Tony C. Hsieh ’95 has an eye for business—and a head for it. The CEO of Zappos.com, an online retail store that sells everything from apparel to appliances, is so passionate about his company that he tattooed its logo onto the top of his shaved head. The former Computer Science concentrator has an entrepreneurial streak that dates back to his time at Harvard.
Hsieh, a former Quincy House resident, groomed his entrepreneurial skills while running the Quincy Grille with his roommate. They expanded the Grille’s menu during their tenure, installing pizza ovens to meet students’ desire for late-night greasy eats.
After graduating, Hsieh co-founded LinkExchange, an advertising cooperative, which he sold in 1999 to Microsoft for a cool $265 million. He then joined Zappos.com as an advisor and investor, eventually becoming CEO. Prior to his arrival, the company struggled to make a profit. By 2009, the company was so successful that Amazon.com acquired it in a $1.2 billion deal. It continues to make over $1 billion annually.
In June of last year, Hsieh also published his first book, “Delivering Happiness,” which tells his business story. By this time, Hsieh was no stranger to success: the book held the #1 position on the New York Times Bestseller list for 27 consecutive weeks.
And Zappos.com continues to expand. The company plans to convert the former Las Vegas City Hall building into their headquarters in 2012, with hopes of revitalizing the surrounding downtown area.
Though he travels the world, Hsieh still looks back on the Square fondly, particularly the grub: when asked in an email about his favorite Harvard memory, Hsieh writes, “The steak and cheese with everything from Pinocchio’s .... I still stop by there every time I’m in the Boston area.”