The Art of Doing

Inside the Mind of Tony Hsieh: An Innovative CEO’s Word Cloud

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Frequency is the currency of a word cloud. The more a word is repeated, the larger it appears in the cloud. (Scroll over the cloud for full effect.)

From this word cloud, based on our interview with Tony Hsieh, we can see what matters most to him. The words “PROFIT,” “MONEY” and “SHOES” are so small that you’d hardly guess that Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos the largest online shoe store in the world. But the super-sized words, “VALUES,” “CULTURE” and “PERSONAL,” offer us a clue into Hsieh’s thinking. His ultimate goal is not to sell shoes but to create a network of people who share common values and seek a higher purpose. In other words, for Hsieh, Zappos’s billion-dollar shoe business is a means to end. He could just as easily be helming an organic chicken farm or a biotech firm.

Hsieh told us,

“All great companies have a vision that encompasses a higher purpose beyond profits or being number one in the market. And the irony is that the higher purpose enables these companies to generate more profits than their peers.”