How to build a billion-dollar company culture

Bambi Francisco Roizen · May 18, 2010 · Short URL:

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh's standing-ovation presentation at Vator Splash, Part II

This is the second part of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh's hour-long presentation at the Vator Splash conference in San Francisco last week. After the presentation, the response was no less than a standing ovation. While that may sound very atypical for a technology/entrepreneur conference, it's not surprising given that the presentation was about how to be a better entrepreneur and, essentially - how to deliver happiness to your customer and ultimately yourself and your team.

Here's the first part of Tony's speech: Tony Hsieh's standing-ovation speech

You should watch this second half, but here are some quick takeaways:

1) Commit to transparency. The benefits far outweigh the risks

2) It doesn't matter what your core values are. What matters is that you have them and that you commit to them. And, hire and fire based on those core values

3) If Tony would do anything differently over the last 11 years, he'd role out the company's core values on day one

4) Having an integrated set of core values beyond a plaque on the wall eventually becomes a default way of thinking for the whole company

5) The core values is the most powerful asset at the company

6) There are two elements present in great companies. One is that great companies have a great culture. Second is that great companies follow the vision over the money

7)  Chase the vision, not the money and the money will follow

8) Zappos has had an evolving vision since 1999.

1999 – Selection

2003 - Customer Service

2005 - Culture and core values as our platform

2007 – Personal Emotional Connection

2009- Delivering Happiness

 (Don't forget: If you want a copy of Tony's company culture book, just let us know in the comment section, and we'll get you one)

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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Joined Vator on

Our goal is to position Zappos as the online service leader. If we can get customers to associate the brand with the absolute best service, then we can expand into other product categories beyond shoes. And, we're doing just that.

Internally, we have a saying: We are a service company that happens to sell ________.

  • shoes
  • and handbags
  • and clothing
  • and eyewear
  • and watches
  • and accessories
  • (and eventually anything and everything)

Tony Hsieh

Joined Vator on