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I’m not sure. I don’t know how many hours they spend in it. I think this is an important topic. I don’t think this is something to take lightly. And I think the responsibility of the platform is to take this seriously. But I think the right way to do it is to create a set of parameters that says, “This is okay, and this is not.” So this way, when an issue comes to you, you’re not immediately reacting to it on your heels. But rather, you say, “This is the framework. Put it through the framework.” And more times than not, the framework works.
Now, sometimes we may miss something, and we’ll get better at missing less and less over time. But the AUP, we think, is the best way for us to have a really good litmus test of what is acceptable and what is not.
I ask all the executives who come on the show about decision-making frameworks. You started at Shopify, you were actually a seller using some of Shopify’s software once upon a time, now you’re the president. This market has exploded, the company is now a public company. How has your decision-making framework changed, and how do you make some of the monumental decisions Shopify has to make, about where and when it will compete?
Well first of all, to your point, my introduction to Shopify was, I was one of the first merchants on the platform. I was in law school, and I needed to make some money. And my business that I had in college was able to, it was a T-shirt business, but it was more wholesale. I sold T-shirts to universities, like promotional T-shirts for frosh week and bookstore apparel and stuff. That worked great in college where you didn’t have to show up to class, you just showed up for the exam. But in law school, I assume it was the same case for you, they actually took attendance in law school. And so, I couldn’t run this business.
I had the really great fortune of meeting Tobi [Lutke] when I moved to Ottawa to go to law school; he’s the founder of Shopify. And so I met him and I said, “Look, I want to start a T-shirt business, direct-to-consumer, totally virtual. I need it to run concurrently while I’m in class.” And he told me about Shopify, so I became one of the first merchants. I’ve been at Shopify now for about a third of my life, just about 12 years.
And so, in the early days of any company, I think most early, early employees, you kind of play the role of a bit of a Swiss Army knife. Because you’re ingesting so much information, there’s so much to do. I don’t think you have the freedom, or at least I didn’t have the sophistication, to really think about decision-making frameworks. It was like drinking from a fire hose, and you just have to react as quickly as possible.