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Shopify flys in from Ottawa to speak at VeloCity

Cody Fraser the CTO of Shopify recently flew in from Vancouver to stop by VeloCity, along with his fellow co-workers Julie and Jesse, to speak with our students and give them valuable advice.

Cody began his talk with a question; why the students in VeloCity wanted to work in a start-up? After he listened to the thoughts and reasons our students listed, Cody described why he chose the start-up route rather than working in a corporate office. Some of his reasons include:

  • It’s an accelerator on your career with no one holding you back.
  • You have the ability to scale your business and technology to solve problem if the business is not successful.
  • One of the Shopify stores hit 1 million dollars in 24 hours, which was a huge confidence booster.
  • Needed to become comfortable with letting go of the code he wrote for users and push out products to the public, thereby becoming more confident in his own code.
  • Becoming the master of your own destiny makes his job really rewarding, especially when Shopify changed the way e-commerce works.

Shopify was originally called Snow Devil. Tobias Lütke the founder and CEO of Shopify wanted to open a snowboarding shop, which required the aid of an ecommerce service. He looked around for simplicity and design; however, it was hard to come by, so being a software developer he began writing code to create his own ecommerce business. Now with 50 employees, an app store and 12000 active shops, Shopify is doing extremely well by choosing to focus on users and design, which differentiates them from their competitors.

Cody ended his talk with a few pieces of advice:

  • Work fast and be confident in your software, don’t be afraid to put something out there or take it out if it doesn’t work. Shopify philosophy is to ask customers what they want and resist the urge to be a perfectionist.
  • Be agile by using technology to your advantage.
  • Giving developers more responsibilities will ultimately make them better developers.
  • Always look at your competitors and their mistakes or gains to problem solve.
  • Balance your vision and the suggestions made by your customers so you constantly follow your road map.

Interested in learning more about Shopify, visit: and follow them on twitter @shopify