Tobias Lütke is the founder and CEO of Shopify, he has served on the core team of the Ruby on Rails framework and has created open source libraries such as Active Merchant.
My guest today is Tobi Lutke, the co-founder, and CEO of Shopify.  This is both a timely and evergreen conversation.  Timely, as the world as moved aggressively digital in the past two months, and Shopify powers so much of digital commerce.  Evergreen, because while we touch on Covid and the Shopify business, this is much more a conversation on business and personal principles, learning, design, and growth. Tobi is one of the CEO’s I look up to most for the type of company he is building and for the way he conducts himself.  We discuss business focus, why video games help you learn the power of attention, what design means for products and organizations, and much more. Please enjoy my conversation with Tobi Lutke.   This episode is brought to you by the MIT investment management company (MITIMCO) Reach out or learn more:  Email: Website: MITIMCo 10 year Letter: MITIMCo brochure: For more episodes go to Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag   Show Notes (2:35) – (First question) – The launch of the new Shopify shop app             (2:44) – Daniel Ek Podcast Episode             (2:45) – Jeff Lawson Podcast Episode (4:56) – Having the right focus and growing a good business (9:06) – Marketplace business model vs the merchant driven business model             9:16 – Bill Gurley Podcast Appearances - 162 | 144 | 137 (11:47) – His role as a decisionmaker as CEO of the company (14:07) – What does he mean when he talks about quality (18:28) – His thinking on design and quality             (18:32) – Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance             (19:59) – The Design of Everyday Things (21:06) – Friction as a force in business and manufacturing (26:04) – His thoughts on systems and being free of process            (26:08) – The Systems Bible  (30:01) – The game of Factoria and how it relates to systems             (32:16) – Transfer Learning (34:33) – What Real-Time Strategy games have taught Tobi (38:30) – Building context inside of a company and making it scale (41:17) – Personality typing (46:22) – The Tobi Blueprint (46:04) – Why he likes The Guide to the Good Life and stoicism (55:38) – Raising kids and the impact of Covid (1:03:16) – The kindest thing anyone has done for Tobi   Learn More For more episodes go to  Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag
"Feedback is a gift." — Tobi LütkeTobi Lütke (@tobi) is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Shopify. In 2004, Tobi began building software to launch an online snowboard store called Snowdevil. It quickly became obvious that the software was more valuable than the snowboards, so Tobi and his founding team launched the Shopify platform in 2006. He has served as CEO since 2008 at the company's headquarters in Ottawa, Canada.Tobi is an active advocate for computer literacy and education, and serves as a board member of Canada Learning Code, an organization working to give all Canadians access to digital skills. In 2014, Tobi was named The Globe and Mail's CEO of the Year. He served as Chair of the Digital Industries Table, an advisory board commissioned by the federal government to provide recommendations on how to turn Canada into a digital leader.Please enjoy!Click here for the show notes for this episode.This podcast is brought to you by Peloton, which has become a staple of my daily routine. I picked up this bike after seeing the success of my friend Kevin Rose, and I've been enjoying it more than I ever imagined. Peloton is an indoor cycling bike that brings live studio classes right to your home. No worrying about fitting classes into your busy schedule or making it to a studio with a crazy commute.New classes are added every day, and this includes options led by elite NYC instructors in your own living room. You can even live stream studio classes taught by the world's best instructors, or find your favorite class on demand.Peloton is offering listeners to this show a special offer. Visit and enter the code TIM at checkout to receive $100 off accessories with your Peloton bike purchase. This is a great way to get in your workouts, or an incredible gift. Again, that's and enter the code TIM.This episode is also brought to you by LegalZoom. I've used this service for many of my businesses, as have quite a few of the icons on this podcast, such as Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg of WordPress fame.LegalZoom is a reliable resource that more than a million people have already trusted for everything from setting up wills, proper trademark searches, forming LLCs, setting up non-profits, or finding simple cease-and-desist letter templates.LegalZoom is not a law firm, but it does have a network of independent attorneys available in most states who can give you advice on the best way to get started, provide contract reviews, and otherwise help you run your business with complete transparency and up-front pricing. Check out and enter promo code TIM at checkout today for special savings and see how the fine folks there can make life easier for you and your business.***If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in helping to convince hard-to-get guests. I also love reading the reviews!For show notes and past guests, please visit up for Tim’s email newsletter (“5-Bullet Friday”) at transcripts of episodes, go to in sponsoring the podcast? Please fill out the form at Tim’s books: Tim:Twitter: Instagram: YouTube:
Tobi Lütke is the founder and CEO of Shopify, a public company worth $17 billion. The shopping landscape is changing fast, with new tax laws, same-day delivery, in-store pickup and mobile payments adding new twists and capabilities all the time. Lutke, and Shopify, provide technology tools to simplify all that for merchants.  I talked with Lütke recently at the Nasdaq Marketsite in Times Square, as talk of tariffs and taxes are swirling. We talked about what's allowed Shopify's stock to double in a year, and how he went from a teenage German apprentice to a Canadian entrepreneur … who's now a billionaire on paper, by the way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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3 hours, 47 minutes
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