My first meeting and interview with Tony Hsieh

Michael Normart
10 min readMar 26, 2021

My Journey in the Footwear Industry that lead me to Zappos #179

Blog #178 I talked about the proverbial straw and a meltdown. In this blog I want to talk about My first meeting and interview with Tony Hsieh.

When I first published this story I was still in my blogging about my Nordstrom days and we received the unfortunate news Tony Hsieh had passed away. In honor of him I put this story out early on Medium & Facebook. I’m going to re-post this now to my website to fall in line with the current blog events of my journey.

This story is when I took my Zappos “Leap of Faith” and changed my life in such a positive way. I am heartbroken on Tony leaving us so soon, The world lost an amazing person. Here is my story on when I met Tony for the first time. Here’s to Tony…

My Job at Target was becoming a nightmare. So much so it was affecting my home life too. I wasn’t a very happy person at the time. In fact I was miserable. I had talked to Diane about leaving Target but she felt I was on the verge of being promoted to a Store Manager position.The STL that I was working for though was the worst example of a leader. He ruled by fear, not by motivation. It was getting old fast.

Fact was, I was ready to leave without a job lined up, that’s how miserable I was. I had talked to Fred a few times about Zappos and each time Diane and I were a little nervous about working for a “startup”, since we had two kids and a house mortgage. On a whim I decided to call Aaron to get an update on what was going on at Zappos.

You should come talk to Tony, I can arrange an interview if you like. Someone just left and we are looking for a good “Women’s footwear guy”. It was one of those conversations where you stopped in your tracks and the adrenaline started flowing in your veins. It felt good. It felt right. But I needed more info.


Aaron set up the interview for the next day. Didn’t have much time to prepare but I was ready for anything. Prior to this Fred and I were talking about an offer and what they could do to make me feel more comfortable to take the leap. Fred bent over backwards to accommodate my needs which I appreciated. He also kept saying each time, “You should talk to Tony”.