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> Shopify is giving merchants an opportunity to differentiate themselves while bearing no risk if they fail.

In addition to this being a great position for Shopify, this is an amazing thing for merchants compared to Amazon's offering; it's the critical difference between "We'll sell your stuff" and "We'll empower you to easily sell your stuff" that leaves power and agency in the hands of individual companies.

Semi-related: For a really insightful conversation about Shopify, personal interactions, and running a good company, I highly recommended The Knowledge Project's interview with the company's CEO, Tobi Lütke: https://fs.blog/tobi-lutke/

The Knowledge Project podcast is awesome. Here are some snippets that I found very useful.

On starting his company in a secondary market: I do think that there is an almost complete difference between how you build a company in a primary talent market and sort of secondary talent markets. For instance, one of the biggest differences in secondary places is, if I hired someone, the chance that we are going to still work together in a decade from now is super high.

Hiring for future potential It means that it’s a much better idea to hire for future potential rather than for current skill. Once you do that, what you realize is, a dollar invested into helping to train people or even subtle things like making sure that next to any junior programmer, like for every five junior programmers in a team, you have one person who can become their mentor—these basic ideas all start having way more dividends

On building a hiring process for a learning organisation ..we have a hiring process that really, really finds people of high future potential. And then, we try to help them reach this potential 10, 20 years earlier in their career than they ever thought was possible, through coaching, through book clubs, through anything. Fixed vs. Growth Mindsets Everything in Shopify is built around this idea that if someone shows up with a fixed mindset, we convert them to a growth mindset quickly. And then once we have a growth mindset, we fill people with context (i.e. explain what their role is and what they are expected to do).

On the role of processes with an organisation There are three kinds of process. There’s a kind of process that makes things that were previously impossible to do, possible. That’s good. Then there’s a kind of process that makes something that was previously possible significantly simpler, which is also good. However, 99.9% of all process that exists in corporate America is the third category, which is actually just telling people to behave slightly different from what common sense tells them to do.

So we have lots and lots and lots of examples where we just avoided having to create process by just changing the environment in which we all spend our time in.

> we have a hiring process that really, really finds people of high future potential

Did he elaborate on the details of this process?

I know it definitely sounds ageist. Is a 45 year old fresh-out-of-university-to-start-new-CS-career going to be considered and hired by Shopify on a regular basis (i.e. not just hiring one and being like "see, we're not ageist")?

That person is going to have a hard time anywhere. All the drawbacks of age and none of the professional benefits.

Just came here to say thanks, didn’t know of The Knowledge Project, and this episode was great. Cheers

What about traffic though? Amazon gives you traffic, user reviews, used confidence.

Sure, you have to work to target your own audience and build the trust with them yourself, but it's a tradeoff that benefits you in the long run. Your not beholden to the whims "the platform" as many media companies learned the hard way by putting so much of their focus on Facebooks platform in the past decade.

I think to some extent Amazon's commoditization of 3rd party vendors has hurt customer confidence, though surely not enough to make up for the increase in revenue.

Amazon has a HUGE fake products problem.

The brand is damaged and getting worse. People already avoid Az and it will only get worse.

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