Tips on Scaling Company Culture from Shopify

If you had to look at a Canadian technology company who’s pretty much mastered the art and science of company culture (at scale!), you’d probably turn your eyes to Ottawa’s Shopify.

The company’s storied path saw it retain a startup-like culture even as it reached the public market. Any entrepreneur will attest: that’s impressive.

In an interview with Canadian Business Editor-in-Chief James Cowan, Shopify’s Harley Finkelstein explains how the company has managed to accomplish such a feat.

“Most people assume a great culture is having a cool office or really great perks . . . But what really defines whether somebody is a fit for your company is how they act when nobody’s watching,” he says. “What do they do when they are left to their own devices? It’s not about how they act when they know the right answer. It’s about how they act when they don’t know the answer.”

In terms of hiring, he says, “I don’t want the guy who played on the tennis team; I want the guy who created the tennis team.”

With four offices, Finkelstein notes that “I can’t sit around one table with the entire team and have pizza and talk about the future of the company.” But, he adds, “we don’t have one office culture—we’re multicultural.”

Check out the full interview.