30 11 / 2013
One question I am constantly asked is “how do you describe the people at Shopify in one word?” At first I came up with a number of answers - passionate, hardworking, engaged, exciting, fun, smart. While all of these are undoubtedly true, I’ve since started to reflect on the common denominator; that one thing that all Shopify employees have. Of course, everyone has unique and varied experiences but every single Shopify employee possesses one common trait. Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is described as a ”strong excitement about something: a strong feeling of active interest in something that you like or enjoy.” The excitement and interest that the people at Shopify have for the work that they do is infectious.
Where does it come from? I attribute this enthusiasm to our love to learn. Everyone is eager and excited to learn something new. I try to leave everyday knowing just a little bit more than when I got there. I think this is true of everyone who walks through the doors of 126 York, 241 Spadina, and 3575 St. Laurent. I call it the Shopify Effect.
Cross-pollination between teams is encouraged. What I mean by this is that no one is prohibited from participating in or engaging with other teams and the projects or products they are working on. We work hard, but because we all possess an infectious pursuit for knowledge, it often doesn’t seem like work. You bring something to the table that the person next to you doesn’t, and vice versa. We can all learn something from one another and if a sharing of this knowledge continues to be encouraged, we’ll all win.
What I find really interesting about the Shopify Effect - our enthusiasm and love to learn - is that it transcends all aspects of life. I sat with Tobi last week in the lounge while he was restringing his guitar. Last April he decided that he wanted to learn to play. Since then, he’s picked up the guitar (two actually, one for the office and one for home) and has learned everything on his own… And I mean everything. He’s not only learned to play but he’s also learned the types of guitars, strings, tuning, amps and is now learning musical theory. He didn’t stop when he figured out how to play his first few songs, he wanted to know everything he could. That thirst to learn it all is not exclusive to Tobi. I meet people everyday who are learning to code, learning to ski, learning to sing, learning to build, learning to cook, learning to brew, learning to take pictures and learning to make.
People everywhere have a love to learn but their enthusiasm is sometimes stifled by the environment they are in or the people they are surrounded by. I’m so glad that the place where I spend most of my time encourages the pursuit of knowledge in all forms.
Who encourages you to learn? Where do you feel the most comfortable asking questions and taking on new challenges? If you don’t feel good about the answers to those questions, come try the Shopify Effect on for size. You’ll learn something, I promise.
23 11 / 2013
Here we go! We are back in action and I’m excited to show & tell some of the incredible growth since my last intern post in the Summer of 2011. There has been exponential growth in just over two years. We’ve moved into a new office in Ottawa, opened two more in Toronto and Montreal, hired 300 people, acquired two companies and 50,000 more customers…oh and we have a slide. We process payments, offer a POS system and help 75,000 businesses sell their products online.
This and tons more in two years. TWO YEARS! What I like most about Shopify is its transparency. It does not matter how big the company grows, leaders at Shopify are open and honest about our roadmap, success, failures and exciting milestones. We are in the loop, we know what’s going on and we are encouraged to voice our opinions. Every Friday we hear from one of our team members. An exec, a Director, a team lead or a colleague. We have lightning talks where we learn something interesting about a member of the Shopify team. Whether the person be presenting about a problem they solved, a feature they shipped or a new kind of beer they brewed that weekend, everyone learns something and we feel connected. We have AMAs (Ask Me Anything) and Panel Discussions where questions posted to our internal voting system are answered from the horses mouth. No bullshit. THIS IS SO RARE. I know that some of us take for granted how incredible and unique it is to be included in so many discussions about the current state and future of the company. Shopify literally has a giant team meeting almost every week. This is an environment that encourages tough questions and interesting ideas. Our questions are answered, complaints addressed openly, and ideas challenged and often executed.
We have been able to maintain this transparency throughout an extensive, and seemingly unending, growth phase. This is super duper badass.
I’d like to try to extend that transparency to Shopify supporters and enthusiasts everywhere.
15 8 / 2011
Tweets, emails, Facebook and LinkedIn - there are tons of ways to get through to individuals you’d like to work with. When you’re competing with 100’s of other people you need to make your dialogue meaningful in order to stand out.
A couple weeks ago a story was launched on Fast Company about Shopify and its proprietary bonus system. The unique system Tobi named Unicorn was the focal point of the article.
08 8 / 2011
A month ago we had YouTube sensations Epic Meal Time at the office to film one of their episodes.
Harley asked if I’d help organize the day so I came in to the office Saturday morning and set up for the mad amounts of cooking.
The boys arrived a few hours later and the rest of the day was just bananas.
27 7 / 2011
We launched our own Shopify Swag store today. Yep, we’re using our own product to sell our merch.
Kicking it all off was a team effort that helped us to better understand what our store owners go through each day. As a newbie to the set up and maintenance of a shopify store it was super beneficial to get some insight on exactly what goes on from signup to launch of the store.
22 7 / 2011
This past weekend 22 Shopify employees participated in Ottawa’s Hope Beach Volleyball Tournament.
Two teams came out on a sizzlin’ hot Saturday to support Hope’s great cause.
The day’s events included:
08 7 / 2011
08 7 / 2011
30 6 / 2011
28 6 / 2011
A few weeks ago one of Live 88.5s biggest fans, Mike Gagnon, suggested I look into their new weekly event called Office Crashers. Great suggestion Mike :)
Instructions were simple— tell us why you’re awesome and if we agree we will bring you food and prizes.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned working here, it’s that the people at Shopify love food.
Here is the e mail that enticed them to come…