Today, we’re dramatically changing the shape of Shopify to bring undivided attention to our mission. There are several consequences for this and I don’t want to bury the lead: after today Shopify will be 20% smaller and Flexport will buy Shopify Logistics; This means some of you will be leaving Shopify today. I understand the devastating impact this decision will have on some of you, and I have not made this decision lightly.
Within the next 5 minutes, you will receive a follow-up that will tell you if you are affected. There’s no way to make this good news, but we’ve designed a package that tries to make it as bad a day version as possible. I’ve included details on how we’ll do that for you below.
Our main missions
Shopify finds it useful to talk about the difference between core missions and side missions. The main mission of the company is the mission, the reason for the existence of the company. Side missions are everything. Side missions are always a distraction because the company needs to be distracted. Sometimes this can be useful, especially when engaging in side quests that make the main quest more successful.
In the beginning, they pay a lot of attention as small start-up companies. It is often said that big companies are slower, but this is not because of their size, but because of all the side missions and distractions that accumulate along the way. This is because large firms can be somewhat inefficient, especially during periods of steady economic growth. But when you want to adapt to some new styles, you can’t. They will be replaced by more focused competitors or will fail.
For the past year, we’ve been cutting back on everything that goes into making the best product. This is extremely important, because we are entering a decade of high speed and great change. We need speed, efficiency and great innovation.
Shopify’s core mission is to make business easier, simpler, more democratic, more engaging, and more common. I think we have built the best trading platform in the world for this. Technological progress always leads to simplicity, and entrepreneurs are more successful when we simplify. But now we’re at the dawn of the AI era and new capabilities unlocked like never before. Shopify has the potential to be among the companies with the best chance of using AI to help our customers. A co-pilot for entrepreneurship is now possible. Our main mission is to build the best thing from us right now It is possible, and that has completely changed.
Building a logistics infrastructure is a side mission that every ecommerce entrepreneur is ultimately drawn to because of the way the logistics industry works: different players, all focused on different aspects. You work with very carefully designed software to run your store. To process logistics, they often use pen, paper and phone calls. And often your service providers don’t talk to each other. It is your responsibility to coordinate them to work together.
Instead of each merchant taking on their own side quests individually, Shopify decided to accept them on their behalf. We are ready to build an addressable logistics software that never existed before.
Logistics was obviously an important side mission for us, and it began to create the conditions for the success of our main mission. From the beginning, we work with many partners on all the same problems: warehouses, robotics, transport, cross, cargo. Through software, leasing and M&A deals, we built step-by-step a solution that could one day become an independent company. Shopify was the right place to launch this effort from 0 to 1 and we did. The next step is to take what we have and go from 1 to N as the main mission.
Today we’re announcing that Flexport will be acquiring Shopify Logistics to become Shopify’s preferred logistics partner. Flexport, led by CEO Dave Clark and Founder Ryan Peterson, is the premier developer and operator in the logistics world. Contributing our work to Flexport under the leadership of Harish Abbott allows everything about Showify Logistics to be inherently greater and more global. Making global supply chains efficient and addressable with software is Flexport’s core mission, and this is the perfect home for this part of Shopify.
Managers and craftsmen
Shopify thinks of itself as a crafter-centric company. It’s the workers who create the words, bytes, pixels and floating-point weights that enable millions of entrepreneurs to build their businesses and hundreds of millions of buyers to transact on the platform. Artisans are experts in their fields and rely on self-motivation. We do not rely on management to be task masters. The role of a craftsman is to bring everything together to build a unique masterpiece.
The role of managers is different. Great managers take individuals and turn them into teams, break the ice, remove barriers, eliminate ambiguity, help artisans do their best and most creatively, and above all, make sure artisans’ amazing work is aligned with the roadmap and impactful to the business.
Management Track and Customer Tracks are handled separately on Shopify. The balance of craftsman and manager numbers is difficult to strike. Too few and you risk inconsistencies in the most important things, too many and you add cumbersome procedures, approvals, meetings and… side missions. As in most tech industries, our numbers weren’t healthy. One of the subtle consequences of this is that the company values activities rather than craft-driven results. At Real Numbers we focus entirely on results and impact.
Better fit for purpose Shopify is focused on its core mission with a smaller scope, fewer assemblies and more shipping features for our merchants.
For those going out today.
Everyone deals with this in their own way, and it’s hard for everyone, affected or not.
For those who leave today, you will receive a minimum of 16 weeks of severance plus one week for each year at Shopify. Medical benefits and access to our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) are covered during this period. If you need it, we offer a moving service, and all the office supplies we provide are yours. We legally want the work laptop back, but we can help pay for a new one to replace it. If you choose to go the entrepreneurial route in the future, you’ll have free access to Shopify’s advanced plan.
You will have an opportunity to talk more about this when you meet with a leader later today. We’re opening up Slack and internal emails to everyone today so we can share goodbyes. A big thank you to all of you for everything you do for Shopify and our merchants.
Fit for purpose
This is a tough, tough week. It’s the right thing to do for Shopify, but it negatively impacts many of the team members we admire and love working with. This is one of those times when both right and hard are true at the same time. My belief is that any sustainable company makes a habit of doing the right thing, even if they present themselves with easy exits. But making that kind of decision isn’t easy, and I hope it never is.
Shopify is stocked with highly skilled merchant addicts. Craftsmen They are given the best technology and tools to grow and develop their skills in the best possible environment. Managers They are incredibly dedicated to building teams and managing. Inspiring tools and systems reduce the coordination tax. And everyone At Shopify, it’s looking for a single, focused core mission – our ambition is greater than ever.
“The most important thing is to protect the most important thing.”
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