Tony Hsieh thinks big when it comes to the city where he lives and works. He is spending $350 million to rebuild downtown Las Vegas.
Tony showed me some of what he was doing when I was in Vegas this summer. His dreams are impressive and exciting. I love how he's investing in the place where he lives. We should all endeavor to do this.
From the article:
"Indeed, the motivation for Hsieh's big bet comes from his long-held philosophy that serendipitous interactions, or what he likes to call spontaneous "collisions" between people, are what spark ideas and what facilitate relationships that lead to stronger ties -- and stronger ties lead to more ideas. It's why he's poured such effort into building Zappos' into a place where "culture magicians" work their magic and where streamers, balloons and toy figurines seem to spill out of every cubicle.
But for all its zaniness, Zappos is still located in a sprawling suburban office park; the nearest bar where employees can collide after work is almost a half-mile away, next to a big highway. When it came time to think about a new home for the company, Hsieh decided the best way to create those interactions is to drop his employees in the middle of a vibrant downtown and let the surroundings facilitate the interaction. "When you're in a city, the bar or the restaurant becomes an extended conference room," he says. Since downtown Vegas didn't really have that yet, Hsieh says, "The idea went from 'let's build a campus' to 'let's build a city.'"
It's a stark rejection of the prevailing Silicon Valley approach: build a massive, all-encompassing office campus and fill it with perks so your employees won't leave. But Hsieh has never aligned himself much with the prevailing wisdom, and doesn't see himself as a tech CEO ("we don't see ourselves as a tech company; we're a customer service company," he is known to clarify).