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Alison Randel

Alison Randel

1 year ago

Raising the Bar on Your 1:1s

More on Leadership

Solomon Ayanlakin

Solomon Ayanlakin

1 year ago

Metrics for product management and being a good leader

Never design a product without explicit metrics and tracking tools.

Imagine driving cross-country without a dashboard. How do you know your school zone speed? Low gas? Without a dashboard, you can't monitor your car. You can't improve what you don't measure, as Peter Drucker said. Product managers must constantly enhance their understanding of their users, how they use their product, and how to improve it for optimum value. Customers will only pay if they consistently acquire value from your product.

Product Management Metrics — Measuring the right metrics as a Product Leader by Solomon Ayanlakin

I’m Solomon Ayanlakin. I’m a product manager at CredPal, a financial business that offers credit cards and Buy Now Pay Later services. Before falling into product management (like most PMs lol), I self-trained as a data analyst, using Alex the Analyst's YouTube playlists and DannyMas' virtual data internship. This article aims to help product managers, owners, and CXOs understand product metrics, give a methodology for creating them, and execute product experiments to enhance them.

☝🏽Introduction

Product metrics assist companies track product performance from the user's perspective. Metrics help firms decide what to construct (feature priority), how to build it, and the outcome's success or failure. To give the best value to new and existing users, track product metrics.

Why should a product manager monitor metrics?

  • to assist your users in having a "aha" moment

  • To inform you of which features are frequently used by users and which are not

  • To assess the effectiveness of a product feature

  • To aid in enhancing client onboarding and retention

  • To assist you in identifying areas throughout the user journey where customers are satisfied or dissatisfied

  • to determine the percentage of returning users and determine the reasons for their return

📈 What Metrics Ought a Product Manager to Monitor?

What indicators should a product manager watch to monitor product health? The metrics to follow change based on the industry, business stage (early, growth, late), consumer needs, and company goals. A startup should focus more on conversion, activation, and active user engagement than revenue growth and retention. The company hasn't found product-market fit or discovered what features drive customer value.

Depending on your use case, company goals, or business stage, here are some important product metric buckets:

Popular Product Metric Buckets for Product Teams

All measurements shouldn't be used simultaneously. It depends on your business goals and what value means for your users, then selecting what metrics to track to see if they get it.

Some KPIs are more beneficial to track, independent of industry or customer type. To prevent recording vanity metrics, product managers must clearly specify the types of metrics they should track. Here's how to segment metrics:

  1. The North Star Metric, also known as the Focus Metric, is the indicator and aid in keeping track of the top value you provide to users.

  2. Primary/Level 1 Metrics: These metrics should either add to the north star metric or be used to determine whether it is moving in the appropriate direction. They are metrics that support the north star metric.

  3. These measures serve as leading indications for your north star and Level 2 metrics. You ought to have been aware of certain problems with your L2 measurements prior to the North star metric modifications.

North Star Metric

This is the key metric. A good north star metric measures customer value. It emphasizes your product's longevity. Many organizations fail to grow because they confuse north star measures with other indicators. A good focus metric should touch all company teams and be tracked forever. If a company gives its customers outstanding value, growth and success are inevitable. How do we measure this value?

A north star metric has these benefits:

  • Customer Obsession: It promotes a culture of customer value throughout the entire organization.

  • Consensus: Everyone can quickly understand where the business is at and can promptly make improvements, according to consensus.

  • Growth: It provides a tool to measure the company's long-term success. Do you think your company will last for a long time?

How can I pick a reliable North Star Metric?

Some fear a single metric. Ensure product leaders can objectively determine a north star metric. Your company's focus metric should meet certain conditions. Here are a few:

  1. A good focus metric should reflect value and, as such, should be closely related to the point at which customers obtain the desired value from your product. For instance, the quick delivery to your home is a value proposition of UberEats. The value received from a delivery would be a suitable focal metric to use. While counting orders is alluring, the quantity of successfully completed positive review orders would make a superior north star statistic. This is due to the fact that a client who placed an order but received a defective or erratic delivery is not benefiting from Uber Eats. By tracking core value gain, which is the number of purchases that resulted in satisfied customers, we are able to track not only the total number of orders placed during a specific time period but also the core value proposition.

  2. Focus metrics need to be quantifiable; they shouldn't only be feelings or states; they need to be actionable. A smart place to start is by counting how many times an activity has been completed.

  3. A great focus metric is one that can be measured within predetermined time limits; otherwise, you are not measuring at all. The company can improve that measure more quickly by having time-bound focus metrics. Measuring and accounting for progress over set time periods is the only method to determine whether or not you are moving in the right path. You can then evaluate your metrics for today and yesterday. It's generally not a good idea to use a year as a time frame. Ideally, depending on the nature of your organization and the measure you are focusing on, you want to take into account on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

  4. Everyone in the firm has the potential to affect it: A short glance at the well-known AAARRR funnel, also known as the Pirate Metrics, reveals that various teams inside the organization have an impact on the funnel. Ideally, the NSM should be impacted if changes are made to one portion of the funnel. Consider how the growth team in your firm is enhancing customer retention. This would have a good effect on the north star indicator because at this stage, a repeat client is probably being satisfied on a regular basis. Additionally, if the opposite were true and a client churned, it would have a negative effect on the focus metric.

  5. It ought to be connected to the business's long-term success: The direction of sustainability would be indicated by a good north star metric. A company's lifeblood is product demand and revenue, so it's critical that your NSM points in the direction of sustainability. If UberEats can effectively increase the monthly total of happy client orders, it will remain in operation indefinitely.

Many product teams make the mistake of focusing on revenue. When the bottom line is emphasized, a company's goal moves from giving value to extracting money from customers. A happy consumer will stay and pay for your service. Customer lifetime value always exceeds initial daily, monthly, or weekly revenue.

Great North Star Metrics Examples

Notable companies and their North star metrics

🥇 Basic/L1 Metrics:

The NSM is broad and focuses on providing value for users, while the primary metric is product/feature focused and utilized to drive the focus metric or signal its health. The primary statistic is team-specific, whereas the north star metric is company-wide. For UberEats' NSM, the marketing team may measure the amount of quality food vendors who sign up using email marketing. With quality vendors, more orders will be satisfied. Shorter feedback loops and unambiguous team assignments make L1 metrics more actionable and significant in the immediate term.

🥈 Supporting L2 metrics:

These are supporting metrics to the L1 and focus metrics. Location, demographics, or features are examples of L1 metrics. UberEats' supporting metrics might be the number of sales emails sent to food vendors, the number of opens, and the click-through rate. Secondary metrics are low-level and evident, and they relate into primary and north star measurements. UberEats needs a high email open rate to attract high-quality food vendors. L2 is a leading sign for L1.

Product Metrics for UberEats

Where can I find product metrics?

How can I measure in-app usage and activity now that I know what metrics to track? Enter product analytics. Product analytics tools evaluate and improve product management parameters that indicate a product's health from a user's perspective.

Various analytics tools on the market supply product insight. From page views and user flows through A/B testing, in-app walkthroughs, and surveys. Depending on your use case and necessity, you may combine tools to see how users engage with your product. Gainsight, MixPanel, Amplitude, Google Analytics, FullStory, Heap, and Pendo are product tools.

This article isn't sponsored and doesn't market product analytics tools. When choosing an analytics tool, consider the following:

  • Tools for tracking your Focus, L1, and L2 measurements

  • Pricing

  • Adaptations to include external data sources and other products

  • Usability and the interface

  • Scalability

  • Security

An investment in the appropriate tool pays off. To choose the correct metrics to track, you must first understand your business need and what value means to your users. Metrics and analytics are crucial for any tech product's growth. It shows how your business is doing and how to best serve users.

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

1 year ago

Improving collaboration with the Six Thinking Hats

Six Thinking Hats was written by Dr. Edward de Bono. "Six Thinking Hats" and parallel thinking allow groups to plan thinking processes in a detailed and cohesive way, improving collaboration.

Fundamental ideas

In order to develop strategies for thinking about specific issues, the method assumes that the human brain thinks in a variety of ways that can be intentionally challenged. De Bono identifies six brain-challenging directions. In each direction, the brain brings certain issues into conscious thought (e.g. gut instinct, pessimistic judgement, neutral facts). Some may find wearing hats unnatural, uncomfortable, or counterproductive.

The example of "mismatch" sensitivity is compelling. In the natural world, something out of the ordinary may be dangerous. This mode causes negative judgment and critical thinking.

Colored hats represent each direction. Putting on a colored hat symbolizes changing direction, either literally or metaphorically. De Bono first used this metaphor in his 1971 book "Lateral Thinking for Management" to describe a brainstorming framework. These metaphors allow more complete and elaborate thought separation. Six thinking hats indicate ideas' problems and solutions.

Similarly, his CoRT Thinking Programme introduced "The Five Stages of Thinking" method in 1973.

HATOVERVIEWTECHNIQUE
BLUE"The Big Picture" & ManagingCAF (Consider All Factors); FIP (First Important Priorities)
WHITE"Facts & Information"Information
RED"Feelings & Emotions"Emotions and Ego
BLACK"Negative"PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting); Evaluation
YELLOW"Positive"PMI
GREEN"New Ideas"Concept Challenge; Yes, No, Po

Strategies and programs

After identifying the six thinking modes, programs can be created. These are groups of hats that encompass and structure the thinking process. Several of these are included in the materials for franchised six hats training, but they must often be adapted. Programs are often "emergent," meaning the group plans the first few hats and the facilitator decides what to do next.

The group agrees on how to think, then thinks, then evaluates the results and decides what to do next. Individuals or groups can use sequences (and indeed hats). Each hat is typically used for 2 minutes at a time, although an extended white hat session is common at the start of a process to get everyone on the same page. The red hat is recommended to be used for a very short period to get a visceral gut reaction – about 30 seconds, and in practice often takes the form of dot-voting.

ACTIVITYHAT SEQUENCE
Initial IdeasBlue, White, Green, Blue
Choosing between alternativesBlue, White, (Green), Yellow, Black, Red, Blue
Identifying SolutionsBlue, White, Black, Green, Blue
Quick FeedbackBlue, Black, Green, Blue
Strategic PlanningBlue, Yellow, Black, White, Blue, Green, Blue
Process ImprovementBlue, White, White (Other People's Views), Yellow, Black, Green, Red, Blue
Solving ProblemsBlue, White, Green, Red, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue
Performance ReviewBlue, Red, White, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue

Use

Speedo's swimsuit designers reportedly used the six thinking hats. "They used the "Six Thinking Hats" method to brainstorm, with a green hat for creative ideas and a black one for feasibility.

Typically, a project begins with extensive white hat research. Each hat is used for a few minutes at a time, except the red hat, which is limited to 30 seconds to ensure an instinctive gut reaction, not judgement. According to Malcolm Gladwell's "blink" theory, this pace improves thinking.

De Bono believed that the key to a successful Six Thinking Hats session was focusing the discussion on a particular approach. A meeting may be called to review and solve a problem. The Six Thinking Hats method can be used in sequence to explore the problem, develop a set of solutions, and choose a solution through critical examination.

Everyone may don the Blue hat to discuss the meeting's goals and objectives. The discussion may then shift to Red hat thinking to gather opinions and reactions. This phase may also be used to determine who will be affected by the problem and/or solutions. The discussion may then shift to the (Yellow then) Green hat to generate solutions and ideas. The discussion may move from White hat thinking to Black hat thinking to develop solution set criticisms.

Because everyone is focused on one approach at a time, the group is more collaborative than if one person is reacting emotionally (Red hat), another is trying to be objective (White hat), and another is critical of the points which emerge from the discussion (Black hat). The hats help people approach problems from different angles and highlight problem-solving flaws.

Aniket

Aniket

1 year ago

Yahoo could have purchased Google for $1 billion

Let's see this once-dominant IT corporation crumble.

Photo by Vikram Sundaramoorthy

What's the capital of Kazakhstan? If you don't know the answer, you can probably find it by Googling. Google Search returned results for Nur-Sultan in 0.66 seconds.

Google is the best search engine I've ever used. Did you know another search engine ruled the Internet? I'm sure you guessed Yahoo!

Google's friendly UI and wide selection of services make it my top choice. Let's explore Yahoo's decline.

Yahoo!

YAHOO stands for Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle. Jerry Yang and David Filo established Yahoo.

Yahoo is primarily a search engine and email provider. It offers News and an advertising platform. It was a popular website in 1995 that let people search the Internet directly. Yahoo began offering free email in 1997 by acquiring RocketMail.

According to a study, Yahoo used Google Search Engine technology until 2000 and then developed its own in 2004.

Yahoo! rejected buying Google for $1 billion

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google's founders, approached Yahoo in 1998 to sell Google for $1 billion so they could focus on their studies. Yahoo denied the offer, thinking it was overvalued at the time.

Yahoo realized its error and offered Google $3 billion in 2002, but Google demanded $5 billion since it was more valuable. Yahoo thought $5 billion was overpriced for the existing market.

In 2022, Google is worth $1.56 Trillion.

What happened to Yahoo!

Yahoo refused to buy Google, and Google's valuation rose, making a purchase unfeasible.

Yahoo started losing users when Google launched Gmail. Google's UI was far cleaner than Yahoo's.

Yahoo offered $1 billion to buy Facebook in July 2006, but Zuckerberg and the board sought $1.1 billion. Yahoo rejected, and Facebook's valuation rose, making it difficult to buy.

Yahoo was losing users daily while Google and Facebook gained many. Google and Facebook's popularity soared. Yahoo lost value daily.

Microsoft offered $45 billion to buy Yahoo in February 2008, but Yahoo declined. Microsoft increased its bid to $47 billion after Yahoo said it was too low, but Yahoo rejected it. Then Microsoft rejected Yahoo’s 10% bid increase in May 2008.

In 2015, Verizon bought Yahoo for $4.5 billion, and Apollo Global Management bought 90% of Yahoo's shares for $5 billion in May 2021. Verizon kept 10%.

Yahoo's opportunity to acquire Google and Facebook could have been a turning moment. It declined Microsoft's $45 billion deal in 2008 and was sold to Verizon for $4.5 billion in 2015. Poor decisions and lack of vision caused its downfall. Yahoo's aim wasn't obvious and it didn't stick to a single domain.

Hence, a corporation needs a clear vision and a leader who can see its future.

Liked this article? Join my tech and programming newsletter here.

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Ash Parrish

Ash Parrish

1 year ago

Sonic Prime and indie games on Netflix

Netflix will stream Spiritfarer, Raji: An Ancient Epic, and Lucky Luna.

Netflix's Geeked Week brought a slew of announcements. The flurry of reveals for The Sandman, The Umbrella Academy season 3, One Piece, and more also included game and game-adjacent announcements.

Netflix released a teaser for Cuphead season 2 ahead of its August premiere, featuring more of Grey DeLisle's Ms. Chalice. DOTA: Dragon's Blood season 3 hits Netflix in August. Tekken, the fighting game that throws kids off cliffs, gets an anime, Tekken: Bloodline.

Netflix debuted a clip of Sonic Prime before Sonic Origins in June and Sonic Frontiers in 2022.

Castlevania: Nocturne will follow Richter Belmont.

Netflix is reviving licensed games with titles based on its shows. There's a Queen's Gambit chess game, a Shadow and Bone RPG, a La Casa de Papel heist adventure, and a Too Hot to Handle game where a pregnant woman must choose between stabbing her cheating ex or forgiving him.

Riot's rhythm platformer Hextech Mayhem debuted on Netflix last year, and now Netflix is adding games from Devolver Digital. Reigns: Three Kingdoms is a card game that lets players choose the fate of Three Kingdoms-era China by swiping left or right on cards. Spiritfarer, the "cozy game about death" from 2020, and Raji: An Ancient Epic are coming to Netflix. Poinpy, a vertical climber from the creator of Downwell, is now on Netflix.

Desta: The Memories Between is a turn-based strategy game set in dreams and memories.

Snowman's Lucky Luna will also be added soon.

With these games, Netflix is expanding beyond dinky mobile games — it plans to have 50 by the end of the year — and could be a serious platform for indies that want to expand into mobile. It takes gaming seriously.

Sanjay Priyadarshi

Sanjay Priyadarshi

1 year ago

Using Ruby code, a programmer created a $48,000,000,000 product that Elon Musk admired.

Unexpected Success

Photo of Tobias Lutke from theglobeandmail

Shopify CEO and co-founder Tobias Lutke. Shopify is worth $48 billion.

World-renowned entrepreneur Tobi

Tobi never expected his first online snowboard business to become a multimillion-dollar software corporation.

Tobi founded Shopify to establish a 20-person company.

The publicly traded corporation employs over 10,000 people.

Here's Tobi Lutke's incredible story.

Elon Musk tweeted his admiration for the Shopify creator.

30-October-2019.

Musk praised Shopify founder Tobi Lutke on Twitter.

Happened:

Screenshot by Author

Explore this programmer's journey.

What difficulties did Tobi experience as a young child?

Germany raised Tobi.

Tobi's parents realized he was smart but had trouble learning as a toddler.

Tobi was learning disabled.

Tobi struggled with school tests.

Tobi's learning impairments were undiagnosed.

Tobi struggled to read as a dyslexic.

Tobi also found school boring.

Germany's curriculum didn't inspire Tobi's curiosity.

“The curriculum in Germany was taught like here are all the solutions you might find useful later in life, spending very little time talking about the problem…If I don’t understand the problem I’m trying to solve, it’s very hard for me to learn about a solution to a problem.”

Studying computer programming

After tenth grade, Tobi decided school wasn't for him and joined a German apprenticeship program.

This curriculum taught Tobi software engineering.

He was an apprentice in a small Siemens subsidiary team.

Tobi worked with rebellious Siemens employees.

Team members impressed Tobi.

Tobi joined the team for this reason.

Tobi was pleased to get paid to write programming all day.

His life could not have been better.

Devoted to snowboarding

Tobi loved snowboarding.

He drove 5 hours to ski at his folks' house.

His friends traveled to the US to snowboard when he was older.

However, the cheap dollar conversion rate led them to Canada.

2000.

Tobi originally decided to snowboard instead than ski.

Snowboarding captivated him in Canada.

On the trip to Canada, Tobi encounters his wife.

Tobi meets his wife Fiona McKean on his first Canadian ski trip.

They maintained in touch after the trip.

Fiona moved to Germany after graduating.

Tobi was a startup coder.

Fiona found work in Germany.

Her work included editing, writing, and academics.

“We lived together for 10 months and then she told me that she need to go back for the master's program.”

With Fiona, Tobi immigrated to Canada.

Fiona invites Tobi.

Tobi agreed to move to Canada.

Programming helped Tobi move in with his girlfriend.

Tobi was an excellent programmer, therefore what he did in Germany could be done anywhere.

He worked remotely for his German employer in Canada.

Tobi struggled with remote work.

Due to poor communication.

No slack, so he used email.

Programmers had trouble emailing.

Tobi's startup was developing a browser.

After the dot-com crash, individuals left that startup.

It ended.

Tobi didn't intend to work for any major corporations.

Tobi left his startup.

He believed he had important skills for any huge corporation.

He refused to join a huge corporation.

Because of Siemens.

Tobi learned to write professional code and about himself while working at Siemens in Germany.

Siemens culture was odd.

Employees were distrustful.

Siemens' rigorous dress code implies that the corporation doesn't trust employees' attire.

It wasn't Tobi's place.

“There was so much bad with it that it just felt wrong…20-year-old Tobi would not have a career there.”

Focused only on snowboarding

Tobi lived in Ottawa with his girlfriend.

Canada is frigid in winter.

Ottawa's winters last.

Almost half a year.

Tobi wanted to do something worthwhile now.

So he snowboarded.

Tobi began snowboarding seriously.

He sought every snowboarding knowledge.

He researched the greatest snowboarding gear first.

He created big spreadsheets for snowboard-making technologies.

Tobi grew interested in selling snowboards while researching.

He intended to sell snowboards online.

He had no choice but to start his own company.

A small local company offered Tobi a job.

Interested.

He must sign papers to join the local company.

He needed a work permit when he signed the documents.

Tobi had no work permit.

He was allowed to stay in Canada while applying for permanent residency.

“I wasn’t illegal in the country, but my state didn’t give me a work permit. I talked to a lawyer and he told me it’s going to take a while until I get a permanent residency.”

Tobi's lawyer told him he cannot get a work visa without permanent residence.

His lawyer said something else intriguing.

Tobis lawyer advised him to start a business.

Tobi declined this local company's job offer because of this.

Tobi considered opening an internet store with his technical skills.

He sold snowboards online.

“I was thinking of setting up an online store software because I figured that would exist and use it as a way to sell snowboards…make money while snowboarding and hopefully have a good life.”

What brought Tobi and his co-founder together, and how did he support Tobi?

Tobi lived with his girlfriend's parents.

In Ottawa, Tobi encounters Scott Lake.

Scott was Tobis girlfriend's family friend and worked for Tobi's future employer.

Scott and Tobi snowboarded.

Tobi pitched Scott his snowboard sales software idea.

Scott liked the idea.

They planned a business together.

“I was looking after the technology and Scott was dealing with the business side…It was Scott who ended up developing relationships with vendors and doing all the business set-up.”

Issues they ran into when attempting to launch their business online

Neither could afford a long-term lease.

That prompted their online business idea.

They would open a store.

Tobi anticipated opening an internet store in a week.

Tobi seeks open-source software.

Most existing software was pricey.

Tobi and Scott couldn't afford pricey software.

“In 2004, I was sitting in front of my computer absolutely stunned realising that we hadn’t figured out how to create software for online stores.”

They required software to:

  • to upload snowboard images to the website.

  • people to look up the types of snowboards that were offered on the website. There must be a search feature in the software.

  • Online users transmit payments, and the merchant must receive them.

  • notifying vendors of the recently received order.

No online selling software existed at the time.

Online credit card payments were difficult.

How did they advance the software while keeping expenses down?

Tobi and Scott needed money to start selling snowboards.

Tobi and Scott funded their firm with savings.

“We both put money into the company…I think the capital we had was around CAD 20,000(Canadian Dollars).”

Despite investing their savings.

They minimized costs.

They tried to conserve.

No office rental.

They worked in several coffee shops.

Tobi lived rent-free at his girlfriend's parents.

He installed software in coffee cafes.

How were the software issues handled?

Tobi found no online snowboard sales software.

Two choices remained:

  1. Change your mind and try something else.

  2. Use his programming expertise to produce something that will aid in the expansion of this company.

Tobi knew he was the sole programmer working on such a project from the start.

“I had this realisation that I’m going to be the only programmer who has ever worked on this, so I don’t have to choose something that lots of people know. I can choose just the best tool for the job…There is been this programming language called Ruby which I just absolutely loved ”

Ruby was open-source and only had Japanese documentation.

Latin is the source code.

Tobi used Ruby twice.

He assumed he could pick the tool this time.

Why not build with Ruby?

How did they find their first time operating a business?

Tobi writes applications in Ruby.

He wrote the initial software version in 2.5 months.

Tobi and Scott founded Snowdevil to sell snowboards.

Tobi coded for 16 hours a day.

His lifestyle was unhealthy.

He enjoyed pizza and coke.

“I would never recommend this to anyone, but at the time there was nothing more interesting to me in the world.”

Their initial purchase and encounter with it

Tobi worked in cafes then.

“I was working in a coffee shop at this time and I remember everything about that day…At some time, while I was writing the software, I had to type the email that the software would send to tell me about the order.”

Tobi recalls everything.

He checked the order on his laptop at the coffee shop.

Pennsylvanian ordered snowboard.

Tobi walked home and called Scott. Tobi told Scott their first order.

They loved the order.

How were people made aware about Snowdevil?

2004 was very different.

Tobi and Scott attempted simple website advertising.

Google AdWords was new.

Ad clicks cost 20 cents.

Online snowboard stores were scarce at the time.

Google ads propelled the snowdevil brand.

Snowdevil prospered.

They swiftly recouped their original investment in the snowboard business because to its high profit margin.

Tobi and Scott struggled with inventories.

“Snowboards had really good profit margins…Our biggest problem was keeping inventory and getting it back…We were out of stock all the time.”

Selling snowboards returned their investment and saved them money.

They did not appoint a business manager.

They accomplished everything alone.

Sales dipped in the spring, but something magical happened.

Spring sales plummeted.

They considered stocking different boards.

They naturally wanted to add boards and grow the business.

However, magic occurred.

Tobi coded and improved software while running Snowdevil.

He modified software constantly. He wanted speedier software.

He experimented to make the software more resilient.

Tobi received emails requesting the Snowdevil license.

They intended to create something similar.

“I didn’t stop programming, I was just like Ok now let me try things, let me make it faster and try different approaches…Increasingly I got people sending me emails and asking me If I would like to licence snowdevil to them. People wanted to start something similar.”

Software or skateboards, your choice

Scott and Tobi had to choose a hobby in 2005.

They might sell alternative boards or use software.

The software was a no-brainer from demand.

Daniel Weinand is invited to join Tobi's business.

Tobis German best friend is Daniel.

Tobi and Scott chose to use the software.

Tobi and Scott kept the software service.

Tobi called Daniel to invite him to Canada to collaborate.

Scott and Tobi had quit snowboarding until then.

How was Shopify launched, and whence did the name come from?

The three chose Shopify.

Named from two words.

First:

  • Shop

Final part:

  • Simplify

Shopify

Shopify's crew has always had one goal:

  • creating software that would make it simple and easy for people to launch online storefronts.

Launched Shopify after raising money for the first time.

Shopify began fundraising in 2005.

First, they borrowed from family and friends.

They needed roughly $200k to run the company efficiently.

$200k was a lot then.

When questioned why they require so much money. Tobi told them to trust him with their goals. The team raised seed money from family and friends.

Shopify.com has a landing page. A demo of their goal was on the landing page.

In 2006, Shopify had about 4,000 emails.

Shopify rented an Ottawa office.

“We sent a blast of emails…Some people signed up just to try it out, which was exciting.”

How things developed after Scott left the company

Shopify co-founder Scott Lake left in 2008.

Scott was CEO.

“He(Scott) realized at some point that where the software industry was going, most of the people who were the CEOs were actually the highly technical person on the founding team.”

Scott leaving the company worried Tobi.

Tobis worried about finding a new CEO.

To Tobi:

A great VC will have the network to identify the perfect CEO for your firm.

Tobi started visiting Silicon Valley to meet with venture capitalists to recruit a CEO.

Initially visiting Silicon Valley

Tobi came to Silicon Valley to start a 20-person company.

This company creates eCommerce store software.

Tobi never wanted a big corporation. He desired a fulfilling existence.

“I stayed in a hostel in the Bay Area. I had one roommate who was also a computer programmer. I bought a bicycle on Craiglist. I was there for a week, but ended up staying two and a half weeks.”

Tobi arrived unprepared.

When venture capitalists asked him business questions.

He answered few queries.

Tobi didn't comprehend VC meetings' terminology.

He wrote the terms down and looked them up.

Some were fascinated after he couldn't answer all these queries.

“I ended up getting the kind of term sheets people dream about…All the offers were conditional on moving our company to Silicon Valley.”

Canada received Tobi.

He wanted to consult his team before deciding. Shopify had five employees at the time.

2008.

A global recession greeted Tobi in Canada. The recession hurt the market.

His term sheets were useless.

The economic downturn in the world provided Shopify with a fantastic opportunity.

The global recession caused significant job losses.

Fired employees had several ideas.

They wanted online stores.

Entrepreneurship was desired. They wanted to quit work.

People took risks and tried new things during the global slump.

Shopify subscribers skyrocketed during the recession.

“In 2009, the company reached neutral cash flow for the first time…We were in a position to think about long-term investments, such as infrastructure projects.”

Then, Tobi Lutke became CEO.

How did Tobi perform as the company's CEO?

“I wasn’t good. My team was very patient with me, but I had a lot to learn…It’s a very subtle job.”

2009–2010.

Tobi limited the company's potential.

He deliberately restrained company growth.

Tobi had one costly problem:

  • Whether Shopify is a venture or a lifestyle business.

The company's annual revenue approached $1 million.

Tobi battled with the firm and himself despite good revenue.

His wife was supportive, but the responsibility was crushing him.

“It’s a crushing responsibility…People had families and kids…I just couldn’t believe what was going on…My father-in-law gave me money to cover the payroll and it was his life-saving.”

Throughout this trip, everyone supported Tobi.

They believed it.

$7 million in donations received

Tobi couldn't decide if this was a lifestyle or a business.

Shopify struggled with marketing then.

Later, Tobi tried 5 marketing methods.

He told himself that if any marketing method greatly increased their growth, he would call it a venture, otherwise a lifestyle.

The Shopify crew brainstormed and voted on marketing concepts.

Tested.

“Every single idea worked…We did Adwords, published a book on the concept, sponsored a podcast and all the ones we tracked worked.”

To Silicon Valley once more

Shopify marketing concepts worked once.

Tobi returned to Silicon Valley to pitch investors.

He raised $7 million, valuing Shopify at $25 million.

All investors had board seats.

“I find it very helpful…I always had a fantastic relationship with everyone who’s invested in my company…I told them straight that I am not going to pretend I know things, I want you to help me.”

Tobi developed skills via running Shopify.

Shopify had 20 employees.

Leaving his wife's parents' home

Tobi left his wife's parents in 2014.

Tobi had a child.

Shopify has 80,000 customers and 300 staff in 2013.

Public offering in 2015

Shopify investors went public in 2015.

Shopify powers 4.1 million e-Commerce sites.

Shopify stores are 65% US-based.

It is currently valued at $48 billion.

Nick Nolan

Nick Nolan

1 year ago

In five years, starting a business won't be hip.

Photo by Daryan Shamkhali on Unsplash

People are slowly recognizing entrepreneurship's downside.

Growing up, entrepreneurship wasn't common. High school class of 2012 had no entrepreneurs.

Businesses were different.

They had staff and a lengthy history of achievement.

I never wanted a business. It felt unattainable. My friends didn't care.

Weird.

People desired degrees to attain good jobs at big companies.

When graduated high school:

  • 9 out of 10 people attend college

  • Earn minimum wage (7%) working in a restaurant or retail establishment

  • Or join the military (3%)

Later, entrepreneurship became a thing.

2014-ish

I was in the military and most of my high school friends were in college, so I didn't hear anything.

Entrepreneurship soared in 2015, according to Google Trends.

Screenshot from Google Trends

Then more individuals were interested. Entrepreneurship went from unusual to cool.

In 2015, it was easier than ever to build a website, run Facebook advertisements, and achieve organic social media reach.

There were several online business tools.

You didn't need to spend years or money figuring it out. Most entry barriers were gone.

Everyone wanted a side gig to escape the 95.

Small company applications have increased during the previous 10 years.

Screenshot from Oberlo

2011-2014 trend continues.

2015 adds 150,000 applications. 2016 adds 200,000. Plus 300,000 in 2017.

The graph makes it look little, but that's a considerable annual spike with no indications of stopping.

By 2021, new business apps had doubled.

Entrepreneurship will return to its early 2010s level.

I think we'll go backward in 5 years.

Entrepreneurship is half as popular as it was in 2015.

In the late 2020s and 30s, entrepreneurship will again be obscure.

Entrepreneurship's decade-long splendor is fading. People will cease escaping 9-5 and launch fewer companies.

That’s not a bad thing.

I think people have a rose-colored vision of entrepreneurship. It's fashionable. People feel that they're missing out if they're not entrepreneurial.

Reality is showing up.

People say on social media, "I knew starting a business would be hard, but not this hard."

More negative posts on entrepreneurship:

Screenshot from LinkedIn

Luke adds:

Is being an entrepreneur ‘healthy’? I don’t really think so. Many like Gary V, are not role models for a well-balanced life. Despite what feel-good LinkedIn tells you the odds are against you as an entrepreneur. You have to work your face off. It’s a tough but rewarding lifestyle. So maybe let’s stop glorifying it because it takes a lot of (bleepin) work to survive a pandemic, mental health battles, and a competitive market.

Entrepreneurship is no longer a pipe dream.

It’s hard.

I went full-time in March 2020. I was done by April 2021. I had a good-paying job with perks.

When that fell through (on my start date), I had to continue my entrepreneurial path. I needed money by May 1 to pay rent.

Entrepreneurship isn't as great as many think.

Entrepreneurship is a serious business.

If you have a 9-5, the grass isn't greener here. Most people aren't telling the whole story when they post on social media or quote successful entrepreneurs.

People prefer to communicate their victories than their defeats.

Is this a bad thing?

I don’t think so.

Over the previous decade, entrepreneurship went from impossible to the finest thing ever.

It peaked in 2020-21 and is returning to reality.

Startups aren't for everyone.

If you like your job, don't quit.

Entrepreneurship won't amaze people if you quit your job.

It's irrelevant.

You're doomed.

And you'll probably make less money.

If you hate your job, quit. Change jobs and bosses. Changing jobs could net you a greater pay or better perks.

When you go solo, your paycheck and perks vanish. Did I mention you'll fail, sleep less, and stress more?

Nobody will stop you from pursuing entrepreneurship. You'll face several challenges.

Possibly.

Entrepreneurship may be romanticized for years.

Based on what I see from entrepreneurs on social media and trends, entrepreneurship is challenging and few will succeed.