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Zappos founder and CEO Tony Hsieh has decided to step down from his other position as CEO of the Downtown Project, a utopian living experiment located in Las Vegas that has seen pushback from locals since its inception.
The project will also be laying off 30% of its staff. According to sources cited by Re/code, the new businesses that were set up inside the Downtown Project are "bleeding money." One source told the site, "It seems like it's being run by kids—that's because it's being run by kids."
David Gould, a former professor at the University of Iowa who joined the Downtown Project to build out its academic offering, resigned from the project after hearing about the layoffs via an open letter posted on Medium. The letter, addressed to Hsieh, outlined how disillusioned Gould had become with the project:
"Business is business" will be the defense from those you have charged with delivering the sad news. But we have not experienced a string of tough breaks or bad luck. Rather, this is a collage of decadence, greed, and missing leadership. While some squandered the opportunity to "dent the universe," others never cared about doing so in the first place. There were heroes among us, however, and it is for them that my soul weeps.According to the article, the Downtown Project will push forward without Hsieh at the helm. A source inside the company told Re/code that Hsieh explained to his team that "I see myself as adviser and investor, but I'm going to appoint someone as our strategy implementation lead.'"
My heart also goes out to those whose jobs are spared. While that might seem a bit ridiculous, they will surely expend energy trying to understand the secret of why they were kept and others let go. In the end, the only thing they will know for sure is that their leaders lied to them in order to hurt their friends.
· Tony Hsieh Steps Down From Lead Role at Las Vegas Downtown Project [Re/code]
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