Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

26 Mar

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately, and just bought Gretchin Rubin’s book “The Happiness Project” to help inspire my own ongoing and sometimes elusive search for happiness. I found out about the book from the many inspirational tweets of Tony Hsieh, founder of the first startup I joined back in the early days of the wild wild Web called LinkExchange (acquired by Microsoft in 1998).

Tony is now CEO of Zappos, where several former LinkExchangers now work alongside him, building what is probably the world’s happiest company (gauged by both employee happiness and customer happiness).  Says Hsieh, “…if you really just think about how to make customers happy, how to make employees happy, that ends up being good for business.”  That mantra has proved very profitable for Zappos which, despite a tough economic year, finished 2009 with nearly 1.2 billion in gross sales.

I’m looking forward to reading Tony Hsieh’s upcoming book “Delivering Happiness“, due for release June 7th, which chronicles his personal journey to finding happiness in business and in life. You can pre-order the book now on Amazon.com, which acquired Zappos last year for nearly a billion dollars ($928m to be more precise). As Tony describes in his latest CEO blog post to Zappos employees,

“The goal of the book is to inspire other companies to think about how to they can use happiness as a guiding principle to make customers happier (by focusing more on customer service) and employees happier (by focusing more on company culture), which ultimately can lead to sustainable profits and long-term financial performance.”

I’m hoping it inspires employees, CEOs and entrepreneurs to pursue their passions and purpose without sacrificing happiness in the process, as all too many startup people I know who’ve been burned from chasing the money or the get-rich-quick dreams of Web fame and fortune.

Kudos to Tony, Alfred and the entire Zappos team for pursuing passion and purpose, and letting the profits flow from delivering happiness to others. Definitely an inspiring movement!

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