student

Good Essays
Final
Exam
Case for
2215

December 5

2013

The following case will be used for the 2215 Final Exam. The chapters that will be referenced in the exam from the ORGB textbook are: 12Leadership; 15-Org Structure and Design; 16- Culture and 17- Managing
Change. There will be 5 questions worth 6 marks each.

Heidi Weigand
Chapters
12,15,16 & 17

ZAPPOS.COM: ARE CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY THE SUPER HIGHWAY TO
THE FUTURE?
Zappos.com isn’t the first business venture pursued by entrepreneur Tony Hsieh. He cofounded
LinkExchange shortly after graduating from Harvard with a computer science degree.
LinkExchange “allowed amateur Web publishers to barter for advertising by agreeing to publish
1
one another’s ads.” LinkExchange proved to be a successful business venture, but Hsieh became
2
depressed because the work was no longer fun. “When it was just five or ten people, it was a lot of fun. We were working around the clock, no idea what day of the week it was, sleeping under our desks,” says Hsieh.  [Continuing, he explains,] “[w]e hired all the right people in terms of
3
skill sets, but by the time it was 100 or so, I dreaded going to the office.”
Hsieh increasingly felt “that the people he had hired were not committed to the venture’s longterm growth.  Work, which once had felt liberating, had become a chore. He resolved that his next company would not be about a short-term payday. It would be about long-term growth,
4
about creating a place to which he and his employees would want to come every day.”
5

At the age of twenty-four, Hsieh sold LinkExchange to Microsoft for $265 million. He used the money to help fund his second company, which was cofounded in 1999 with Alfred Lin, a
Harvard classmate. Called Venture Frogs, the business was a venture capital firm investing in start-up businesses. “A few of Venture Frogs’ investments succeeded—notably the search engine
Ask.com and the restaurant reservation system OpenTable—but as the

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