The typical entrepreneur might think it’s smart to absorb business wisdom from the billionaires of the world (and it is), but for Tony Hsieh, founder and CEO of Zappos, it’s the seduction techniques commonly used by pickup artists that are helping him to grow his Downtown Project.
In a 2014 interview with Playboy, Hsieh explained how some of the techniques he’s been using to attract people to move to the Downtown Project, his Las Vegas-based entrepreneurial hub for small businesses and tech startups, are derived from books like Neil Strauss’s “The Game,” which Hsieh previously mentioned in a 2011 interview with the New York Times.
Playboy asked Hsieh if the techniques he learned in “The Game” actually worked for him. Here’s how he answered:
“I think I have different goals. ‘The Game’ is more focused on how to pick up girls, but I found it interesting in thinking about how to use similar concepts to build relationships in general. I’ve read a lot of stuff by people in that world, so I don’t remember who said what, but I remember hearing that if you’re going on a date with a girl, the best thing to do is change locations every half hour or hour and do something different.
Basically, at the end, if you’ve gone to seven different locations, it will have the same effect on memory as going on seven dates in single locations. So it’s about time compression and memory and so on. The point is to seduce a girl faster, but that technique has other applications as well.
It’s part of what I’m trying to do with Downtown Project. When people come visit us we basically hop from location to location to location, so even though they’ve been here only two or three nights, it will seem as though they’ve been here two weeks. It’ll have a big impact on their memory. Humans remember things in terms of geography and number of stories. I want a city where all this stuff is within walking distance so you can have a bunch of different experiences.”
Playboy followed up Hsieh’s answer by asking:
“Just to confirm: You’re designing a city based on techniques to get into women’s pants?”
Hsieh responded with:
“Well, we’re not using the techniques to pick up girls. But I did have someone here from that world who said what we’re trying to do is basically seduce people into moving to downtown Vegas.”
When you are as scrappy an entrepreneur as Hsieh is, you never discount valuable knowledge on building relationships and selling people, wherever that knowledge might come from.