Most people are probably familiar with Tony Hsieh's story. In 1996 he started a company called LinkExchange and sold it to Microsoft in 1998 for $265 million. What most people don't know is the real reason why he sold the company:
It was because the company culture just went completely downhill. When it was starting out, when it was just 5 or 10 of us, it was like your typical dot-com. We were all really excited, working around the clock, sleeping under our desks, had no idea what day of the week it was. But we didn’t know any better and didn’t pay attention to company culture.
By the time we got to 100 people, even though we hired people with the right skill sets and experiences, I just dreaded getting out of bed in the morning and was hitting that snooze button over and over again.
Today, Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos.com, and his experiences at LinkExchange convinced him that the No. 1 priority at Zappos should be work place culture. Central to this process was the establishment of 10 core values.