On May 6 2020, at the market’s closing bell, Ottawa-based ecommerce provider Shopify had displaced RBC as Canada’s largest company by market cap. In the midst of the pandemic, it was the start of a meteoric rise—that hasn’t lasted.
“This announcement communicated two things: this thing we’re getting rid of isn’t primary to our mission—it’s a side quest, we don’t actually care about this; and we have a cultural problem at our company with who we’ve hired and what they’re focused on.”
The company’s share price is back down to its pre-pandemic levels, and in the last year, Shopify has laid off first 10 and then 20 percent of its staff. That last deep cut came earlier this month as it also sold off its logistics division, which the company spent billions developing, including acquisitions of Deliverr and 6 River Systems.
And it’s not like that pandemic rise was a smooth ride. Since March 2020, at least 12 senior leaders have departed the company, including three C-suite execs since September of last year. Many other longtime and respected leaders were let go in the last round of cuts.
Now, this episode isn’t a concern troll. It’s unlikely that Canada’s still largest tech company is going anywhere. But what comes next for Shopify is an interesting question—particularly as it is now approaching its 20th birthday and 10 years as a publicly traded tech company.
That question kicks off a variety of other interesting questions: about Shopify’s intersection points with Amazon, what makes the product so great, what the company’s leadership cares about, and whether or not Shopify is a victim of tall poppy syndrome in Canada.
Helping us answer most of these questions, or perhaps provide an informed vibe check, is Madeline Stone, retail and e-commerce writer for Business Insider. Let’s dig in.
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