Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh (/ˈʃ/ shay; Chinese: 謝家華; born December 12, 1973[1]) is an American Internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He is the CEO of the online shoe and clothing company Zappos. Prior to joining Zappos, Hsieh co-founded the Internet advertising network LinkExchange, which he sold to Microsoft in 1998 for $265 million.[3]

Tony Hsieh
Tony Hsieh's Zappos identity badge in 2009
Hsieh in 2009.
Born (1973-12-12) December 12, 1973 (age 46)[1]
Alma materHarvard University (S.B.)
OccupationInternet entrepreneur, venture capitalist
Known forCEO of Zappos
Home townSan Francisco Bay Area
Net worthIncrease US$ 840 million[2]

Early life and educationEdit

Both of his parents (Richard and Judy) came from Taiwan. Tony Hsieh was born in Illinois and grew up in the San Francisco Bay area of California.[4] He has two younger brothers, Andy Hsieh and Dave Hsieh.

In 1995, he graduated from Harvard University with a degree in computer science.[5] While at Harvard, he managed the Quincy House Grille selling pizza to the students in his dorm; his best customer, Alfred Lin, would later be Zappos's CFO and COO.[6] After college, Hsieh worked for Oracle Corporation.[7] After five months, Hsieh found himself dissatisfied with the corporate environment and quit to co-found LinkExchange with Sanjay Madan, a college friend and also an ex-Oracle employee.



In 1996, Hsieh started developing the idea for an advertising network called LinkExchange.[8] Members were allowed to advertise their site over LinkExchange's network by displaying banner ads on their website. They launched in March 1996, with Hsieh as CEO, and found their first 30 clients by direct emailing webmasters.[9] The site grew, and within 90 days LinkExchange had over 20,000 participating web pages and had its banner ads displayed over 10 million times.[10] By 1998, the site had over 400,000 members and 5 million ads rotated daily.[11] In November 1998, LinkExchange sold to Microsoft for $265 million.[12][13]

Venture Frogs

After LinkExchange sold to Microsoft, Hsieh co-founded Venture Frogs, an incubator and investment firm, with his business partner, Alfred Lin.[14][15] The name originated from a dare. One of Hsieh's friends said she would invest everything if they chose "Venture Frogs" as the name, and the pair took her up on the bet (although they have yet to see any money).[16] They invested in a variety of tech and Internet startups, including Ask Jeeves, OpenTable and Zappos.[16]


In 1999, Nick Swinmurn approached Hsieh and Lin with the idea of selling shoes online.[6] Hsieh was initially skeptical and almost deleted Swinmurn's initial voice mail. After Swinmurn mentioned that "footwear in the US is a $40 billion market, and 5% of that was already being sold by paper mail order catalogs," Hsieh and Lin decided to invest through Venture Frogs. Two months later, Hsieh joined Zappos as the CEO, starting with $1.6 million in 2000.[6] By 2009, revenues reached $1 billion.[17][18]

On July 22, 2009, announced the acquisition of in a deal valued at approximately $1.2 billion.[19] Hsieh is said to have made at least $214 million from the sale, not including money made through his former investment firm Venture Frogs.[20][21]


Hsieh joined JetSuite's board in 2011. He led a $7 million round of investment in the growing private "very light jet" concern. The investment allowed JetSuite to add two new Embraer Phenom 100 jets which have two pilots, two engines and safety features equivalent to large commercial passenger jets but weigh less than 10,000 pounds and are consequently highly fuel efficient.[22]

Downtown Project - Las Vegas, NV

Since 2009, Hsieh, who still runs the downtown Las Vegas based business, has been organizing a major re-development and revitalization project for downtown Las Vegas, which has been for the most part left behind compared to the Las Vegas Strip's growth. Hsieh originally planned the Downtown Project as a place where employees may live and work, but the project has grown beyond that to a vision where thousands of local tech and other entrepreneurs may live and work.[23][24] Projects funded include The Writer's Block, the first independent bookseller in Las Vegas.[25]


Hsieh received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award for the Northern California region in 2007.[26]

1993 World Champions - ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest [27]
Harvard University Team - Tony Hsieh, Derrick Bass, Craig Silverstein

Personal lifeEdit

In June 2010, Hsieh released Delivering Happiness, a book about his entrepreneurial endeavors. It was profiled in many world publications, including The Washington Post, CNBC, TechCrunch, The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal.[28][29][30][31][32] It debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List and stayed on the list for 27 consecutive weeks.[33][34] Hsieh resides primarily in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, but he also owns a home in Southern Highlands.[35][36][37]


  1. ^ a b Hsieh, Tony. Delivering Happiness. The first official party of 810 would be on Saturday, December 11, 1999. At midnight, I would turn twenty-six.
  2. ^ "10 Money Lessons from Billionaires". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  3. ^ Cf. Delivering Happiness book by Hsieh. "In 1996, I co-founded LinkExchange, which was sold to Microsoft in 1998 for $265 million."
  4. ^ "Tony Hsieh, The Billion Dollar Interview", Entrepreneur Interviews
  5. ^ "Tony Hsieh". 22 March 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  6. ^ a b c I Am CNBC Tony Hsieh Transcript Archived 2011-06-12 at the Wayback Machine CNBC. August 15, 2007.
  7. ^ Wei, William Tony Hsieh: Here’s Why I Quit My Corporate Job At Oracle With No Real Plan (October 28, 2010), Business Insider.
  8. ^ BEato, Greg. Scans: Barter for Banners. September 29, 1997.
  9. ^ Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Talks Shoes on Bloomberg TV BNet. July 16, 2010.
  10. ^ Internet Link Exchange: 3rd month of operation celebrated. M2 Newswire via LexisNexis. June 17, 1996.
  11. ^ Frierman, Shelly. An Internet company with little freebies that could gain a place in the sun The New York Times. December 2, 1998.
  12. ^ Wei, William. Tony Hsieh: Here's Why I Quit My Corporate Job At Oracle With No Real Plan. Business Insider. October 28, 2010.
  13. ^ Tony Hsieh - Author Of “Delivering Happiness” And CEO Of Zappos
  14. ^ Venture Frogs Launches New Incubator For Net Startups URLwire. September 19, 1999.
  15. ^ Lee, Tom. Venture Frogs Internet Restaurant Logs on to the San Francisco Scene Archived 2012-03-11 at the Wayback Machine. Asian Week. August 17, 2000.
  16. ^ a b Nelson, Erik. Venture Frogs in a Cyber-Marsh Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine. Profit Magazine. January 2000.
  17. ^ Hsieh, Tony. Why I Sold Zappos. Inc. Magazine. June 1, 2010.
  18. ^ Kee, Tameka. Amazon Buying Out For About $850 Million. Washington Post. July 23, 2009.
  19. ^ Amazon Closes Zappos Deal, Ends Up Paying $1.2 Billion TechCrunch. November 2, 2009.
  20. ^ "What Everyone Made from the Zappos Sale". 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  21. ^ Jacobs, Alexandra (September 14, 2009). "Happy Feet". The New Yorker: 66–71.
  22. ^ "Zappos shoe mogul invests in O.C. company". 19 September 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  23. ^ Pratt, Timothy. "What Happens in Brooklyn Moves to Vegas". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  24. ^ "Downtown Project - Downtown Project Las Vegas". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  25. ^ Semuels, Alana (2 March 2015). "Zappos' CEO Has Poured $350 Million into Revitalizing Downtown Vegas, Is It Enough?". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  26. ^ Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award, 2007 Archived 2011-09-02 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "ICPC World Champion Hall of Fame". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  28. ^ McDonough-Taub, Gloria Top Books: Delivering Happiness CNBC. August 19, 2010.
  29. ^ Spreading WOW The Washington Post August 27, 2010.
  30. ^ Delivering Happiness: A Movement TechCrunch. May 1, 2010.
  31. ^ ‘Delivering Happiness’: What Poker Taught Me About Business The Huffington Post. May 26, 2010.
  32. ^ Carrol, Paul Getting a Foothold Online The Wall Street Journal. June 7, 2010.
  33. ^ Hardcover Advice 06-27-2010 The New York Times.
  34. ^ Hardcover Advice 12-26-2010 The New York Times.
  35. ^ "At Zappos, Pushing Shoes and a Vision". July 17, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  36. ^ "LIVING SMALL: AT DOWNTOWN'S AIRSTREAM PARK, HOME IS WHERE THE EXPERIMENT IS". February 5, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  37. ^ Rich, Motoko. "Why Is the Head of Zappos Smiling?". Retrieved 1 August 2018.

Further readingEdit

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