Update: I originally wrote this post right after reading about Tony’s passing. As the details of his death were revealed, it was unfortunate to hear of the circumstances. I guess in the end, he was another iconic figure who brought joy and inspiration to others, yet fought his own demons within. Just another reminder that we don’t all have it figured out, even if it may appear so on the outside. Even more important during a pandemic, remember to check up on your friends and loved ones.
Life is short.
2020 has been filled with notable celebrity passings, which feels more than any other prior year.
The one that stunned me this week was Tony Hsieh - founder of Zappos and author of Delivering Happiness.
I never had the chance to meet Tony. I only came across him in discovering Delivering Happiness when I was fascinated with business and productivity books just as I was starting my career. Since then, I’ve followed his journey on and off for the past decade.
Only this past August I read that he stepped down from Zappos. I thought to myself what a great run. I was excited to see what was in store for him next. In a somewhat similar manner to the late Kobe Bryant, I thought his next chapter would’ve been an exciting one after investing so many years into Zappos.
I’m not sure what drew me to Tony. Whether it was him being a successful Asian-American founder, or the unique way he approached and embraced weirdness in his business. It left an impact on how I approached design, business and product.
I usually don’t write about passings publicly. We each deal with death differently. But Tony’s passing hit home a bit more than the others. Maybe it’s 2020 taking a toll on me. Maybe it’s another reminder that life is short. A reminder our time here is limited. Don’t waste it doing things you don’t find happiness in.
I want to end this post by sharing a thread by Sahil Bloom, who eloquently outlines Tony’s career and the legacy he leaves behind:
Also, there’s a great interview of Tony by Google Ventures if you’re interested in learning more about his story: