Internet shopping just lost one of its most influential figures. TechCrunch has confirmed that Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of online shoe giant Zappos, died on November 27th at the age of 46 from injuries sustained in a house fire. He’s best known for helping to bring online apparel shopping into the mainstream, although he’s also known for championing tech in Las Vegas and escaping the industry’s focus on Silicon Valley.
Hsieh was first involved with Zappos in 1999, when he helped invest in the company under its original ShoeSite name. He became CEO in 2001 quickly grew Zappos into a behemoth, helped in part by his emphases on customer service and “flat” management structure. Amazon bought Zappos in 2009 for a whopping $1.2 billion, a huge amount at the time and a reflection of how important internet shopping had become. Hsieh kept running his company until 2020, when he resigned without explaining why.