Llamapolis: A Millionaire's Airstream Compound

How Tony Hsieh Created an Airstream-Based Rv Park

Llama
Jonathan Kim/The Image Bank/Getty Images

If you were worth 840 million dollars where would you live? A villa in Tuscany? On a private yacht circling the ocean? New York City penthouse? What about in an urban RV park in downtown Las Vegas filled with Airstream travel trailers?

That last choice is exactly where Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos lives and he loves it, by the way, Hsieh is worth 840 million dollars. Let’s examine this small community of Airstreams nicknamed Llamapolis by Hsieh and get an idea of what Llamapolis is all about. 

Where Did Llamapolis Come From?

The idea of Llamapolis came from a multitude of sources. Some of the primary reasons come from Hsieh’s experiences at the iconic Burning Man Festival as well as the idea of a shared community. It’s located in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hsieh describes the park as:

“An urban camping experience with everyone sharing the world’s largest living room.”

The idea of Llamapolis is also tied into Hsieh’s business philosophy of holacracy. Holacracy is the management and business structure that Hsieh implemented at Zappos that ditches the typical ladder rung style of hierarchy in the American workplace. The primary tenets of holacracy are teamwork, localized decision making as well as self-organization. 

The Airstreams that make up Llamapolis are modern, sleek and decked out in amenities. The 1-acre trailer park is home to roughly 30 silver bullets. Hsieh rents out the Airstreams to visiting coders, giving them a taste of the life away from cubicles, desks, and all-nighters. If you’re looking to take up residence in Llamapolis expect your Airstream to come loaded with amenities like TVs, Bluetooth connectivity, wood paneling, stainless steel interior and appliances and much more. The Airstreams contain about 200 square feet of floor space and you can get your very own for about $48,000.

 

What is Llamapolis Like?

Llamapolis is not that different than any other residential neighborhood or apartment complex. People come and go, take care of their errands, and live their lives. But this is Llamapolis! There has to be a few differences and there are. 

There are a community bonfire and movie at the park every night that’s projected on a simple inflatable screen. The numbers for the nightly gatherings differ with only a handful people showing up at times and large crowds gathering at other times. There is also a large community kitchen where residents can gather to cook for each other or hang out.

Speaking on Llamapolis, Hsieh stated:

“I see my neighbors a lot more now than I did when living in a house in the suburbs or living in an apartment building.”

As you can imagine Llamapolis is not run like a typical community, there are not strict sets of rules and guidelines, rather Hsieh utilizes his holacracy philosophy with Llamapolis. Residents are encouraged to follow a solid moral compass at the complex as well as adopt a Kennedy sense of giving more to the community than taking away from it. 

Why the Name?

You think there might be some llamas roaming around Llamapolis and while that is not true it is not too far off base. When Hsieh started the Airstream community he decided to bring along his pet alpaca. While alpacas and llamas are related, they are not the same. Why the place is called Llamapolis instead of Alpacpolis is a mystery that only Hsieh knows the answer to. 

What’s Next for Llamapolis?

Hsieh has ideas of expanding the Airstream community in a variety of ways including the world’s largest Airstream hotel or take the ideas he’s learned from Llamapolis and apply them to another type of living experience. He wants to provide a unique experience to travelers across the world fueled by his love of the Airstream community.

Hsieh stated:

“Part of the goal of the living experiment is to figure out what amenities and elements would make it a fun and memorable experience.”

Here’s hoping that Llamapolis stays a success and expands into other parts of the country, the world with Airstream travel trailers is a happy world.