Behind the Scenes

Live Tour Of Shopify’s New HQ in Ottawa

by Ezra Firestone



The way we consume the digital medium is rapidly evolving. Online commerce is exploding.

And I’m taking you behind the scenes at the company that’s at the center of it all: Shopify Headquarters.

Shopify isn’t just an ecommerce platform. It’s a commerce platform. They’ve processed billions of dollars in transactions on their platform this year, and they’re growing fast.

I want to show you what’s happening behind the scenes at this amazing company.

They’ve created a working environment that is representative of the creativity, craftsmanship and artisan culture of Shopify.

More importantly, they take care of their employees. That results in people who are happy and enthusiastic, which results in better customer service.

And most importantly, the place is awesome! Come check it out.

Video Highlights:
0:01 The way we are consuming the digital medium is constantly evolving
0:25 Online commerce is exploding
0:45 Shopify sits at the center of the commerce revolution
1:05 Behind the scenes at Shopify: “The Mothership”
1:40 Shopify isn’t just an ecommerce platform, they’re a commerce platform
2:05 Shopify is the best at the commerce component, then they layer on
3:25 Meet Adam, Shopify Affiliate Manager
4:15 Who am I?
4:45 Shopify is also an education company (Check out the Shopify Blog)
5:30 When you’re at Shopify, be sure that you’re being very serious
7:00 Shopify takes care of their employees, and that turns into great customer support
7:55 You can easily access any department
8:20 Shopify is growing incredibly fast
8:45 Our final stop: a tour of the Sharpee room
9:45 Outro (more of Shopify HQ)



Click Here For Video Transcript

Desktop computers. Laptop computers. Carrying the internet around with you. Carrying the internet around with you. Wearable technology. Augmented reality.

The way that we are consuming the digital medium is constantly involving. We are spending more and more time on the internet as a culture. And as a result of that and a few other things, we are making more purchase decisions. We’re buying more online.

Online commerce is exploding. It’s gone from 4% of all the transactions happening online in North America in 2008 to 8% in 2014, and it’s predicted to double again by 2019.

It’s incredible what’s happening. We’re witnessing this evolution in how we relate as a society and at the center of the commerce side of that, sits one company. And we’re there today, in Ottawa, Canada. Where somedays last year, it was colder than the moon!

I’m going to take you being the scenes at Shopify. The mothership, the foundation of this online commerce thing that is happening that you participate in. So let’s go and take a look at it.

Part of what makes Shopify special, is that they’re not just an online commerce platform. They are a commerce platform. Meaning, if you sell stuff at a farmers market, you can use the Shopify platform to process transactions. They process billions of dollars on their platform this year.

They’re taking care of their employees. Everyone here is happy and enthusiastic and having a good time. And they feel like they’re part of something, because they are.

What makes Shopify special is that they’re so good at the commerce component, the have two hundred thousand active stores at the moment. And what they then do is they layer on the other elements that make a good online shopping experience.

They have an app network. The widest third party app network that allows you to layer on things that make it easier for you to offer your product and your services as a merchant, as someone who sells things to other people.

So we’re in the cafe here. At any given time, you have a variety of milks. Should you need 1%, should you need 2%. There’s a diversity of milk culture here at Shopify. So I just wanted to show you that, and we’ll continue on.

Here at Shopify, every floor has a theme. This is the speakeasy floor, where everything is sort of old bar-ish. I’m going to take you to meet my friend who is hosting us and allow me to give you this tour. His name is Adam. He’s amazing. Let’s go in and meet him.

Ezra: Thanks for showing me around.

Adam: Absolutely. Hey guys.

Ezra: This is the community here. So where are we right now?

Adam: This room is called Moonshine. Like you said, it’s all speakeasy. So it’s kind of like an old school bar nickname.

Ezra: What is your roll in this thing?

Adam: I’m one of their affiliate managers. So for people like yourself, who refer Shopify customers, I handle those relationships. Anyone who has a blog or a podcast that talks about ecommerce or business, I help out with these things.

Ezra: If that’s you, listener, let me know!

You know, I realize I have not told you who I am. Like, who is this guy who is taking me through Shopify?

My name is Ezra Firestone. I’m a professor at the Shopify eCommerce University. And I run my own multi-million dollar Shopify ecommerce stores. One of the interesting things about Shopify… Here I am in the executive board room, by the way… One of the interesting things is that they are not only a commerce company, they’ve turned into an education company as well. And one of the things I do aside from my ecommerce businesses, is education.

I have a training company where I create courses and experiences and coaching for ecommerce merchants. And Shopify has the Shopify eCommerce University, and the Shopify Blog which is the premier place in the world for information on how to be a successful retailer online today.

So, beyond their commerce platform, their education and training component with their blog is world class. I highly recommend you check that out as well. We’ll link to it under the video.

We are here at Shopify’s front desk, okay… So, I have commandeered a trolly cart that I can use to show you through here. When you come to Shopify as a visitor, you sign in right here at the from desk. They have you fill out a little iPad thing here. You tap it, put in your first name and last name. We’ve got a special level of access, you and I.

So we don’t have to do all this extra stuff. It’s an official place, though. Very official around here. You’ve got logos and iPads and trolly carts. So when you come and visit, make sure you’re being very serious.

One of the things that Shopify does really well is take care of their employees. On every level there is a breakfast section. You can eat anywhere at anytime, you can eat. They’ve got ping pong! They make it really comfortable and easy to work here. And one of the reasons they have such great customer support is that the people who are working here are happy and well taken care of. They’re enthusiastic and excited, and are therefore better to Shopify’s customers.

We have a center column that goes up, and each floor wraps around it. There’s nooks everywhere I go where I can nap in. So, they’re working hard here, and if they need a nap they can just hop down and take a rest anywhere you are. And what’s cool is that you can walk down the hallways and you’ve got development, then customers service, then Shopify Plus… If you need access to any part of the company, the different teams are accessible to you.

This was once the server room. And this office has only existed for 8 months and it’s already no longer the server room because they grew out of it. One these screens you used to be able to see al the servers and what we going on, and it was for people to monitor the uptime of the servers. And, of course, the uptime was almost flawless. But my point is, this place is growing fast. There’s 1000+ employees now in the company. And the server room is no longer the server room, now it’s a training facility.

The final stop of our tour here at Shopify, is the the Sharpee Room. Everything you see here was done in hand, by hand, in Sharpee. And I think that’s a representation of the creativity, the craftsmanship and artisan culture that is Shopify. Everything from the commerce platform to the education to the people who work here… It’s a very special place and a very special company.

Thank you so much Shopify, and Adamand everyone here… Harley and Dan and Mark and everyone else, for your hospitality and for caring so much. And creating such an awesome product that changes so many peoples’ lives. I really appreciate it. I’m so happy to be here. And I hope you’ve enjoyed, listener, going on a little bit of a tour of this company with me and checking out what they’re up to.

It’s been fun! I’ll see you in the next one.

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