Under Hsieh’s leadership, Zappos followed a unique business strategy that produced success. He moved the company to a corporate headquarters in downtown Las Vegas, feeling the city’s fun, 24/7 culture would suit the way he wanted the company to operate. Call center employees were encouraged to stay on the phone or live chat with customers as long as the customer wanted to talk, and to discuss any topic the customer chose to bring up.
Zappos’ headquarters had an open layout designed to promote “serendipitous collisions” of people in different departments who ordinarily would not interact, including Hsieh, who did not have a private office. In 2013, the company adopted a decentralized “holacracy” management model that gave every employee decision-making power, and Zappos offers free shipping on every order and a 365-day free return policy.
In 2009, Amazon acquired Zappos for close to $930 million in Amazon shares, cash and restricted stock. Hsieh was allowed to stay on as CEO and the company continued functioning as an independent entity within Amazon. He wrote a best-selling book, “Delivering Happiness,” in 2010, describing his customer service philosophy.