Reading about someone in books/magazines is one thing, and meeting that person face-to-face is another. In my encounter with Tony Hsieh, the inspiring visionary who is rebuilding Las Vegas through the Downtown Project, I started thinking about my own world view and 100 days of rejections.
Not wanting to let a rejection opportunity slip by, I asked Tony if I could have a free ride on Zappo’s corporate jet. Here is how it went down:
It wasn’t Zappos’ jet after all. In fact, JetSuite is a company Tony invested in, and Zappos employees get to use the jet for free. I am very excited he said ‘yes’, and I will take him up on the offer someday.
Another thing that amazed me was how down-to-earth Tony Hsieh was in person. Part of me already expected it through reading his his book – Delivering Happiness, but another part expected this Donald Trump/NBA superstar MTV crib celebrity type. He was definitely not that. He acted like a friend at a party, and all his focus was on making Zappos and downtown Las Vegas a better place.
Learning: I don’t believe money and power change a person, for good or for bad. However, it does magnify who the person already is. When you have the financial means to do whatever you want, you can either throw it all away, or invest in your company and community.