Zappos.com: $1 Billion in Sales

This week The Economist magazine has an interesting article on Zappos.com, the online shoe store that is branching out into other products. Computer Science graduate Tony Hsieh started the company in 1999 and last year it rang up sales of $1 billion. Zappos is distinctly different from many online stores in that it is decidedly not so automatic (as opposed to the Amazon model). Hsieh once described Zappos as a “A service company that just happens to sell shoes.” Job interviewees are asked who their favorite superhero is. New employees are given an option to quit for $2,000. All this to weed out those who are not committed to the wow-service culture of Zappos.

Again, this is an example about finding the edge and the niche. While most internet wags harp about the greatness of automation and working as least as possible (Rich Dog Millionaire is guilty as charged here), other guys are going out and making a billion dollars by essentially doing the opposite. Hsieh is building a brand that he can expand into other areas, not unlike Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

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