hsieh’s law

I coined the title Hsieh’s Law – to refer to the importance that Zappo’s founder Tony Hsieh placed on culture. Zappo’s was sold to Amazon in 2009 for US$1.2 billion. It was at that time and remains the worlds largest (online) shoe store.

The competitive advantage of Zappo’s and the key to its success was culture. According to Hsieh, nothing is more important to the success of a business than culture. Culture creates the brand, bringing it to life. Culture drives productivity and performance. This view is, of course, consistent with that of management guru and author Peter Drucker, who suggested that ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast.’

Zappo’s has 10 core values:

  • Deliver WOW through service
  • Embrace and drive change
  • Create fun and a little weirdness
  • Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded
  • Pursue growth and learning
  • Build open and honest relationships with communication
  • Build a positive team and family spirit
  • Do more with less
  • Be passionate and determined
  • Be humble

Only people who can demonstrate they share these values will be employed by Zappo’s – no matter how talented they are. People who behave in a manner inconsistent with any one of these values at any stage is sacked.

Zappo’s is an amazing success story and much of that success is down to culture!!!



  1. John Carlson – +61 (0) 402 273 350

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