Tony Hsieh was one of my startup heroes, and I was saddened to hear that he tragically passed away after suffering injuries in a house fire.
46 years is no age. Tony was involved in a lot of different things, and there were plenty of mind blowing new approaches to business and entrepreneurship to be had for us all from him. But alas, it was not to be.
When a tragedy such as this occurs, and you think being the immediate pain of the loss for those he leaves behind, you have a choice;
Uou can mourn the future that has been lost, or you can celebrate what he managed to achieve in a remarkable career.
Tony was one of the first to truly pioneer the idea of being customer centric. After helping found Zappos he was instrumental in building the company around happy customers to an extend that he was perfectly happy to offer employees money to leave the company, if – in a clever ploy – they were more motivated by that check than by working to keep customers happy.
Tony was an original an independent thinker. He wasn’t a slave to dogma, he questioned every assumption and dug out his own data to base decisions on and he was a level above and beyond most in terms of applying creativity to business and venturing into places and doing things in new ways that few others would have thought.
Tonys tragic passing should aside from mourning the loss be a celebration of the original thinkers. Of those who dare to challenge the status quo, not submit to ideology and never just go with the flow.
It is a super tough spot to be in and the setbacks are legio. But the world needs people like Tony in order to move forward in a sustainable way that brings prosperity and happiness to as many people as possible.