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Tony's Dream: Delivering more than happiness

Reported by: Jim Snyder
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Updated: 5/01 8:49 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- This is Special Report on the man at the center of the reinvention of downtown Las Vegas. You hear a lot about Tony Hsieh but you don't hear much from Tony Hsieh.

He's not crazy about having cameras pointed at him. After months of behind the scenes talks, News 3 was granted unprecedented access to Hsieh and his new Zappos headquarters to try to answer the question: What makes Tony Tick?

This is Part one of our series Tony's Dream: Delivering more than happiness.

Hsieh is the most unassuming rich and powerful guy you'll ever meet, bordering on shy, with a soft voice. When he speaks the words he chooses very carefully.

And doing TV interviews is not exactly his favorite thing.
The new Zappos office building can do some of the talking for him.

If you look closely enough it will tell you a lot about what make's Tony Tick.

The old city hall may look pretty much the same on the outside but inside the place has been re-imagined.

The central theme of Hsieh's business philosophy, and life philosophy for that matter, is that good things happen when people get together when they interact and share ideas.

So the goal is to increase the odds for chance meetings with what Hseih calls 'collisions.'

Everyone walks in through the main plaza just off Las Vegas Boulevard.

The building has an open space for people to hang out and -- as a few company-supplied playground balls would suggest, to have some fun.

If anyone had been in the old city hall it would be tough to recognize the interior spaces any more.
That whole "tear down that wall" thing you took that to the enth degree.

"Yeah, yeah we got rid of as many walls as we could and we also focused a lot on office density," Hsieh said.

That means packing workers in tight. The average office in the United States offers about 300 square feet of space per worker. Here it's less than a third of that.

No walled off cubicles here. Even the desks where Hsieh and the other big bosses sit are wide open for all to see. They call this 'monkey row' and is decorated in vines, stuffed monkeys fill the chairs when the execs don't.

He doesn't just want to blur the line between bosses and worker bees. He wants to erase it.

Zappos is in the process of rolling out a ground-breaking concept in business management. Something they call 'whole-acracy'

“It essentially is a way for the entire organization basically to self-organize over time,” Hsieh said. “Instead of being top down, and hierarchal command and control -- and so it allows companies to be a lot more flexible and adaptive and be able to respond to things.”



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