Tony Hsieh dead: Why $800M worth former Zappos CEO lived in a Vegas trailer paying less than $1K a month?

MEA WorldWide
MEA WorldWide

Las Vegas entrepreneur Tony Hsieh, who recently retired as the CEO of the online shoe and clothing company Zappos, has died at the age of 46. Reports stated that the tech boss died because of house fire injuries that he sustained while visiting family in Connecticut, his firm Downtown Partnership Las Vegas (DTP) said.

As soon as the news of his death broke, tributes poured in from across the world. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak tweeted, "Tony Hsieh played a pivotal role in helping transform Downtown Las Vegas. Kathy and I send our love and condolences to Tony’s family and friends during this difficult time.” Skateboarder and entrepreneur Tony Hawk wrote: “Tony Hsieh was a visionary. He was generous with his time and willing to share his invaluable expertise with anyone.”

Zappos, which he sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009 and stepped down as its CEO last year, also released a statement as reported by The Sun that read, “The world has lost a tremendous visionary and an incredible human being. We recognize that not only have we lost our inspiring former leader, but many of you have also lost a mentor and a friend. Tony played such an integral part in helping create the thriving Zappos business we have today, along with his passion for helping to support and drive our company culture. Tony’s kindness and generosity touched the lives of everyone around him, as his mantra was of 'Delivering Happiness' to others. His spirit will forever be a part of Zappos."

Living in a '240-square-foot Airstream trailer' in Las Vegas

Hsieh’s living style was completely different from other CEOs, who prefer to live king-size with luxury sports cars, private jets, and million-dollar homes. His home was a Las Vegas Airstream trailer park, where he enjoyed spending his time with Marley, the community pet alpaca. With a net worth of around $800 million, Hsieh could easily afford a lavish place to stay, but he found comfort inside a 240-square-foot trailer home in downtown Las Vegas where he used to pay $950 monthly as rent.

He once told ABC News, “I've probably lived in ten places in my entire life; this is definitely my favorite so far. I love it at night here. There's campfires going. All these lights ... sometimes musicians playing music, just jamming together, people cooking. I really like the unpredictability and randomness of it.”

Reports stated that Hsieh actually bought the land to build Airstream Hotel there but later abandoned the plan to keep it as Airstream Park, realizing that the community was more important. Hsieh’s representative once said, “It really is an exciting concept, which is exactly what he wanted. With the revitalization of Downtown Las Vegas, Tony wanted to create a simple unique experience in the middle of the city that really had the family feeling that downtown. It’s like its own little community within the trailer park where everyone does what they can to make it a great place. They have washing machines, some animals, a kitchen, and even a giant movie screen. Every night is like a giant family gathering that brings out the best in everyone.”

Hsieh liked to keep things normal and minimal. His trailer, which was placed along with multiple Airstream trailers and 10 Tumbleweed houses, had only basic amenities, like a refrigerator, stove, and shower. He had said, “I care a lot more about experiences than stuff.” When at a point, Hsieh was asked to reveal the secret of happiness, he replied: “Never being bored.”

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