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The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish

The Knowledge Project takes you inside the heads of remarkable people to explore the frameworks and mental models you can use to make life more meaningful and productive. Learn more at https://fs.blog
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Now displaying: September, 2018
Sep 18, 2018

Today, I interview fellow Ottawan and the founder and CEO of Shopify, Tobi Lütke. In case you’re still new to the internet, Shopify is the largest ecommerce platform that allows people to easily set up online storefronts to sell everything from jewelry to surfing lessons.

Shopify began as a simple two man operation selling snowboards online, but it became clear rather quickly that it had the potential to grow into much more. Now Shopify employs more than 4,000 people and supports more than 600,000 businesses online. It’s a remarkable story, with a remarkable leader at the helm.

There was so much I wanted to talk to Tobi about that we hop around quite a bit. Here are a few of the topics we discuss:

  • Tobi’s thoughts on how video games helped him prepare to run a company
  • How selling snowboards online slowly transitioned to the creation of one of the biggest tech companies in the world
  • Why Tobi intentionally headquartered Shopify outside of Silicon Valley and how that fits into his overall growth strategy
  • One of the most underrated resources Tobi leans on to mine nuggets of wisdom when trying to get insight or solve a problem
  • The hard and valuable lessons Tobi learned as they scaled from a 2 employee company to a 4,000 employee company
  • What the “Tobi test” is, and how it helps Shopify team members become more adaptable, unified and prepared when things go haywire
  • How employees use the “trust battery” and how it fosters better teamwork, communication, and productivity throughout the company
  • The benefits of hiring employees in a “secondary market” as opposed to a “primary market” and how that contributes to the unique culture at Shopify
  • Tobi’s decision-making process and his philosophy on making quick vs analytic decisions
  • Tobi’s unusual morning routine that gets him in the right mindset to tackle the day
  • His optimistic view of AI and machine learning and how they will impact the way we do things in the future

And more…

Whether you’re building a business of your own, want to create a more dynamic and unified culture at work, or just like hearing entrepreneur war stories, this episode will not disappoint.

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For comprehensive show notes on this episode, including a full edited transcript, go to https://fs.blog/podcast/

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Sep 5, 2018

Today’s guest is Stratechery author and founder Ben Thompson. If you’re an investor in Silicon Valley, work at a tech start-up, or just love to geek out on technology and business analysis, odds are good that Stratechery is on your short list of must-read blogs.

What started as a side project, quickly ballooned into one of the most influential tech blogs on the web. The New York Times called Stratechery, “one of the most interesting sources of analysis on any subject.”

I agree.

In this interview, Ben and I cover a lot of ground. Here are a few of the things we discuss:

  • Learn once and for all how to pronounce Stratechery. :)
  • How Ben’s business model was developed and how he massaged it over the years to become what it is today
  • The one metric Ben looks at each day to gauge the health of his business
  • How Ben deals with people who rip off his work and pass it off as their own
  • Ben’s thoughts on pricing, free trials, content and other important aspects of online membership sites
  • How Ben structures his day to churn out such incredible content so consistently
  • How Ben handles being wrong on his site, and his process for screening his work for confirmation bias
  • How the internet has changed the traditional view of supply and demand, and what companies should do about it
  • What Ben would teach an MBA class about internet strategy (if you do any business online, you need to hear this)
  • What it would take for a start-up to overtake Google or Apple, and the vulnerabilities that all companies share, no matter how big or profitable
  • The new era of technology and how companies like Netflix, Airbnb, and Amazon are doing it right (and what you can do in your own business to take full advantage)

This is one of the most jam-packed interviews I’ve done on the Knowledge Project. Ben’s answers are so thoughtful and informative that you’re going to want to have a notebook handy.

For comprehensive show notes on this episode, including a full edited transcript, go to https://fs.blog/podcast/

Is your brain hungry for more? Don't miss out! Sign up for our weekly "Brain Food" at https://fs.blog/newsletter/

Follow @farnamstreet for mind-expanding content. 

 

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