Tribute to Tony Hsieh and the Mark He Left on Our Agencies

by | December 14, 2020

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In this episode of the Age of Indiependence podcast, host Katlyn Eggar interviews Jeff Shi, the Chief Visionary Officer at Quantum Assurance International, and Zack Gould, the Managing director at G&N Insurance. They pay tribute to the CEO and founder of Zappos, Tony Hseih, and share how Tony made an impact on them and left a legacy.

Episode Highlights:

  • Katlyn introduces Jeff Shi and Zack Gould. (1:43)
  • Zack shares that he started G&N from scratch with Matt in 2010, and they both spent a couple of years at Liberty Mutual. (2:37)
  • Zack mentions that they ran the company for 10 years and recently exited the company and sold it to another insurance agency, but currently run the agency. (2:47)
  • Jeff mentions that he’s a huge fan of Tony Hsieh’s books and a lot of agents from his captive career came to him because he has built a different model of scaling. (3:43)
  • Jeff shares that Tony makes other people’s dreams come true and has done it twice. (5:01)
  • Zack thinks that a lot of entrepreneurs who started had an immense amount of pressure that they have a lot to figure out early. (6:42)
  • Zack mentions one of the big takeaways that he took from Tony’s early story when they were first building Zappos, is to never outsource your core competency. (7:13)
  • Jeff thinks that the biggest challenge of being a CEO and leadership role is the cash flow and cash reserve, people, and lead sales and marketing. (10:13)
  • Jeff mentions that Tony does an amazing job when he does interviews to make sure that whoever is interviewing, fits their culture. (11:32)
  • Zack mentions that customer service is the backbone of the company, and he wished that he did that. (18:11)
  • Jeff suggests that visiting the Zappos office is a must and worth the visit. (33:03)
  • Zack shares that when they sold their company to the current parent company, they didn’t agree with their core values and made the decision not to carry their core values over to their company. (43:21)
  • Zack mentions that Tony believed in people colliding with other people, and the conversations that they would have and what would come from those conversations. (44:49)
  • Zack shares that as insurance agents, if we can focus our energy on customers and not focus our energy on our competitors, it would be a much more beautiful place to work. (53:35)

Key Quotes:

  • “You set up a beer or coffee just to say, let’s just break bread. Let’s chat and what have you. Tony did that so regularly. And that’s such a great message for entrepreneurs to put the jacket and suit down. And just to grab a coffee and grab a beer and meet eye to eye with your team.” – Zack Gould
  • “I love the whole core value thing. This is what we build. This is what we’re proud of and let us continue to build the thing that we are proud about to build that legacy.” – Jeff Shi
  • “I want to be known as a guy who cared. I tell people on their first day, you can ask anybody at G&N and I say the same thing 10 years from now. I do not care if you’re working at G&N. I hope you are, but that’s your decision and that’s our decision. Together, you do not have a lifetime contract here. What I do hope is 10 years from now, if I see you, we can grab a beer because we’re on those kinds of terms.” – Zack Gould
  • “One of the legacies I want to leave behind is to show people the school doesn’t define you, your job doesn’t define you, college doesn’t define you. Being a good person, leaving a memory for other people, and being loved by everyone will define you, and happiness defines you.” – Jeff Shi

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