Tony Hsieh was already a millionaire when he founded Zappos in 1999 — he had sold the online advertising company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265 million in 1998 — but he wasn’t intent on retiring.
Nor was the going to follow the tried-and-true rules of running a business, even after Amazon bought Zappos for $1.2 billion. Hsieh is all about taking risks to make his employees happier.
In 2013, Hsieh adopted a company-wide policy of “holacracy,” a management structure which strips titles and hierarchy from the workplace. With no managers and no bosses, results first seemed to be mixed: 18 percent of Zappos’ workforce took buyouts rather than remain within the company’s new structure.
There’s another way of looking at it though: 82 percent of employees decided to stay in a company with a whole new management structure and forgo a buyout offer — reported to be a few months’ pay.
Hsieh also created a management tactic called “Pay to Quit,” where new employees are offered a bonus to quit if they don’t like working at Zappos. Jeff Bezos has since adopted that technique at Amazon.