Tony Hsieh had a two-word employment policy at Zappos, and he was an absolute genius
There are a lot of good reasons people will remember Tony Hsieh. For example, you might immediately think of the weird interview question he was known to ask Zappos, during his two decades as CEO.
But I also remember something else: a policy known as “The Offer”, under which new Zappos employees were offered money to quit. Because this idea seems even more poignant to me after Hsieh died on Friday, at the much too young age of 46.
Hsieh has twice created businesses from scratch and found great exits: Zappos at Amazon for $ 1.2 billion, and before that, LinkExchange, which Microsoft acquired for $ 265 million before Hsieh had 25 years.
He has also been a booster for the city of Las Vegas, where Zappos is headquartered, and a thought leader in entrepreneurship and business, starting with the publication of his book, Delivery Joy, in 2012.
But I would like to remember him here for something else.
But instead, for this policy in two words at Zappos: “The offer”. It is now an even greater reminder that life is short and that we are only so lucky to find our true calling.
The program worked like this: After about a week of work, some new Zappos employees were told they had a choice.
They could continue the journey they had started – or they could stop. If they chose to “quit,” the company would pay them to leave.
“Why?” asked Bill Taylor in harvard business review in 2008, when the maximum “bid” was $ 1,000. “,
It was not altruism; Zappos was better off without employees who didn’t want to be there. But I can’t help but think that it was also a real favor for the people who took a job at Zappos only to find it was not the right decision for them.
After Amazon acquired Zappos – and allowed it to remain a stand-alone division, under the leadership of Hsieh – “Big Amazon” also adopted a version of the idea.
the Amazon iteration involves offering Amazon fulfillment center employees $ 1,000 per year for which they worked at Amazon, up to $ 5,000.
Hsieh sold Zappos to Amazon in 2009, and I guess the reason “The Offer” resonated so strongly with me when I first heard about it is because of exactly what I was doing at the time. -the.
Short version: I started a new six-figure job as a lawyer, only to realize from day one that I had made a big mistake in taking it. I stopped right away – there was no offer of $ 1,000 or $ 5,000 – and the situation motivated me to quickly start a business that could support a family.
A moment later when i wrote about it, I’ve had my 15 minutes of fame of all the experience. But the real benefit was reaffirming that life was too fleeting to spend more than a day in a job that I knew was not for me.
Reports say Hsieh was injured in a house fire in New London, Connecticut, on Nov. 18, before succumbing to Friday. The story of what happened is still developing; local reports said firefighters called it an “active investigation”.
But I will also remember him for the lesson in “The Offer”.
Life is far too short to follow the wrong path. And today is always a great day to start finding the right one.
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