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Mark Vadon

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Mark Vadon is an American businessman and the chairman of several big name companies, including Blue Nile and Zulily. Holding an AB in Social Studies from Harvard University and an MBA from Stanford University, Vadon served as a consultant from the successful management firm, Bain & Company, from 1992 to 1999. In 2009, he co-founded e-commerce site Zulily with fellow Blue Nile executive, Darrell Cavens. Today Vadon served as Chairman of the Board for the popular online retailer. Prior to establishing Zulily, Vadon founded Blue Nile, the largest online diamond retailer in the world. He served as CEO of the company until 2008 and Chairman of the Board until 2013.

Together with Cavens, Vadon grew Zulily into a billion-dollar company in just five years. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Zulily sells kids’ clothing, toys, home products, women’s garb, and even men’s clothing. Founded in 2009, Zulily was bought by QVC in August 2015 for a reported $2.4 billion.

In addition to his work with Zulily and Blue Nile, Vadon has served as the Chairman of CitizenHawk, INc. and sits on the board for The Home Depot and Wine.com.

Companies and Investments

Zulily (Co-Founder and Chairman), The Home Depot (Chairman), Chewy.com (Chairman), Blue Nile (Founder, CEO, and Chairman), Bain & Company (Consultant)

Lessons Learned

Figure out what works for you and stick with it. Just because company A is going such and such doesn’t mean that same model is one that you must adopt.

Pay attention to the market and listen to what consumers are saying. Understanding your market is probably the most important aspect of running a successful business.

Low price and fast shipping isn’t always what people are looking for. Quality is oftentimes more important to people. Keep this in mind.

Have diversity and and products that appeal to a broader audience.

Sometimes you need to take a step back from your company and look at the market with a fresh set of eyes.

Don’t try and go head-to-head with big name companies or organizations. You will almost always fail. This is why it is important to think about doing something different.

Inspiring Quotes

Mark Vadon's Quotes

When you are drilling and you hit an oil patch, the last thing you want is people coming and drilling right next to you.

Mark Vadon

In a startup, if things are going well, you want to be really quiet.

Mark Vadon

Influential Books