Tony Hsieh visits Milwaukee!

Tony Hsieh visits Milwaukee!

Today was a big day for me. I met Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and co-author of Delivering Happiness.

Tony presented at the Hilton downtown. I expected him to be to inspiring but he kinda blew me away. A few years ago, his book helped me to imagine what is possible in a company by starting with authenticity and culture. In the book, he talks about the importance — no, the necessity of building a company from the culture up, and how “brand” and culture are dependent upon each other — meaning, you can do a lot to market a brand, but if your employees hate working there, and tell everyone they know it’s awful, then you will struggle to survive.  Everyday, the book inspires me and the work I do. Because it’s not just about culture, it’s about the definition of success. Is success simply pleasing shareholders at a quarterly meeting? Or is success deeper than that? Is success lifting people up?

Tony said a million wise and brilliant things today. I can’t summarize everything so I’ll just highlight a few points… Tony believes in the long game. He said ROI is short-sighted. He believes in ROC. Return On Community. What he is building with his Downtown Project (revitalizing Las Vegas) is part BurningMan (art, serendipity) part commerce (business, local, startup) and part Telluride (community). In short, ALL of my favorites. Sign me up.

– Betsy Rowbottom, Co-founder, The Good Jobs

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