Hsieh's philosophy is that empowered employees will result in contented customers. It seems to be working: Zappos is the largest online retailer of footwear, and for two years running, it has cracked the Top 25 on Fortune's "best companies to work for" list.
Among the company perks are free lunches, 100 percent paid health insurance premiums and concierge services. After Amazon purchased Zappos last year for more than $1.2 billion, employees received a retention bonus equal to 40 percent of their annual salary.
Hsieh's creativity is one reason Zappos was ranked No. 20 on Fast Company's 2009 list of "the world's most innovative companies."
At this Milken Institute Forum, Hsieh discussed "Delivering Happiness," his views on company culture and customer service, and the reason Zappos offers new employees $2,000 to quit after they have completed their initial training.
A Harvard graduate, Hsieh co-founded LinkExchange, an Internet advertising network that Microsoft purchased for $265 million in 1999. That same year he joined Henderson, Nev.-based Zappos as an adviser, then investor through Venture Frogs LLC (where he is still general manager), and eventually CEO.