“He will die,” Jewel said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, renowned folk singer will not be able to meet his friend Tony Hsieh (Internet innovator and CEO of Zappos.com, who aims to transform America in the spirit of joy) for months. was. The scene in his gorgeous Park City, Utah, scared her.
The floor of the house was covered with an empty canister of nitrous oxide. This was her spirit-changing gas that 46-year-old Hsieh Su-wei constantly huffed. His weakened frame quivered with excitement when he argued over plans to launch a new country and settle world peace.
The sink and shower faucets ran day and night to evoke the sound of the waterfall. The dog droppings lay where she left behind, her precious terrier, Brizzy. They were “parts of nature,” said a tech guru.
Hsieh Su-wei was fascinated by the fire, burning hundreds of candles all over the house, and the ring of fire in the bedroom was set on an open flame. Dozens of pay hangers who lived with him in what he called a “ranch” seemed unaware of them. Strange environment.
Jewel, who has been running a mental health nonprofit for years since the heyday of pop in the 1990s, learned that Xie needed help, but he was in an unstable state of mind. Shake off her attempt to discuss about.
“If he kills himself and everyone else there in a big fire, you can’t say you weren’t warned,” she said when she left.
Three months later, Hsieh Su-wei was suffocated by a lit fire in a locked hut. She is a victim of the coronavirus and is not an official victim of a pandemic.
“He was absolutely a direct victim of COVID. When the world was closed in March 2020, it robbed him of being around the people who were the purpose of his life.”
In “Happy at AnyCost” (Simon & Schuster), released Tuesday, Wall Street Journal colleague Grind and co-author Catherine Sayre destined him for a hidden mental illness. A world that tells a devastating story.
Xie, the son of a Taiwanese immigrant who raised him in Marin County, California, was the founder of Zappos. Online shoe sales companies valued the happiness of their employees, supported by a luxurious party and a love for “strangeness”, and Hsieh sought the possibility. Employee: “How strange are you on a scale of 1 to 10?”
“Our top priority as a company is corporate culture,” he said in 2010. He believed that the joy of the workplace first created business success and then healed the world’s illnesses.
The first part seemed to actually work. Happy Zappos workers sold millions of shoes, and Hsieh earned an estimated $ 840 million when he sold the company to Amazon in 2009. He continued to be CEO of Zappos.
Hsieh Su-wei’s philosophy was supported by rave culture and the annual Burning Man Festival. Thousands of technicians and artists gathered at the festival for a week of wild self-expression. He enjoyed the power of emotional charging he called the “hive switch.” He felt as part of a large crowd.
“When you experience it, it’s pure awe,” Hsieh said in 2014.
He spent $ 350 million to buy the devastated part of Las Vegas and turn it into a permanent Burning Man community. His eccentric life there was talked about by a loyal creative crew, constant visitors, and a pet alpaca named Marley.
But under the hearty façade of the party, Xie suffers from untreated mental health problems, including social anxiety, depression, and what he believed to be a type of autism spectrum disorder. I was there.
“He was such a contradiction. With this intense social unrest, he would think he would avoid the collective situation, but instead Tony drew joy from them.
“He was using the energy of others like a drug.”
Hsieh Su-wei never sought a professional treatment, but initially self-treated with alcohol. Because her subordinates are invited to do the same.
“I have to drink. That’s the only way I can live now. It’s the only way I can get out of my head,” Hsieh once told her girlfriend.
By early 2020, his heavy use of the hallucinogen ketamine was worrisome to his close friends. She became delusional when she talked about the power of ketamine to save humanity from world-dominant “Matrix” -like simulations with the strength of manic.
In February, Xie agreed to a short stay in Park City’s rehab. There he owned a small vacation home that he used at the Sundance Film Festival each year.
“He was acting erratically and was the CEO of Zappos. He had to be very convinced that his behavior could have a negative impact on the company, but he needed rehab. I didn’t think it was. “
Two weeks later, he appeared drug-free and was eager to embark on a plan to build a network of getaway rentals in Park City. He temporarily settled there and bought a house.
Then a pandemic occurred. The blockade and stay-at-home order destroyed the communal life of his urban trailer park.
Hsieh Su-wei oversaw the smooth transition of Las Vegas-based employees to remote work and directed Zappos’ COVID response from Utah.
But within a few weeks, “everything fell apart,” she added. “Just gather people here.”
Hsieh Su-wei paid about $ 16 million to buy a mountainous area that could form a utopian COVID-free community with growing aides. The 9-bedroom, 13-bath main building was located on 18 acres of land with a private lakeside beach. A million dollar temptation for owners to move quickly.
Immediately, Hsieh Su-wei offered to double the salary of those who agreed to join Park Citigroup. The deal attracted a large number of busy people by coming up with a headache business scheme, such as firing a hot air balloon from the backyard of a ranch. Xie, who was generously funded, added.
“There was no incentive for these people to help him get well,” Grind said.
And small groups couldn’t meet Hseih’s need to interact with dozens of people every day. Soon he replaced the nitrous oxide hit. It is also known as whipped cream and was used by dentists as an anesthetic and by chefs to make whipped cream. He was once the height he got from contact with humans. When Jewel met him in August, he was inhaling 50 canisters a day.
By that time, Amazon had quietly lost patience with the whimsical superstar. Grind and Sayers said in a June call with Amazon executive Jeff Wilke, who oversaw Zappos, that Hsieh’s inconsistency warned the parent company.
“Wilck didn’t put him on a formal vacation. He basically said he would come back together and understand it, and Tony just didn’t come back,” Grind said. ..
At the end of August, the Las Vegas Review-Journal published a short article entitled “Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Downtown Las Vegas Champion, Retirement.” The party-loving founder didn’t get a goodbye bash or official. Announcement of departure from the company he created.
“Amazon didn’t kick him out exactly, but they forced his hand,” Grind said.
That fall, Hsieh Su-wei embarked on an enthusiastic journey from Utah to Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Connecticut. There they stayed at the waterside house of her ex-girlfriend Rachel Brown, who lived on the ranch.
As the group was preparing for the next trip to Hawaii, Xie had to defeat the elderly dog, Blizzie, Hemianopsia, and the sick dog. The animal was buried in Brown’s backyard.
“Tony was disappointed. He believed he had lost his true partner,” Grind and Sayre wrote.
Three days after Brizzy’s death, Hsieh Su-wei was trapped in a small storage shed filled with pool equipment and folding chairs, just off the dog’s grave. He lit a candle and started a propane space heater while beating nitric oxide. She checked him every few minutes and brought pizza, water and other whippets.
Brown’s backyard security system recorded the last moment Xie saw the outside world at 3:15 am. When I opened the door, the smoke curled up and closed with a smoldering flame.
Fifteen minutes later, when the New London Fire Department broke through the door, he was unconscious but did not get badly burned. However, the smoke he inhaled caused catastrophic brain damage.
Hsieh Su-wei did not wake up and died on November 27 at a nearby hospital. The cause of her death was determined to be an accident.
A few days later, Jewel Posted touch Tribute She once remembered the conversation they had about the meaning of success.
“His answer was that he was willing to lose everything. That’s what he really needs. You have to put your heart into what you believe.”
She stared at the camera and sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
“May Tony be beyond the rainbow with Bluebird,” she said.