Zappos, that place that sold you those shoes that one time? They've got this crazy idea that keeping their employees and customers happy is more important than profits -- they pay100-percent of their worker's premiums and encourage calls to customer support. Which is why CEO Tony Hsieh (pictured right) decided to sell his company to Amazon, or so he says in an article for Inc. magazine.
Some board members had always viewed our company culture as a pet project -- "Tony's social experiments," they called it. I disagreed. I believe that getting the culture right is the most important thing a company can do. But the board took the conventional view -- namely, that a business should focus on profitability first and then use the profits to do nice things for its employees. The board's attitude was that my "social experiments" might make for good PR but that they didn't move the overall business forward. The board wanted me, or whoever was CEO, to spend less time on worrying about employee happiness and more time selling shoes.
I left Seattle pretty sure that Amazon would be a better partner for Zappos than our current board of directors or any other outside investor. Our board wanted an immediate exit; we wanted to build an enduring company that would spread happiness. With Amazon, it seemed that Zappos could continue to build its culture, brand, and business. We would be free to be ourselves.