Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke says new era requires “speed, agility and innovation” | People to Watch 2023

Tobias Lütke

Founder and CEO


Tobias “Tobi” Lütke is CEO and co-founder of Shopify, the shopping cart system of the e-commerce industry which runs online stores in more than 175 countries. He founded Shopify in Ottawa, Canada in 2004 and currently owns 7% of the company, which went public in 2015.

Lütke grew up in Germany, where he learned to code by age 12, and left school at 16 to enter a computer programming apprenticeship. He moved from Germany to Canada in 2002. His current estimated net worth, according to Forbes magazine, is $5.1 billion. Prior to becoming CEO of Shopify, Lütke served as the company’s chief technology officer between 2004 and April 2008.

Earlier this year, Lütke and other executives at Shopify made the decision to lay off 20% of the company’s workforce, its second round of layoffs after a reduction of 10% announced in July 2022.

In a blog post to employees, Lütke said, “For the past year we’ve been subtracting everything that’s in the way of making the best possible product. This is extremely important, because we are heading into a decade of high velocity and massive change. We will require speed, agility and a great deal of innovation … Shopify has the privilege of being amongst the companies with the best chances of using AI to help our customers.”

To this end, Lütke recently announced the addition of Sidekick AI customer service automation for Shopify.

“Imagine how much more entrepreneurship there would be in the world if everyone would have someone by their side who is deeply competent, totally committed to you, available around the clock, with no judgment, with no fear, knowing everything there is about Shopify and entrepreneurship writ large,” Lütke said, adding that Sidekick AI is built to hold natural and dynamic conversations with customers and talk just like a human.

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