How Shopify turns ideas into insights

Robleh Jama, Shopify

In these unprecedented times, entrepreneurs need all the help they can get. BetaKit has teamed up with Microsoft for Startups on a new series called Just One Thing, where startup founders and tech leaders share the ‘one thing’ they want the next generation of entrepreneurs to learn.

Last week, Shopify released its new consumer-facing shopping assistant app. Called Shop, the new app is actually an evolution of Shopify’s old Arrive delivery tracking app.

“I actually hate the word idea. It’s been tainted. It’s got a bad brand.”
– Robleh Jama,
Shopify senior product lead

Shopify’s iterative process is a familiar one to senior product lead Robleh Jama. In the video below, Jama explains how most startups fall short by focusing on the wrong goals.

“Most people think about startups or business, they think the first step is coming up with an idea,” he says. “Actually, I don’t think that’s the first step. I actually hate the word idea. It’s been tainted. It’s got a bad brand.”

Instead, Jama says startups should be focused on insights. “If you look at a lot of the great companies, and the most enduring companies, they started off with a unique insight.”

Developing those insights from early ideas requires stress testing, which can be a painful process of iteration. In fact, Jama says the pain is part of the process.

“You need to Mike Tyson punch your ideas in the face until you prove they’re good ideas and strong insights.”

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.