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
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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