20VC: Shopify Founder Tobi Lütke on Why Micromanagement is Good | Why You Will Learn More From Studying World of Warcraft Guilds Than You Will Companies | Why Happiness is BS; Lessons on Marriage, Fatherhood & Decision-Making Quality

Posted on 3rd April 2023 by Harry

Tobi Lütke is the CEO and Co-Founder of Shopify, the powerhouse company allowing anyone to start and grow their e-commerce business. Over an incredible 18 years, Tobi has scaled Shopify to 10% of total US e-commerce, millions of merchants in over 170 countries, and a market cap today of over $60BN. Huge thanks to Harley Finkelstein for making this happen.

Episode Transcript

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In Today’s Episode with Tobi Lütke We Discuss:

1. From a Small German Town to One of the World’s Most Powerful CEOs:

  • What did Tobi want to be when he was growing up?
  • Who did Tobi learn most from in his younger years? How does Tobi think about the importance of mentorship in learning?
  • What does Tobi know now that he wishes he had known when he started Shopify?

2. You Can Learn More from World of Warcraft Than You Can Companies:

  • Why does Tobi believe you can learn more from World of Warcraft than you can from studying companies?
  • Why does Tobi believe that humans are terrible at company building? What are the most obvious ways we can improve the quality of the companies we build?
  • Why does Tobi believe that in-person is far superior to remote working? What are the nuances?

3. The Best Companies Operate with Many Constraints:

  • Why does Tobi believe in all cases, constraints produce creativity?
  • What is the difference between an enforced constraint and an artificial constraint?
  • How can leaders create and enforce artificial constraints when they are not real?
  • How do the best leaders use constraints to ensure their companies move faster and faster?

4. Inside the Mind of Tobi Lütke: Decision-Making & Prioritisation:

  • How does Tobi reflect on his own decision-making process? How has it changed?
  • Why does Tobi believe that sunk cost fallacy is BS and only leads to your outsourcing approval to someone else?
  • Why does Tobi hate “black boxes”? How does he remove them from the org entirely?
  • How does Tobi decide what to learn? What is his learning process once he has made this decision?
  • How does Tobi decide what to prioritise in terms of strategic initiatives for Shopify?

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