We're always reminding families that many benefits of a college
experience can't be predicted. You can't read about them in a college
guidebook or measure them with college rankings. But you can find them
at any college. Here's a good example.
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is a Harvard grad. He's interviewed in
the "Alumni Q & A" section of Harvard's website, and I thought this
What did Harvard bring out in you that you
might not have had when you arrived on day one?
"For me, most of
what I got out of Harvard was outside the classroom, including people
that I met and running the pizza business."
But that's only part
of the story.
During his junior year, Tony started that pizza
business on the ground floor of his dorm. Here's the story, as Tony
described it in his new book.
It was through the pizza business that I met Alfred. Alfred was our
number one customer, and he stopped by every night to order a large
pepperoni pizza from me.
We had two nicknames for
Alfred while in college: "Human Trash Compactor" and "Monster." He
earned these nicknames because every time a group of us would go out to a
restaurant (usually it was a group of ten of us at a late-night greasy
Chinese place called The Kong), he would literally finish everyone's
leftovers from their plates. I was just thankful that I wasn't one of
the roommates he shared his bathroom with.
to me, it really wasn't that weird that Alfred would stop by every
night to order an entire pepperoni pizza from me. But sometimes, he
would stop by a few hours later and order another large pepperoni
pizza. At the time, I remember thinking to myself, Wow, this boy can
I found out several years later that Alfred was taking
the pizza upstairs to his roommates, and then selling them off by the
slice…We ended up doing the math a few years ago and figured out that,
while I made more money from the pizza business than Alfred, he made
about ten times more money per hour than me by arbitraging pizza.
didn't know it at the time, but our pizza relationship was the seed
that would lead to many million-dollar business opportunities together
down the road.
And here's what Alfred ended up doing after college.