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Tony Hsieh: An Inspiration in Customer Service and Life

In reading about the recent passing of Tony Hsieh, two words come to mind—milestones and touchstones.

picture of Zappos call center

Milestones, of course, will always be the creation of his customer-happy company Zappos, which I loved. Pairs of its shoes, from Nikes to Nine West, occupy my closet.

And touchstones because of how his outlook about work and life went far beyond the products being sold, inspiring many.

As Tony pointed out:

Such thinking applies to everyone, everywhere, every time. In this case, the shoes most certainly fit.

Fun and Fundamental

Picture of former Zappos CEO

In this Sept. 30, 2013, file photo, Tony Hsieh speaks during a Grand Rapids Economic Club luncheon in Grand Rapids, Mich.(Cory Morse/The Grand Rapids Press via AP, File)

Tony’s ideas about doing business were as much fun as they remain fundamental. For instance, Richard Branson, entrepreneur extraordinaire, wrote a short blog recalling his friendship with Tony.

Richard quoted him from their joint Forbes interview:

Invest in long-term things like culture, service, and brand in the good times because they will carry you through the bad times.

Tony’s thoughts now carry us through these times.

Out of the Box and Beyond

Picture of Tony Hsieh and his quote next to him


You see, as Tony sure did, that big things—great ideas, really—carry weight and wisdom that last, out of the box and beyond. They travel well from person to person, place to place. Always with a shared spirt that there’s something more. To do. Or simply, to be.

Yes, Tony was selling, believing in, much more than just shoes.

But I do love my Zappos shoes—and the oh-so-good service that came with them. Memories with miles of smiles on them.

In honor of Tony, I will wear a pair today. Look down at them, remembering—as he once said—that simple gestures matter. We should all walk in his shoes, showing the way.

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