Since 2012, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has been working to transform Downtown Las Vegas by investing $350 million of his own money and funding 300 new businesses ranging from clothing factories to bars and restaurants.
So far, he tells Inc., his favorite part of the Downtown Project, the official name of his urban renewal effort, has been getting to meet and connect with all of the entrepreneurs who have followed him to Las Vegas.
And Hsieh's love for entrepreneurs is not about having other business people around.
Hsieh, who started a worm-farming business when he was nine, says he likes being around other entrepreneurs for different reasons.
"I guess I've always been pretty entrepreneurially-minded and really liked being around people that have that entrepreneurial spirit," he tells Inc. "And it's not even specifically about being business-focused. It's really just about having that right combination of creativity, and optimism, and street smarts. I like being around people who will do whatever it takes to help make something happen."
Perhaps that's why Hsieh looks for entrepreneurial spirit in his own employees at Zappos, the Amazon-owned shoe retailer he has led as CEO since 2000.
Since the end of last year, the company has been making the transition to Holacracy, a new management structure that gives employees more flexibility to take on new projects and work with less oversight from managers.
Without anyone holding their hands along the way, Zappos employees have to come up with their own solutions and "make something happen" — just like entrepreneurs do.
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