The Three C’s That Define Creating a Successful Environment by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
| Published on 03/18/2016

We wanted to help create a place where you have everything you need to live, work and play within walking distance. We wanted to help make downtown Las Vegas the most community ­focused large city in the world which is probably the place most people would least expect it. We also wanted to make it the co-­working capital of the world. Co­-working is well ­known in the tech world, but also the culinary and fashion worlds, and you could imagine designing a co-working space around anything you can have a community around. We learned the word community means something very different when you’re talking about a physical neighborhood, a brick and mortar environment, whereas the tech and online world where I come from. So we came up with our own three “C”s:

1) Collisions This means that when people are walking around town, they have a serendipitous encounter with someone.


2) Co-learning The meaning that we want the community help teach itself. One small business might be really good at marketing and another might be good at bookkeeping. They can both help each other.


3) Connectedness This means the number of relationships and combining that with density and diversity.



“We’re really focused on maximizing the long­ term ROC (return on community)”
- Tony Hsieh


The reason these last two are important is because research has shown most innovation actually comes from something outside of your industry, applied to your own. We want people from different entrepreneurial and creative backgrounds from completely different industries colliding with each other and facilitating that idea of flow. Our big bet is that by focusing on these three “C’s”, collisions, co­learning, and connectedness, not only will that lead to a happier and luckier community, but actually that innovation and productivity increases.


What makes us different from most other real estate developers that have short­ or medium ­term ROI or cash flow needs is that we’re really focused on maximizing the long­ term ROC (return on community) and institutionalizing the ROL, a term from Jim Collins’ book (return on luck). That is about accelerating serendipity.

Elizabeth Flournoy

Elizabeth Flournoy is a Boulder-based jack of all trades with a specific emphasis in business & event management, photography, and graphic design. She has combined her passion for outdoors with her work through managing fleets of boats in the Caribbean, in addition to writing and photographing her adventures in marine biology and sea turtle conservation. Back in the mountains now, she currently is the Project Director for RiseUP The Movie. Her spare time is spent living life in the most outrageous adventures possible from rock climbing to snowboarding, scuba diving, horseback riding, mountain biking, and everything in between.
Want to add a comment?