Sad News about Tragic Death of Zappos Founder
We were very sorry to hear about the tragic death of Zappos Founder and former CEO Tony Hsieh over the weekend.
Hsieh, who was only 46, died from injuries sustained in a house fire. He had stepped down as CEO in August after 21 years with the company.
Many in the surf industry remember him fondly from his attendance at the annual Surf Summit conference in Mexico in 2008. He was a keynote speaker that year and stuck around for several days during the event. He was approachable and talked, answered questions, and partied with the group, too.
He even managed to charm retailers at the event who were frustrated by Zappos practice of shipping goods free both ways to customers – both original orders and returns as well. That was a practice that independent small retailers had a hard time competing with.
Hsieh was a serial entrepreneur, and sold his first company, LinkExchange to Microsoft for $265 million. He then invested in a retail shoe start-up, then called ShoeSite.com, which eventually became Zappos.
His vision, which centered around exemplary customer service, getting people comfortable with buying footwear online in the early days of the internet, and creating a unique company culture, led to skyrocketing sales.
In July 2009, Hsieh sold the company for $1.2 billion to Amazon.
Our hearts go out to the Zappos team, which has grown into an important industry customer and big supporter of the action sports industry.