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[Escape Velocity] – Episode 16 – The Future of Retail with Tobi Lütke, CEO/Founder of Shopify

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Want to learn what it’s like to compete against Amazon and win?

I first met Tobi the Co-founder & CEO of Shopify.com 10 years ago in San Francisco while they were fundraising for their series A…

… most investors said “No”.

(We dig into this during my interview… specifically, what those investors missed!)

Fast forward to today and they have more than 1M businesses paying them every month, from over 175 countries with total gross merchandise volume exceeding $50 BILLION.

Many consider them the ONLY company actually competing against Amazon and winning.

But how did they do it?

How did they build their team, manage their product development or grow as a team to be the company they are today and making Tobi a Billionaire? 

That was actually my first question to him “What’s changed now that you’re a Billionaire?” 🙂

As a technical founder growing up I actually used a framework called ActiveMerchant (that Tobi built) to accept credit cards within my Ruby on Rails application…

… so our connection goes way back even before we ever met in person.

Our technical background and systems thinking approach is what makes this interview completely different from anything you’ve heard before.

Watch to learn how Tobi used this unique approach to scale a HUGE company in a non-traditional tech city like Ottawa, Canada (and those benefits).

During this conversation, you’ll learn:

  • The dramatically different way Tobi looks at exponential growth
  • How to get your culture fit right for growth
  • The advantages of starting off as a programmer
  • The power of neurodiversity
  • The single question loop that drives their strategic growth
  • How to increase developer throughput
  • Why you need to disagree with the general consensus to build innovation
  • And sooo much more.

One of my favourite conversations was deconstructing Tobi’s view on talent acceleration.

It’s something I discovered in the early days when I was visiting their office and found out they had an internal executive coach who worked with several of their exec leadership team.

This was years before having a coach was “cool” (it still may not be :).

Today that coaching team is 50+ people.

The core belief Tobi has that drove that decision is that if your business is growing by % – call it 50% – then you need to develop your team’s abilities by 50% on an annual basis!?!

Are you growing your team at the same rate you’re growing? Probably not.

He also believes that everyone needs to requalify for their role every year – including him.

Watch or listen to this interview and leave a comment letting me know what your biggest insight from our conversation was.

Can’t wait to hear your feedback!




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