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Zappos.com -- Hsieh's answer to Sand Hill Slave

Tony Hsieh.jpg
Tony Hsieh (CNN)
Are you buying shoes at Zappos.com yet? -- If not, this guy Tony Hsieh plans to get you there. You have got to admire his style. Every six months or so, he sends out an update on his projected sales goal, and he keeps blowing out his numbers, even though they are ambitious. Zappos started in Hsieh's quirky SF base that served as a restaurant and hq for his former firm Venture Frogs, but Hsieh has since moved Zappos to Las Vegas. Here is his latest update which, as usual, lists the past performance and coming goal:

1999: Almost nothing
2000: $ 1.6 mm
2001: $ 8.6 mm
2002: $ 32 mm
2003: $ 70 mm
2004: $184 mm
2005: $370 mm
2006: $600 mm (goal)

Sequoia's investment beginning to look smart.

So the other day, we stumbled across the new blog called Sand Hill Slave. It is written by someone who claims to be an...

executive assistant at a firm on Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley's center for venture capital.

The blog writes up something about the worst firms, and mentions Venture Frogs, a firm started by Hsieh years ago, as an example. We think it was referenced for the silly name only, because the firm was never really that big, didn't stick around for very long, and there is no evidence that it really did do so poorly (or at least that we have seen). But it sure looks like Hsieh is redeeming himself, if ever there was question about Venture Frogs. The Venture Frogs site is down, but here is a cache.

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Running an online retail business requires strong execution on a number of fronts (marketing, technology, analytics, etc) and far too few firms get an 'A' grade, but IMO Zappos is one of them. You can fault them for the name of their VC Firm (unless you're French in which case you'll like it) but public firms like BlueNile, RedEnvelope and others would do well to emulate Zappos' day-to-day execution.

Chris Zaharias on February 10, 2006 3:21 PM
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I tried to hit the Venture Frogs restaurant last week. Turns out it's been gone two years, but the sign (and some presence in online maps) is still there. Felt like stumbling onto a dead .com site.

Nick Douglas on February 10, 2006 3:49 PM
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