The Entrepreneurs of the Decade: 2000 to 2009

Jake Chessum
9 of 17

Tony Hsieh of Zappos

In July, Hsieh sold Zappos, his online shoe retail company, for $1 billion--at a time when his annual operating income was just north of $20 million and business valuations were generally terrible. But the size of the multiple is almost beside the point. The culture of Zappos has become something of a religion for entrepreneurs. They eagerly study Hsieh's philosophy of customer service. They copy his techniques for interviewing and hiring employees. They brag about exchanging e-mails and tweets with him, and they trade stories about the time they were in Vegas and went on the Zappos tour. As the decade draws to a close, there is no single entrepreneur who is a faster-rising star than Tony Hseih.