose the free shipping option.”

“For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny.”

“Happiness is really just about four things: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness (number and depth of your relationships), and vision/meaning (being part of something bigger than yourself)”

“I believe that there’s something interesting about anyone and everyone—you just have to figure out what that something is.”

“I had decided to stop chasing the money, and start chasing the passion.”

“I thought about how easily we are all brainwashed by our society and culture to stop thinking and just assume by default that more money equals more success and more happiness, when ultimately happiness is really just about enjoying life.”

“It starts with what customers first see when they visit our Web site. In the United States, we offer free shipping both ways to make the transaction as easy as possible and risk-free for our customers.”

“It’s important to always act with integrity in your relationships, to be compassionate, friendly, loyal, and to make sure that you do the right thing and treat your relationships well.”

“It’s important to constantly challenge and stretch yourself, and not be stuck in a job where you don’t feel like you are growing or learning.”

“Learn by surrounding yourself with talented players. Just because you win a hand doesn’t mean you’re good and you don’t have more learning to do.”

“Money alone isn’t enough to bring happiness . . . happiness [is] when you’re actually truly ok with losing everything you have.”

“Most vendors aren’t happy dealing with most retailers because the retailers, especially the department stores, usually try to squeeze every last dollar out of them. We could be the first major retailer that doesn’t try to do that.”

“My advice is to stop trying to”network” in the traditional business sense, and instead just try to build up the number and depth of your friendships, where the friendship itself is its own reward.”

“Never outsource your core competency.”

“No matter what your past has been, you have a spotless future.”

“Obviously, in those situations, we lose the sale. But we’re not trying to maximize each and every transaction. Instead, we’re trying to build a lifelong relationship with each customer, one phone call at a time.”

“Our philosophy has been to take most of the money we would have spent on paid advertising and invest it into customer service and the customer experience instead, letting our customers do the marketing for us through word of mouth.”

“Read books and learn from others who have done it before. Learn by doing. Theory is nice, but nothing replaces actual experience.”

“So there are no experts in what we’re doing. Except for us: we are becoming experts as we do this.”

“Someone broke into my car last night. Nothing worth taking, car is actually less of a mess now. I should schedule this monthly.”

“The best leaders are those that lead by example and are both team followers as well as team leaders. We believe that in general, the best ideas and decisions are made from the bottom up, meaning by those on the front lines that are closest to the issues and/or the customers.”

“The combination of physical synchrony with other humans and being part of something bigger than oneself (and thus losing momentarily a sense of self) leads to a greater sense of happiness.”

“There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

“Things are never as bad or as good as they seem.”

“Too many companies think of their call centers as an expense to minimize. We believe that it’s a huge untapped opportunity for most companies.”

“Usually marketing departments assume that the lifetime value of a customer is fixed when doing their ROI calculations.”

“We already treat our vendors well, but we can build up our reputation within the vendor community even more by really treating our vendors as true partners in the business.”

“We must all learn not only to not fear change, but to embrace it enthusiastically and, perhaps even more important, encourage and drive it.”

“We must never lose our sense of urgency in making improvements. We must never settle for “good enough,” because good is the enemy of great.”

“We view the lifetime value of a customer to be a moving target that can increase if we can create more and more positive emotional associations with our brand through every interaction that a person has with us.”

“When a customer calls looking for a specific style of shoes in a specific size that we’re out of stock on.”

“When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.”

“Without conscious and deliberate effort, inertia always wins.”

“You won’t know exactly what those benefits will be, but if your friendships are genuine, those benefits will magically appear 2-3 years later down the road.”

“Your personal core values define who you are, and a company’s core values ultimately define the company’s character and brand. For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny.”

Check out this video of Tony Hsieh as he discusses why he sold Zappos and what his thoughts are on Amazon. Hsieh believes in self managed employees. At Zappos, they do not have managers that operate the business.

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