By Denver Nicks
December 1, 2015
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, responds to questions from interviewer Dennis Berman at 2015 WSJD Live on October 20, 2015 in Laguna Beach, California.
FREDERIC J. BROWN—AFP/Getty Images

The Amazon-owned e-commerce shoe-seller Zappos has a reputation for top-notch customer service and an unusual boss-free work environment. Now CEO Tony Hsieh wants to use the Zappos brand to disrupt industries well beyond retail. He started by completely destroying Zappos’ organizational hierarchy.

About a year ago, Hsieh turned Zappos into what he calls a “holacracy,” eliminating all supervisor positions, so the company’s 1,500 employees now work with no managers. Instead, employees manage themselves as autonomous individuals within discrete decision-making groups. The goal, Hsieh told The Washington Post, is to make Zappos work more like a startup incubator than a traditional company so entrepreneurial employees can pursue great ideas without feeling stifled in the corporate bureaucracy.

“I would hope that in the future employees see Zappos as really a less risky way than just the pure entrepreneurial route to follow their passions,” Hsieh said.

Hsieh sees Zappos hallmark—stellar customer service—as a foundation from which to disrupt any number of industries, from airlines to hotels to port-potties.

“It’s not a great experience anywhere, but imagine if you went to a festival or something and you saw a Zappos porta-potty,” Hsieh told the Post. “I mean, we’ve talked about how it could be as simple as there’s a DJ out front so it’s a port-party while you’re waiting. Or it’s just a really amazing, clean experience.”

[The Washington Post]

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