December 29th, 2020

Tony Hsieh, image via curbed.com

It’s a story of genius: a life, taken too quickly. We are saddened by the death of Tony Hsieh.  There has been speculation, and tabloid drama, and more reference to whippets than I would ever like to read. But the heart of the story is tragedy. What a loss for our community and for entrepreneurship within it. I wanted to share our perspective from the gallery, and the Mullin household, on this incredible life and its deeply sorrowful end.

When Hsieh came to town, we first met him through Real Estate. My husband Matt Mullin is a broker, and sold Hsieh his first home here, a beautiful escape that he filled with motivational post-it notes and countless friends who wanted to visit and enjoy the beauty of Park City.

In town, there were many upset with his parties and youthful way of living — which was certainly different from your typical Parkite. Yes, he liked to party (okay, that IS typical of a Parkite) but he also brought a sense of promise to our town. Of hope, in a time when so many were feeling hopeless. What would a person like Hsieh bring to Park City?

Right away he set about hiring locals and starting programs to help connect his group of friends and business associates with the community. Through the 10X restaurant and bar program he helped bring much-needed funds to local restauranteurs (free memberships were given to a select group of Park City locals, who could show their membership cards at restaurants and eat or drink anything they wished for a small fee). We talked to several restaurateurs who might not have made it through the summer without this program.

I think one of the problems Hsieh faced in this new community was what he was trying to get away from: notoriety. Everyone wanted to know what he was up to, and to know him. To hold onto his star and brighten their own lives with his status. Since the spring, Hsieh had been on a digital detox and curious locals were dying to know what he was up to… and how they would profit from him being here. More than one friend had a business idea that they wanted to run by Hsieh, with the hopes that he would fund it.

What could have been? What lives could have been affected? What businesses or life-changing technology might have come through his life and work? His time in Park City was short, but the loss is immeasurable. We can all agree on that.

Much has already been written about the toll that addiction had on the end of Hseih’s life. We hope that the loss of this awesome human will be a lesson to those seeking help with their own treatment. We send healing light, and love, to his family; may he rest in peace.