Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke On Shopping = Mobile

What did you learn in 2012 that you will carry forth with you into 2013?

Macro, market lesson:

"One of the most interesting lessons we learned this year--very fast--was mobile. Last year leading up to Christmas, about 5% of sales were from mobile phones. The week after Christmas, they were already up to 10%. We thought this was absolutely incredible.

"When you think about e-commerce, you visualize a person sitting on a char, with a mouse and keyboard, looking at a monitor, clicking, putting in their credit card information, and now they've bought something online. For 1 in 10 people, that's already not true anymore.

"It's almost like the end of the '90s again. No on knew what it would look like in the future, and no one really knows now.

"By the middle of last year, we really thought we'd be an online store company, but now we're like 'what do we have to build for these devices?'

"The first thing we did this February was we bought an entire mobile development agency and we have been building some really amazing things, which will be released in the next couple months."

Micro, business lesson:

"Two years ago was the first time we took venture money. That year, we went from 30 people to about 90. This year, we went from 90 people to 130.

"People often joined us because we were a small company.

"What we're trying to do is we want to prove in a way that there is a false dichotomy--that being a startup is a state of mind rather than a measure of size, and there's a lot of mistakes in the process.

"It's really easy to make it so everyone in the company knows what everyone else is doing [in a small company], but how do you do the same thing with 130 people? It's been a personal learning opportunity, I've learned that you have to constantly communicate what it's all about at weekly meet-ups and doing events to reproduce that [small business feeling].

"It's been interesting how much you have to over-communicate things to make the message get across. Engineers are especially bad for over-communicating. We dislike repeating ourselves."

More Lessons for 2013 from some of today's most innovative business thought leaders here.

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