R|T: The Retail Times – Who gets a raise inside Shopify’s employee scoring system?

Shopify building
Plus: How Amazon has been spying on rivals.

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Shopify Employees Go Head to Head for Raises in New Ranking System

In recent months, Shopify has been assigning employees a numerical score to represent their skill level, known as their mastery in Shopify lingo.

Only people whose scores increase in a given review period are eligible for raises, the people said.

The new mastery score builds on a stack ranking system Shopify introduced about a year ago, around the same time it announced it would no longer pay employees more just because they are managers and would reduce the number of managers overall. Workers were given the option of picking if they wanted to be individual contributors—known as “crafters” at the company—or managers.

(The Information)

Shein’s Canadian delivery partner UniUni secures nearly $70 million CAD

Richmond, British Columbia-based last-mile delivery startup UniUni has secured $50 million USD ($69 million CAD) in Series C financing.

The round was led by venture capital firm DCM and will be used to develop the proprietary tech stack powering UniUni’s logistics platform and to expand its delivery coverage in the United States, UniUni founder and CEO Peter Lu said in a statement.


Inside Amazon’s Secret Operation to Gather Intel on Rivals

Born out of a 2015 plan code named “Project Curiosity,” Big River uses its sales across multiple countries to obtain pricing data, logistics information and other details about rival e-commerce marketplaces, logistics operations and payments services, according to people familiar with Big River and corporate documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal. The team then shared that information with Amazon to incorporate into decisions about its own business.

They were given non-Amazon email addresses to use externally—in emails with people at Amazon, they used Amazon email addresses—and took other extraordinary measures to keep the project secret. They disseminated their reports to Amazon executives using printed, numbered copies rather than email. Those who worked on the project weren’t even supposed to discuss the relationship internally with most teams at Amazon.

The story of Big River offers new insight into Amazon’s elaborate efforts to stay ahead of rivals.

(The Wall Street Journal)

DMZ receives $500,000 grant to expand Basecamp program for student entrepreneurs

DMZ has received $500,000 CAD from the Embark Student Foundation’s Major Grant Program to expand its student-focused entrepreneurship programming.

The Toronto-based incubator specifically plans to expand Basecamp, its hybrid summer entrepreneurship program that helps students turn their ideas into tech solutions for social or economic challenges.


Nordstrom family tries again to take department store private, forms special committee

The Nordstrom family is once again considering taking the department store private and has formed a special committee to evaluate bids, it announced on Thursday.

The announcement comes as department stores face an uncertain future and grapple with declining sales. Many of the brands that have long relied on department stores to drive their revenue are now focusing on their own stores and websites and are less interested in working with wholesalers.


What’s in #Budget2024 for Canadian tech?

The federal government published its 2024 budget this past week and the reaction from Canadian tech was immediate and loud.

Ottawa unveiled new measures on open banking, including an updated timeline on real-time payment rails and new funding allocations to FCAC and the Department of Finance, but FinTech leaders say “the devil is in the details.”

Following calls from Canadian business leaders, Budget 2024 also announced the government’s plan to establish a working group led by former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz aimed at encouraging Canada’s pension funds to make more investments in Canada.

But the biggest reaction came in response to proposed changes to the capital gains tax, which would lift the inclusion rate businesses pay on capital gains from 50 percent to 66.7 percent. Hundreds of Canadian tech leaders signed an open letter calling on Ottawa to claw back the changes, while others said they believe the reaction is a distraction and “hysteria.”

Still haven’t taken a look at #Budget2024?

BetaKit’s roundup has everything you need to know.

As tech talent crunch persists, Indeed’s Iain Hamilton on how companies can fill seats faster

Recent data from Indeed found that as of the end of January, 27 percent of tech jobs in Canada remained open for 60 days or more.

To Indeed’s VP of software engineering Iain Hamilton, it’s an intriguing time in the tech industry.

Despite a less favourable economy, the thirst for tech talent hasn’t waned. In fact, Hamilton said the economic landscape has resulted in fewer individuals actively seeking new opportunities, leading to a tight talent pool, and challenges for businesses looking to fill roles.


Exclusive: How Fantuan built a niche product that’s become North America’s largest Asian food delivery platform

Fantuan, the food delivery-turned-life services platform, has come a long way since being founded in Burnaby in 2014. To date, the company operates in four countries, has two million registered accounts, and has raised over USD $90 million from investors, including Alibaba co-founder Eddie Wu.

In hopes of encouraging more immigrant, minority, and young entrepreneurs to seize opportunities and dream big, Fantuan’s co-founder, Yaofei Feng chatted with [Vancouver Tech Journal] about his journey in joining the company and building the MVP, insights and tips for others wanting to build a niche product, and why people should rethink what innovation is.

(Vancouver Tech Journal)

What Alberta Innovates learned from sending 50 local startups to SXSW

Last month, Alberta Innovates sent a delegation of 50 local tech startups to the conference. This wasn’t the delegation’s inaugural trip; an initial foray in 2023 catalyzed millions of dollars in deals for the startups involved.

According to Tim Murphy, vice president of the health division of Alberta Innovates, the Crown corporation had a clear objective going into this year’s conference.

Murphy, who joined the Alberta delegation this year, sat down with BetaKit to talk about the organization’s strategy for the 2024 SXSW delegation, how the experience went, and the impact it’s hoped to create for the province’s tech sector.


Amazon HQ2 was supposed to add jobs last year. It shed them instead.

Amazon has fallen so far behind schedule in creating new jobs at its Northern Virginia headquarters that its workforce at those offices shrank last year, the company confirmed, showing how the project that it had pitched as an economic jolt is instead hitting a slowdown.

The company was expected to gradually add 25,000 new jobs at HQ2 by the end of the decade, according to its agreement with Virginia, and receive money from the commonwealth as it hit annual hiring targets — such as 2,665 new jobs last year.

Instead, Amazon lost hundreds of existing positions in Arlington in 2023 — a sharp turnaround that executives attributed to layoffs and a hiring slump across the company.

(The Washington Post)

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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