We learned of Tony Hsieh’s untimely death this month. He was the CEO of Zappos, which had incredible customer service and grew to hundreds of employees.
I first learned about Tony when he shared his method for working with email in a blog post. He would allow himself to read emails whenever they came in (thus interrupting whatever he was doing) but would flag the ones he needed to respond to (assuming they were not urgent). The ones he would work on though, were all the ones he flagged from yesterday. This technique he dubbed Yesterbox, and I still use it today for its flexibility. We mentioned it back in March in our blog post on Tips On Working From Home.
A lot of people follow the practice of setting aside time (sometimes even creating appointments on their calendars), snoozing various alarms, and turning off their phones.
And that’s fine. It’s just that with his technique, people who don’t have the luxury of allowing emails to languish in their inboxes (executives or especially CEOs like Tony) can read and/or respond immediately. Yet at the same time, deferring important but not urgent emails until some effort could be mustered (either by the recipient(s) or delegated). It’s a beautiful system.
We respected the man and his methods, and it was proof of his sharing mentality. He will be missed.