Tony Hsieh

18 February 2013 – We saw Tony Hsieh at Verge, which headed the amazing Green Build week in San Francisco last November.

This related but not connected conference, a spin off of the Greenbiz group, focuses on the nexus between buildings, technology, energy and transport.

As one of its star attractions Hsieh took to the stage with the seemingly non-sequitur of smart, start-up connected serendipity and a building in Las Vegas, the old City Hall, that he repurposing as headquarters for his online shoe retailing business, Zappos.

In wonderful one-liners that get the heart pumping, Hsieh talks about “collisions” between people that stimulate fresh ideas and about the “real estate” value of an office. For instance, an enclosed office is the equivalent of living in suburbia, he told Atlantic Cities in a must-read article this week.

Hsieh says that density in offices has the same impact as density in cities – it’s creative.

Hsieh cites research that says that every time the size of a city doubles, productivity or innovation per resident increases by 15 per cent, but that when companies get bigger, productivity per employee generally goes down.

And that most innovation happens as a result of an idea from one industry being applied to another.

“And so he is equally invested in having his Zappos employees bump into the owner of a jazz bar down the street as he is in having them bump into each other in the hallway.”

Hsieh thinks of downtown Vegas as a “collision bowl,” and he talks about collisionable hours as a way to measure real estate. Something that drives the agents crazy.

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