Shopify Memos tells employees to cancel meetings for at least two weeks

Tech giant Shopify announced in a memo sent to employees on January 3 that all employees will be canceling most of their meetings for at least two weeks.

“No one came to Shopify to attend the conference,” Kaz Nejatian, the company’s vice president of products and chief operating officer, said in a memo Shopify provided to the Epoch Times. wrote.

“We’re starting the new year with some useful subtractions. It’s freed us up from a tremendous amount of meeting time and unlocked an incredible amount of maker time,” he said. I told my employees.

Staff were instructed to cross off their calendars any recurring meetings involving three or more people and to keep Wednesdays “no meetings” for at least two weeks.

“Be really, really critical of what you’re adding,” said Nejatian. He said no one at the company thought entrepreneurship would involve “a back-to-back meeting on a daily basis.”

“People are coming to Shopify to build,” he continued. “Meetings are bugs along the way. We are a company of builders and crafters. Don’t forget this.”

Shopify spokesperson Alex Lyon told The Epoch Times that the company plans to remove about 10,000 events, which equates to about 76,500 hours of meetings.

In addition to canceling recurring meetings and meetings on Wednesday, Shopify will go beyond the narrow scope of only allowing meetings on Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. deleting everything.


“We are starting 2023 with a ruthless internal prioritization effort,” Nejatian said in a statement provided to the Epoch Times. Staff said they had to accommodate the changes.

“Uninterrupted time is the craftsman’s most precious resource. We give them ‘zones,'” said Nejatian.

Shopify CEO and founder Tobi Lutke said in a statement provided to The Epoch Times: But in practice it doesn’t help at all. It is during those uncomfortable times that intensive learning and growth takes place.

“So what I try to create is an environment where almost everyone around me feels uncomfortable all the time, because I’m dragging them into the next box,” Lutke said.

Epoch Times photo
Shopify CEO Tobias Lutke in this May 29, 2019 photo. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

He said the best thing a founder can do is “subtract.”

“It is much easier to add something than to remove something. I would say “no” to it. The set of things you can do gets smaller as people add things. As a result, more and more people will continue to maintain the status quo. ”


Nejatian acknowledged that this may feel chaotic for staff. He said, “This means there will be casualties (important meetings disrupted),” and that “deliberate disruption is fine…it’s part of working and thriving at Shopify.” I was.

Shopify was forced to lay off about 10% of its workforce, an estimated 1,000 people, in July 2022.

Shopify said nearly all retail had moved online due to lockdown orders, and the company said it had overestimated the amount of e-commerce that would continue after the end of COVID.

On December 18, 2022, Shopify also said it would no longer be using a large office space of over 250,000 square feet under construction in downtown Toronto. Remote work as the main reason for the decision.

Required change

Lyons said Shopify has become a remote-first, “digital-by-design” company.

According to an internal memo, Shopify has changed how staff communicate internally, splitting communication between messaging apps Slack and Workplace by Meta, and moving away from email. said Nejatian.

Shopify said the company is “very intentional” about how staff will communicate going forward, and that plans will shift quarterly rather than yearly.

Nejatian said the change would cause “intense discomfort and distraction,” but it would be short-lived, and the company determined it was preferable to “long, slow burns of boiling distraction and discomfort” lasting for months. said.

Nejatian concluded by saying he expects the company to figure things out “on the fly.” His upcoming communication is an all-in-one business his communication his platform with all-in-one Facebook-designed online collaboration, instant he messaging, video conferencing, and news sharing capabilities.

Marnie Cathcart

Marnie Cathcart is a reporter based in Edmonton.