Tobi Lütke - Embrace the Unexpected - [Invest Like the Best, EP. 278]
My guest today is Tobi Lütke, co-founder and CEO of Shopify. Having first spoken to Tobi at the beginning of the pandemic, just two months into it, this felt an opportune moment to revisit Shopify and the world through Tobi’s eyes. Among many things, we discuss Shopify’s evolution into the world of atoms-based building through Shopify’s fulfillment network, the value of infrastructure writ large, and the impact of market volatility on day-to-day business building. Please enjoy my conversation with Tobi Lütke.
For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here.
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[00:02:44 ] - [First question] - His interest in infrastructure as a whole and why it’s underrated
[00:07:18 ] - Whether or not we’re currently building enough digital infrastructure
[00:09:45 ] - Base level principles for decision making around building infrastructure
[00:13:17 ] - How much room is left for innovation and whether or not we’ll just reinvent basic human instincts
[00:15:22 ] - Ways new ideas are fed into a product funnel at Shopify and greenlit
[00:19:34 ] - Solving eCommerce infrastructure and what he attributes to Shopify’s success
[00:24:23 ] - Overview of the Shopify Network and how it’s evolved over time
[00:31:04 ] - Lessons learned in an atom-driven world in regards to fulfillment and logistics
[00:34:37 ] - Common ways bits thinkers are often wrong when solving atom problems
[00:35:50 ] - Spreadsheets tend to win meetings and how the ROI on a fulfillment network impacts its ecosystem
[00:40:26 ] - Navigating becoming an aggregator that sits on top of their merchants and whether or not there are plans to participate as a distributor
[00:45:45 ] - Fair market value, what it’s been like managing through such a volatile market, and important takeaways
[00:50:54 ] - Thoughts on capital allocation decisions as Shopify continues to grow
[00:53:25 ] - Advice for company leaders effectively communicating with their teams about stock-based compensation
[00:59:04 ] - How much COVID altered their trajectory and what he’s most interested in as he looks out to the future
[01:03:45 ] - What he’s learned about blockchains and the crypto space given recent events
[01:08:45 ] - A new idea he’s encountered recently that he’s fallen in love with