How a Story on Medium led to the CEO of Zappos Investing in My Company

Thank you Cadence Bambenek for telling this story in Business Insider. You can read Cadence’s entire story here.

As Medium and The Mission were both incredibly important platforms for this to story to come to life, I felt it was only appropriate to feature Cadence’s story here as well with some additional commentary.

A glimpse into Tony Hsieh’s trailer park, taken during a private event we hosted with VTF Capital in Las Vegas. Source: emilywilsonphotography.shootproof.com/gallery/VTFevent/

How it All Started

Late last year, I set a goal to improve my writing skills. Since I learn best by doing, I thought it was best to start by writing about something that personally interested me.

Stumbling across Tony Hsieh’s Personal Schedule (which he purposely shares with the world), I was curious to learn how he spent his time. Because of my keen interest in productivity, and the eCommerce industry, I wrote a personal research report about my findings.

For context, at Exact Media (the company I co-founded in 2013) we work with some of the world’s biggest online retailers. KOHL’s, HSN, Zulily and HBC are some of our partners.

Knowing many of the partners we work with in eCommerce are always looking to learn from their peers, I thought learning about the CEO of Zappos (who sold to Amazon for $1.2 Billion) was research that was too valuable to keep to ourselves.

With coaching, editing and advice from my friend Herbert Lui and his team at Wondershuttle, I wrote a story on Medium about it to share with others.

It got published in Business Insider. Then on the Observer.

For fun, I decided to tweet the story to a few folks at Zappos, and got a totally unexpected reply.

A few months later, Will Young, General Partner at VTF Capital (Tony Hsieh’s VC Fund) gave us a cheque and topped off our VC Funding round. Joshua Schachter (Founder of Del.icio.us) also participated, with the round being led by Rho Ventures & Roger Chabra.

My Co-Founder, Ray Cao, sharing the stage with Tony Hsieh at a private we hosted in Las Vegas after we completed our investment with VTF Capital. Source: emilywilsonphotography.shootproof.com/gallery/VTFevent/

Tony Hsieh believes in Serendipitous Collisions.

After this experience, I do too.


Thank you to Herbert Lui, Chad Grills, Cadence Bambenek, our team at Exact Media and the team at VTF Capital for making this fun story a reality.

Props to Ev Williams (hopefully serendipity will lead to our paths crossing in the future) and your team for creating Medium (and Twitter too!)

This story is just one example of the power both of those platforms have in connecting people across the world.


Daniel Rodic is an entrepreneur; the Co-Founder of Exact Media and a representative of Canada at the G20 Entrepreneurship Summit in Moscow and Beijing. He is a 2016 finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

At Exact Media, Daniel and his team are disrupting the Direct Mail industry by skipping the postman, instead leveraging the excess space in parcels that have already been shipped to consumers.

Retailers like Zulily, Walmart, Gilt.com and HSN deliver relevant offers from brands to consumers sourced from Exact Media to surprise and delight their shoppers. Brands owned by companies like P&G, L’Oréal, Unilever and Johnson & Johnson have all used Exact Media’s platform to reach consumers in their homes.