Back in 2010, the famously shy Hsieh introduced his idea of the modern business model to the world—a model built on satisfied customers and a valued workforce. His uplifting message about the future of his business was popular among many people and his book Delivering Happiness was a huge hit. But what is the real story behind Hsieh’s newest obsession of building a desert nirvana?
Business and technology journalist Aimee Groth found out when she ventured to Las Vegas and participated in Hsieh’s social engineering experiment. Based on Google’s and Apple’s business models, Hsieh’s goals for Zappos involve a company complex that affects the surrounding community, a work-life balance complete with a business-approved culture, and his most daring idea yet—embracing the ideas of Silicon Valley’s newest trend “Holocracy,” which promotes a complete rejection of traditional corporate hierarchy and instead embraces self-organization.
But during his innovative company restructuring, chaos ensued, and hundreds of employees left a company that has prided itself on being one of the world’s happiest places to work.
With interviews from insiders from all ends of the spectrum—like the “broken dolls” who gravitate towards Hsieh’s almost cult-like personality and make up his inner circle to the “Zapponians” who live and work on campus—Groth offers a unique view of a world few people know much about and sheds a new light on this complex, eccentric man as he turns the traditional business on its head and changes the lives and landscape of the city of Las Vegas.
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