My guest today is Harley Finkelstein. Harley is the President of Shopify and has been with the company since its early years. He is a lawyer by training but an entrepreneur by calling and that is the focus of our discussion. We discuss the different dimensions of entrepreneurship and Shopify’s role in promoting it, as well as exploring the company’s transition to public markets, and what the last few years have been like. Please enjoy my discussion with Harley Finkelstein.
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[00:02:26] - [First question] - His interpretation and definition of a person’s life's work
[00:05:50] - The story of the riverstone and the average polished executive
[00:08:36] - The thing he can’t help but do; and focusing on our compulsions
[00:13:12] - How he would boil things down to the most simple entrepreneurial formula; Distilled
[00:16:38] - What is harder and easier about new business formation today
[00:21:03] - The countervailing forces for small-to-medium business entrepreneurship
[00:24:31] - What he’s learned about operationalizing ideas and mentor lessons
[00:29:08] - A piece of fortune cookie advice that he finds terrible
[00:30:49] - How Brands Grow; his philosophy on marketing & distribution
[00:35:27] - The most effective distribution strategies he’s seen work in Shopify that might be portable to other businesses
[00:38:43] - What it was like getting their first app developer for the Shopify app store
[00:41:17] - The state of ecommerce today writ large and what trends are interesting
[00:45:46] - Lessons learned about the digital places that people are buying
[00:49:06] - What it’s been like as an executive working at a company that had their stock price explode over the pandemic
[00:52:25] - Tips for communicating effectively with Wall Street
[00:54:14] - An investor that stands out in memory that really impressed him
[00:55:10] - Important aspects of his world that are worth mentioning
[00:57:04] - Lessons learned about motivating people through DJing
[00:59:12] - Whether or not reading the crowd can apply to business
[01:03:49] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for him