So you want to leave the mothership: follow up

Last week, I wrote a post about my time after leaving Shopify. I received a bunch of feedback – almost all of it positive. There was some negative feedback that I’ve heard, both directly and through the proverbial grapevine, that I want to address.

  1. I’m not attempting to convince anyone to leave their job, Shopifolk or otherwise. I do think, though, that there’s a feeling at many big companies that this is “as good as it gets”. Using the Shopify example is particularly easy – Ottawa isn’t exactly known as a tech hub, so I get the impression people feel like if they want a great job, they have limited options. I used to feel this way too – it was either Shopify, or move away. This is no longer the case, and shouldn’t be a reason to stay if you’re feeling antsy. Remote work has opened up tons of opportunities, and there’s companies in Ottawa worth working for.
  2. I heard someone say that they disliked that I said I “was Partnerships”. I have no illusions of being incredibly important at Shopify. I could have sworn in writing this post that I had used “lowercase-p partnerships”, but looking back I used “Partnerships”. My intention was to use the lowercase form to enforce that I thought I was hot-shit and knew everything about the discipline then received a wake up call, not that I thought I was the foundation of the team. This was a mistake and not what I meant to put forward.
  3. I also got some pushback around my thesis that there are people at Shopify who succeed despite being bad at their job. First: I tried to put at least the possibility forward of myself being in that camp. I think the point stands that when a company is growing incredibly fast, it can cover up for a lot of errors in decision making, performance, etc. Also: there are totally people at Shopify who are bad at their job and still succeed. They’re fairly easy to identify, especially retroactively. It would be impossible to hire 5000 people and not have some underperformers who are good at playing The Game. I stand by this point.