Delivering Happiness (RIP Tony Hsieh)

Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness, kicked my ass. Not because he necessarily said anything new, but because it put aspects of my own life and business into big, bold, highlighted letters. I’ve since reread it on more than one occasion. We lost Hsieh at the age of 46 this weekend. Here are three things I learned from him I think of regularly:

Envision, create, and believe in your own universe. We spend so much of our time existing in the worlds others have created for us – at work, with products or services, and even in our downtown. If we want to do something special, we have to have the audacity to create our own space and invite others to join us.

The business is the brand, so treat every interaction as a branding opportunity. The Zappos call centers are famous for a reason. A culture built on treating each other well will treat clients well. A business that treats clients well will attract more clients. Hsieh laid out a clear north star of values to follow, empowering people to make their own decisions. The motto “delivering happiness” applied to every experience with the brand and within the business. It rolled and grew like a snowball.

Spread the good. Pay it forward and pass it on. In the book, Hsieh used the Buddhist quote, “Thousands of candles can be lit by one candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened.” In his 46 years, he lit a lot of candles. From his initial startup, to founding Zappos, to his most recent work revitalizing the neighborhoods in and around Las Vegas, he knew how to lift people up and set good things in motion.

If you haven’t already, take some time to read about his life’s work (here’s TechCrunch, NYT, and Forbes to start). If his story piques your interest, I highly recommend his book, which I’ll be revisiting soon too.

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