A laptop sitting on a wooden shelf with two potted plants and light bulbs either side. The laptop has the Shopify logo on its screen.
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Shopify tells staff to cut back on meetings, calling them ‘a bug’

4 Jan 2023

In 2022, Shopify joined other tech companies in laying off staff across the globe. It cut around 10pc of its total workforce.

E-commerce giant Shopify is cracking down on internal staff meetings in a company-wide policy that is reportedly due to come into effect on 5 January.

Shopify employees will be obliged to have less meetings under the new policy, which is being brought in to give the company’s staff back their “maker time”, Shopify COO Kaz Nejatian said on Twitter.

The company is telling workers to cancel all recurring meetings with more than two people, as well as enforcing a rule that Wednesdays are to be entirely free of meetings.

Large meetings with more than 50 staff will have to be held in a six-hour window on Thursdays. Overall, meetings are being discouraged by the company’s execs, with both the CEO Tobi Lutke and Nejatian referring to them as “a bug” in public statements they made on Twitter.

“The best thing founders can do is subtraction,” Lutke said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. “It’s much easier to add things than to remove things. If you say yes to a thing, you actually say no to every other thing you could have done with that period of time.

“As people add things, the set of things that can be done becomes smaller. Then, you end up with more and more people just maintaining the status quo,” he added.

Nejatian said in an email sent to employees that was seen by SiliconRepublic.com that, “People join Shopify to build. To make cool shit. To see the thing they had their hands on get released so they can say, ‘Whoa, I made that.’ Meetings are a bug along that journey. We are a company of builders and crafters. Do not forget this.”

Nejatian added that Shopify would be “super intentional” in its internal comms strategy for the coming year. The company’s primary method of communicating internally is Slack, while Workplace from Meta serves as its asynchronous comms layer, according to Nejatian.

He signed off his email with with an invitation for employees to follow him on Workplace, adding that this may be the last email they receive from him.

Commenting further on the decision to SiliconRepublic.com, a Shopify spokesperson said that supporting entrepreneurship was “at the heart” of everything the company does and the company is starting 2023 “with a ruthless internal prioritisation effort”.

“As we begin 2023, we’ve introduced changes to reimagine how we can make the biggest impact on our mission of making commerce better for everyone. Uninterrupted time is the most precious resource of a craftsperson, and we are giving our people a ‘no judgment zone’ to subtract, reject meetings, and focus on what is most valuable,” the spokesperson added.

Shopify employs many people on a remote-first basis and it went fully remote during the pandemic in 2020.

In 2021, the Canadian company went on a global hiring spree with plans to double its engineering staff. The hiring strategy included Ireland, which has a large cluster of Shopify staffers. The company enjoyed soaring revenues in 2021 thanks to lockdown shoppers.

The following year, however, saw Shopify join other tech companies in cutting its staff numbers amid a global economic downturn. It cut around 10pc of its staff globally.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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