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Tony Hsieh

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Title: Tony Hsieh  
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Subject: Zappos, Delivering Happiness, Lane Sutton, Amazon Standard Identification Number, LinkExchange
Collection: 1973 Births, 21St-Century American Businesspeople, Amazon.Com People, American Computer Businesspeople, American People of Chinese Descent, American People of Taiwanese Descent, American Technology Chief Executives, American Technology Company Founders, Asian-American Businesspeople, Businesspeople from Nevada, Businesspeople from the San Francisco Bay Area, Businesspeople in Online Retailing, Harvard University Alumni, Living People, People from the Las Vegas Valley, Private Equity and Venture Capital Investors
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Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh
Tony Hsieh's Zappos identity badge in 2009
Hsieh in 2009.
Born (1973-12-12) December 12, 1973 [1]
Residence Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Alma mater Harvard University (S.B.)
Occupation Internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist
Known for CEO of
Home town San Francisco Bay Area
Net worth Increase US$ 840 million[2]

Tony Hsieh ( ; born December 12, 1973[1]) is an American internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He is the CEO of the online shoe and clothing shop Prior to joining Zappos, Hsieh co-founded the internet advertising network LinkExchange, which he sold to Microsoft in 1999 for $265 million.[3]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
  • Awards 3
  • Personal life 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7

Early life and education

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]


Hsieh has long been an active Twitter user with a substantial following. He has been widely noted as an influential figure in how Twitter can be used among C-level executives to build a connection with customers, partners and employees.[23]

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 zooming 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.[24][25]


Hsieh received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in 2007.[26]

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

Personal life

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.[6][28][29][30][31] It debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List and stayed on the list for 27 consecutive weeks.[32][33] Hsieh lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.


  1. ^ a b Cf. Delivering Happiness book by Hsieh. "The first official party of 810 would be on Saturday, December 11, 1999. At midnight, I would turn twenty-six."
  2. ^ [1] Yahoo Finance Canada. Retrieved September 2012.
  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. ^ Q&A with Tony Hsieh, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
  6. ^ a b c d I Am CNBC Tony Hsieh Transcript 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. Asian Week. August 17, 2000.
  16. ^ a b Nelson, Erik. Venture Frogs in a Cyber-Marsh. 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".  
  22. ^
  23. ^ Jonathan Paisner: The Rise of the C-Tweet
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award, 2007
  27. ^ [2] ACM ICPC World Champions
  28. ^ Spreading WOW The Washington Post August 27, 2010.
  29. ^ Delivering Happiness: A Movement TechCrunch. May 1, 2010.
  30. ^ ‘Delivering Happiness’: What Poker Taught Me About Business The Huffington Post. May 26, 2010.
  31. ^ Carrol, Paul Getting a Foothold Online The Wall Street Journal. June 7, 2010.
  32. ^ Hardcover Advice 06-27-2010 The New York Times.
  33. ^ Hardcover Advice 12-26-2010 The New York Times.

Further reading

  • Hsieh, Tony. Delivering happiness : a path to profits, passion, and purpose, New York : Business Plus, 2010. ISBN 9780446563048

External links

  • "Episode 14: Tony Hsieh",, March 2, 2011. {podcast interview}
  • Delivering Happiness Official Website
  • Walters, Barbara, "Interview with Tony Hsieh", 20/20, ABC News, Oct 28, 2011 / August 3, 2012
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