Podcast #15: The Shopify Mayor of Winnipeg (Part 1)


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What's in episode 15?

Bold Commerce is the most successful Shopify developers with a range of apps to boost sales for your Shopify store.

Co-Founder Jay Myers walks us through this wonderful start-up story which started in his basement in 2009 and has grown to become one of the largest employers in Jay's hometown - Winnipeg.

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     About Milk Bottle Labs



    Episode #15_ Meet the Shopify Mayor of Winnipeg

    Jay: [00:00:00] I was a merchant and I probably right around the same time as you. I think I heard about Shopify in 2000 it was like late 2009 and I had been running online stores since 1998

    [00:00:17] Welcome to the Milk Bottle Shopify Ecommerce Podcast brought to you by Milk Bottle Labs, Ireland's top rated Shopify experts, Milk Bottle Labs, build, upgrade, migrate and market Shopify and Shopify Plus stores all over the world. Milk Bottle will migrate you onto Shopify with zero interruption guaranteed, or optimise your Shopify store and maximise store sales. This podcast is kindly supported by our favourite Shopify app and the only app we install in every store. Rewind.io is the leading backup solution for your Shopify store. We'll talk more about Rewind later now over to your host, founder of Milk Bottle Labs Keith Matthews.

    [00:01:05] Keith: Hey folks, welcome back to another episode of the Milk Bottle Shopify eCommerce podcast. Today's episode is special one because I'm very lucky to have interviewed Jay Myers of bold apps from Winnipeg and counter bold apps are the largest Shopify app developers within Shopify ecosystem and one of the largest employers in Winnipeg.

    [00:01:24] The conversation was so enjoyable and entertaining that we actually ended up with two podcast episodes out of a single interview. So in part one for today, Jay gives us the history of bold and shares an insider view into how he started Bold and how he now runs it. Jay is from Winnipeg, and it's an absolute delight to hear how proud Jay is to now be a major employer in his home town.

    [00:01:45] Make sure you check out the episode notes and take advantage of two months free from bold apps. So here goes Jay Myers cofounder of bold apps. Thank you very, very much for joining us.

    [00:01:56] Jay: oh my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

    [00:01:59] Keith: Jay, I am recording this from the back of my house in Dublin. And I'm always intrigued as to where the speakers are that are on the podcast.

    [00:02:06] So what part of the world are you in?

    [00:02:09] Jay: We are in Winnipeg, Canada, so we're a right smack in the middle of the prairies. We're actually about 20 kilometres away from the geographical dead centre of Canada.

    [00:02:22] Keith: Wow. And at weather-wise had Rob lane on recently, and he's based in Ottawa. And he was telling me about the weather.

    [00:02:30] So is the weather, is it, is it more extreme in Winnipeg.

    [00:02:33] Jay: Yeah, we get a bad, it's minus 35 in the winters, but we get really hot summers. So I'm a guy that loves four seasons. I snowmobile and I like, I love the fall. I love the spring. So like, I don't mind it. I think if I didn't enjoy different activities in the different seasons, it would be a long, boring winter.

    [00:02:54] But, uh, personally I enjoy it.

    [00:02:55] Keith: Just give us an indication, Jay, of the kind of style of place that Winnipeg is in terms of population. Is it like, is it a, is it a few hundred thousand people or is it, is it a million or what? What sort of size is the area? The area? 

    [00:03:05] Jay: yeah, it's decent size where we're just under a million.

    [00:03:08] So like, I think the population of Winnipeg is about 800 but then there's, you know, the surrounding towns and cities around it. So it's probably. Just over a million, I would guess more in and around there. We're a very diversified city, like in a lot of ways culturally and also industrially, like the type of businesses here range from like there's a strong agriculture side, but there's also beginning to be a really strong tech and IT sector.

    [00:03:35] And actually just like in the last couple of years, a lot of big corporations are moving the headquarters here to Winnipeg because it's, it's one of those places we're in the Midwest that the talent is strong and I guess cost of living is still inexpensive compared to a lot of places in the country.

    [00:03:51] So it's very affordable. And that's a, that's appealing to a lot of people. So they can, you know, we, we've actually had probably 30 or 40 people relocate from various parts of the world to come live in Winnipeg to work at bold. The idea that they can move here, have a house with a big yard in other parts of the country and other parts of the world are, are just an unrealistic dream.

    [00:04:17] But here, it's very, very realistic.

    [00:04:21] Keith: And so on you, I suppose I'm assuming that the other advantage then Jay as well, is the fact that you're not competing with, you know, you're not in Toronto convening with other technology companies. Again, you'd probably be competing with Shopify, so it probably helps you to get talent in the long run.

    [00:04:37] Jay: Yeah. To get talent and to keep it's, you know, there's an interesting thing about just employees in our city. Like when, when someone starts here, like our turnover is almost nothing so. There's a huge cost when you're like, you know, a couple of years ago, I, I read that Facebook at one point, I don't know if this probably isn't true anymore, but this was about three years ago.

    [00:04:58] They had one of the best tenure rates in Silicon Valley and it was 1.2 years. And you think about how long it takes someone to get ramped up to learn their role, not. To learn it, but then to become proficient and then to actually make a huge impact in the company. And, you know, sometimes I take half a year to get to that point.

    [00:05:16] So if you're turning over on average every 1.2 years, uh, there's a huge cost to that. So in Winnipeg. People started a place and they're very loyal. They stay at, um, you know, there definitely is people that go from one career to another, but it drastically less, I think, than other cities. So we're able to have people around for a long time who become very deep knowledge of product and the space and the industry.

    [00:05:43] And I think that's a huge advantage.

    [00:05:45] Keith: Do you also find, Jay, that maybe that there's guys maybe that you were in university with or that were in university when you were in university or in the same vintage that are actually using bold as a reason to get back to Winnipeg? Maybe they've been away for 10 years.

    [00:05:57] Are you getting, getting locals like that return?

    [00:06:00]Jay: We have had a few, yeah. And we've actually had a few people who like, they've come in for an interview and they walk in and they go. Holy cow. I didn't realise a place like this existed in Winnipeg, like it's, we're pretty fortunate. Our office is a, well, we've got a couple offices now, but they're all still in Winnipeg.

    [00:06:15] Like they're pretty cool. Like you walk in and you know, it's not conventional. People are rarely sitting at a desk and working there on. Coaches are bean beanbags. We have a really cool big patio beside our building with a basketball court and picnic tables outside, and there's a Lake that goes around our building.

    [00:06:32] And so like in the summer, most people are working outside and on Fridays the slip and slide comes out and there's arcade rooms and massage chairs and beers. So it's a very, it's a fun place to be. And I think it's not traditionally maybe like, you know, in San Francisco you might see. Fun perks like that, more common, but it's starting to become more common here.

    [00:06:52] So yeah, so a lot of times people will come in and just be like, wow, I didn't know this. This existed here.

    [00:06:57] Keith: So from the point of view then from a founder turned individual land, it's hiring people. You've basically created an environment which influences people to be more productive and its working, is it?

    [00:07:08] Jay: Yeah, there's like, there's really a, a difference. And I, I always emphasise this is like, there's a difference between between perks. And culture, and it's easy to get the two mixed up, like it's easy to say, Oh yeah, we've got. Catered lunches, beer on top, football, arcade, pinball, but whatever. Like all of that.

    [00:07:27] Those are great perks. They make it fun to work. But what we view like good culture is, is a place where like where people can really thrive, where they're challenged, where their opinions are valued, where they they are, they believe and they truly are making an impact in the company or they're trusted.

    [00:07:47] Where they have a clear enough understanding of what the values and principles of the company are that in the absence of leadership or whoever their manager is not being around them, they have the ability to make decisions. It's not like, Oh, what's our policy on this? Let me read a book. They just have such a strong connection with company values and that's what we.

    [00:08:09] Believe culture is, and then all those perks around it are, that makes it fun to come to work, but it's not really the core of what makes people satisfied with their job.

    [00:08:21] Keith: Your growth has been phenomenal over the last couple of years. I'm just wondering, is that been a new phenomenon or is that consistent, let's say over the last five or seven or eight years, how has your growth curve been rising?

    [00:08:30] Jay: That's a good question. And I, early on when we started the company, we were at a point, and I don't remember exactly how many staff we had. It might've been around 10 but each time we hired someone, we kind of had this internal, Oh shoot, we got to hire someone. Now that's like, there goes our profit. And so, you know, you have a, you have a choice when you're really just getting started in small.

    [00:08:51] Do you just stay small and and be a very profitable company, which is a great way to go. Or do you stay like lean and maybe like you could be a solopreneur, you could be a small, or it could be a growth company. And I think the thing that's important is just that you understand, because if you don't.

    [00:09:08] Like for awhile we didn't know what type of company we wanted to be, and it was a bit of an internal stress. Every time we would hire someone, and then the four of us sat down one day and we're like, okay, well what's our longterm goal with this company? And we kind of decided that we wanted, our longterm goal wastoo to grow as big as we possibly could, give very generous stock option plans to our staff and one day hopefully make.

    [00:09:35] A big impact, not just in the lives of the merchants that use our apps, but in hopefully hundreds, maybe thousands of employees. And we were really inspired by a number of other... I mean Shopify was, is actually a good one. Like we were very inspired when they went public and all the spinoff of that, like all the lives that that affected and the new startups that started in Ottawa and all the new, like angel investors that are investing in things. And so that hasn't happened a lot in Winnipeg. And so anyway, so once we framed our kind of decision making like that, then we didn't look back. It was just like every time we made a little bit more money, we were like, okay, well how many people can we hire? No, we can hire two more this month.

    [00:10:19] Next month. Okay, well we can hire five more this month. Or this one's one. It was just like. We put 100% of everything back into people like into, into growing the company. Yeah. So I like it sped up in the early days, it was one or two a month. I think now we're probably onboarding. I think last month it was like 27 people in one month.

    [00:10:39] So that, that was a larger month, but, but like, it wouldn't, it would be no less than 15 people a month now is pretty common.

    [00:10:48] Keith: That's fantastic. And well done. I mean, I've been, as I said earlier on, I've been following your story for years. When you go to a management meeting and someone explains, you know, or your HR department sounds the, Oh yeah, just, you know, just by the way, folks, we hired 25 people last month.

    [00:11:00] Are you immune to that now or is anybody react to it or do you wonder. Does anybody even realise where you guys start? It's like, is it there must be a nice feeling when you hear that being announced on a regular basis?

    [00:11:10] Jay: I'll be honest, I think I'm actually less immune to it now. Like when we were like smaller, I, I knew every single person very well. It's hard, like we have multiple buildings down, so there's some people I just have, I haven't even had a chance to meet yet. We make sure that we have lunch with, we do it in groups now, but like we make sure we have lunch with every single person to start, so we get to know even if whatever department they're in, whatever building, but like early on, you just know everyone.

    [00:11:38] Now at this stage, I don't know every single person starting, and I think it's even more humbling and just gives you a perspective when people are, they truly believe in the company and the vision and what we're doing, and they're joining. Like I look, when someone joins a company, I look at it two ways.

    [00:12:02] Like people always, they come in for an interview and then there's, they're so thankful when they get to the job, and I often feel like I just say, well, thank you for choosing to make your career here. Like it's not, it's, yeah, we gave you a job, but you also probably had 10 different options and you chose to come to Bold.

    [00:12:20] So we're very thankful when people choose that and it's, and to join and tooto build this thing with us. And so I think I'm very thankful and humbled for just the people that have, you know, like when I walk around and I see everyone that's just like there, yeah, sure. It's easy for me to want to build it because we kind of started it, but like it's harder for someone coming in now and joining and get, you know what I mean? So like I'm just very, I'm probably more sensitive to it now, so

    [00:12:48] Keith: I get you. I'm assuming then as you grow, I suppose it'll become harder. You know, I've worked with some very large companies, and it's funny because the, the having breakfast with, with the new hires or having lunch with the new hires is the least thing you can do.

    [00:12:59] It's a good thing that you're doing. At least give, you know, a new hires, a little bit of face to face time. So well done.

    [00:13:05] Jay: Yeah. And, and it's not just for the, for the lunch. I think what happens is like sometimes I'll notice someone will start, don't really get to meet them for the first couple months cause maybe we're in different departments.

    [00:13:15] So I don't see them. We have that lunch together. And then after that they kind of, they feel comfortable that like, it's not just my self, it's like our whole executive team. And then, I don't know, they just feel comfortable after that. And we always tell everyone like, Hey open door policy, like you can come and talk to us about anything.

    [00:13:30] But until they have that initial lunch, they don't feel comfortable. But then after that, then they start coming like, Hey, you know, I've only been here two months, but I got this great idea for this and I got this idea for this. And so it's really important on a lot of levels, not just to meet them, but to also to kind of remove that maybe mental barrier that they have.

    [00:13:46] Keith: So Jay, let's go back to the start. I personally found Shopify around. 2009 - 2010 it wasn't available in Ireland.

    [00:13:55] Jay: Oh yeah. You were early on.

    [00:13:57] Keith: Very early on, and I remember going onto the Shopify websites and they claimed to have, I think it was 25,000 customers, and then it changed to 50 and then it changed to 65 and I remember it went from 85 to 125.

    [00:14:11] And finally Shopify was available in Ireland, and that's how I started. The only other, it was Chris Pointers, agency Pointer Creative and the Bold Apps business are the two kind of Shopify partners that I noticed in the early days. And I've followed that story for a long, long time. So I remember reading a story a long time ago about four guys that ended up in somebody's basement, and they started this company called bold.

    [00:14:37] Can you give us an insight into that time and on how you actually started?

    [00:14:42] Jay: Sure. Yeah. Yeah. Chris, I know Chris Pointer well. He is an amazing guy and has an amazing agency. There's a few of the old school original ones still around. He's a, he's a good one. So I wasn't, I was a merchant and I probably right around the same time as you.

    [00:14:58] I think I heard about Shopify in 2000 it was like late 2009. And I, I had been running online stores since 1998 was the first store I launched. When I built that store in 98 I didn't even have a shopping cart. I just had products and a phone number to call. It was a, I've built it with Microsoft front page.

    [00:15:18] And then went through like, I mean, fast forward, I guess almost 12 years later, I went through various platforms. I was big on eBay for a few years, like in the early two thousands eBay was like what Amazon is now, like everyone was selling on eBay, and then after a while you realise you're, you're really just renting customers.

    [00:15:39] You're not building a brand or a business and it's, it makes sense. Makes good money. But anyways, so I started building sites in 2009 I just heard about Shopify actually from an email from MailChimp, which coincidentally now they, now they don't work together anymore. But like, so I got an email from MailChimp saying, Hey, big news, we now have a Shopify app.

    [00:15:59] Oh, what's Shopify, so clicked on the link. So I moved over one of my stores and I think I was like. Store number 8,000 or something. So I was actually pretty early on as a merchant and then like one of the things I just loved being a merchant, like at that time, I think Shopify was one of the first platforms that had the concept of an app store.

    [00:16:22] It's fairly common now, like a lot of eCommerce platforms have as some type of an app store or marketplace. But that was new. And when I saw that, I was just like. A kid in a candy shop. Like everyday I would go in and at the time there was only like 40 apps. So there was like one new app a week. Now there's multiple new ones a day, but I would go in every couple of days and see if there any new app and I would install every single app.

    [00:16:46] And then of course I had like a hundred ideas of like apps I wanted. Cause back then there was very, very little so. I was one day at a pub with one of my best friends, and I was like, Hey, I think I want to build a Shopify app. And he's, he's a, he was, he actually helped run a ecommerce agency and, and he's like, I never heard of Shopify?

    [00:17:06] So I kind of told him to call Shopify and he just said, Hey, I know these two really good developers. Why don't we just build it and see if we can make a little beer money on the side. Like it was kind of an experiment. And I, and I thought, well great, perfect cause then I can use the app on my store too.

    [00:17:20] So we did that. We thought to ourselves, well what's the easiest app we can build? The first app I really wanted was a product comparison apps. So you know, you pick multiple products and you click comparing, it stacks them up side by side and you can compare the features and specs, but we decided that one was a bit too hard.

    [00:17:38] So we, we use were like, well, let's just build an up-sell app that's, that's a piece of cake. So it turns out, here we are, like seven days later, we're actually still adding features to that and building on that original up-sell app. But we've just, you know, the, the basic original concept was you just add something to the cart and a pop up comes up and you're buying a leather jacket and it's like, Hey, what'd you like the leather treatment kit?

    [00:17:59] And it was a super simple thing. To us in our heads. But what we didn't realise at the time was it was, it was kind of revolutionary on Shopify because it was the first time we launched it, it actually took down Shopify. So like some store ran a sale it was, um The Chive. This doesn't happen anymore. This was long time ago, but like they would run a sale and because of the amount of times that the app was popping up and the API calls were on the front end of the end of the store and there was no API throttling or anything back then.

    [00:18:30] So like Shopify went down.

    [00:18:33] Keith: Let's take a short break and I'll share the one app we installed on every Shopify build. The team at Rewind.io have developed the leading backup solution for Shopify. Did you know there is no way of recovering lost data from the Shopify store? Rewind.io automatically backs up your store data in the event of a data loss, usually due to human error. Rewind enables you to rewind your store back to its previous state. It's so simple, and it's used by some of the world's leading Shopify agencies, such as Kurt Elster of Ethercycle and Kelly Vaughn at the Taproom. If your store is gaining traction, you may have multiple users making changes. Often store owners allow theme or app developers enter a store to add code. Sometimes mistakes happen and data gets deleted. You can reduce your business risk today and prevent a costly catastrophe by installing the Rewind.io app on your Shopify store. Get your first month of rewind for free by simply responding to any of the welcome messages or emails you receive after you begin your seven day trial and mentioned this podcast. Now. Back to the interview.

    [00:19:36] They maxed out capacity as a result of the success of the app.

    [00:19:39] Jay: [00:19:39] Yeah, because the way the API was originally designed was not to be used on the front end of a store. It was, the API was originally designed for integration apps, and that's what most of the apps were back then.

    [00:19:49] They were like integrate with MailChimp, integrate with UPS, integrate with QuickBooks, integrate with something, and they were to, they would do backend batch jobs, so like at night it would sync your orders, but an app that lived on the front end of the store that did calls based off of like traffic. So if there was a million people on the front end of a store, all adding something to the cart, it would be, it would take it down.

    [00:20:11] So at first they actually didn't, they weren't super crazy about the app. They were like, well, this is not really using the API the way we intended. But then merchants loved it and were raving about it, and it was like. Became the number one app, like right away and, and then, and then Shopify figured out a way to make it work.

    [00:20:28] They said, okay, well lets, we're going to have API throttling. And they just implemented a few things to make it work and we kind of saw the potential of it early on. So right away we, we kind of said, okay, well most of the next, next stop we're going to build. And so then we built product discount and then we built store locator and then options, and then quantity breaks, and then one by one.

    [00:20:50] And then, yeah, like we were in my basement first employees where I had an unfinished basement, so it kind of worked out perfect. We just set up desks down there.

    [00:20:59] Keith: And the reason I know what the story is is because you know it's a true startup story, like four guys got together and ended up in a basement.

    [00:21:06] Whereas I think some startup with stories that are successful now. Maybe there's a few beers involved when the story's being told, you know.

    [00:21:16] They're very romantic. Yours is certainly very authentic. At what point did you like you had a lot of success very early on with product up-sells. But at what point did you guys realise, Oh, hold on folks, you know, this is actually, this has a lot of potential.

    [00:21:30] Like, did you guys foresee the success of Shopify, the growth of the eCommerce? I, you know, early on, or were you guys just quite happy to ride the wave and just enjoy what you were doing?

    [00:21:40] Jay: Yeah, so I think we did something a little bit different. And I, and I. I can't take any credit because they saying we're smart. It was just kind of like coincidental that we did this because we all had, we had good jobs and we were kind of doing this in the beginning on the side, we didn't have, we were 100% bootstrap.

    [00:21:57] We didn't have any type of investment or anything. It was just us building it. So we decided like every other app back then was one app on multiple platforms. So like people would have a loyalty app. One. This is just an example, but like one app on six different platforms, so it would be on big commerce, it would be on Magento back then, Volusion was really big. Um, so they'd have the same or one WooCommerce, one app, multiple platforms. We decided to build lots of apps on one platform, and instead of spreading out and learning six different APIs and six different platforms and trying to support it, we were like, why don't we just become the Shopify experts and just go deep on Shopify, build all our apps on Shopify, and yeah, it was definitely a risk because Shopify actually was the underdog. They were smaller and, but because we all, because it was, I'm like a kind of a side thing and we didn't mind taking a bit of a risk or like, well, let's just, let's just try it.

    [00:22:55] There's no reason to. Spread everything out. And, and then we, it worked out to be a great strategy because obviously Shopify's growth and you can see that now, but there were, there was no way we could have known that back then. And that's, so obviously a huge amount of, I think for anyone who was heavy in the Shopify platform back then, they're very fortunate because of the growth that Shopify has seen.

    [00:23:17] So that, that was a lucky decision that I, I can't say we're like smart because we did it. It was just a, it worked out really well.

    [00:23:25] Keith: But Jay, I'll have to give you some credit. You guys are definitely, or I would say, should be accredited with, you know, stacking apps. Like you guys built an app that complemented each other.

    [00:23:35] Like, even from it, from a sales point of view, from your own side, you know, like the multi-currency conversion app works with your bold cashier, works together with the multi-currency app. The up-sell app now works with all of your other, you know, loyalty apps. So you guys from the outside looking in from me were always the people that were actually incentivising people to install two or three apps that were going to boast app sales.

    [00:23:57] So I think you saw that before. Anybody else?

    [00:23:59] Jay: Yeah, I think it's because, so. We, we went, we went through a bit of a evolution with our company. I used to be, we were trying to build as many apps as fast as we could. And, and I think at one point we actually got up to like 35 apps. And then about a year and a half ago, we kind of really started to look inward and say like, what problems are we really trying to solve for merchants? And what are like, and what problems do we care about? I know one time. I think one of the biggest mistakes that like if anyone listening to this, like when you're starting a business is generally, most businesses don't fail because of a starvation of ideas.

    [00:24:43] It's more of indigestion. So it's not a lack of things to do. There's sometimes too many, and it's, and you fail because of what you say yes to, not because of what you say no to. And so we had a bit of the, let's say yes to everything early on. And there's two types of things you can build.

    [00:25:00] When you're building a business, you can, you can do something that makes money, but it might not necessarily increase the value of your company. So the best analogy we like, this is what we say internally. One day we were sitting around in a meeting and we kept having these like opportunities come up and sometimes it would be like a university wanted us to build some software and it was like not, I mean, not at all related to ecommerce, but even sometimes it was within ecommerce. Someone was like, Hey, can you do this? And so one day we were sitting in the courtroom when we kind of said, you know, we could just have all of our developers mow grass for 40 bucks an hour and make money.

    [00:25:41] We don't even like how do, why do we not do that? Like why do we not have 30 developers here? Why do we build software? What if someone came to us and said, Hey, can you guys come and mow this grass across the street? We'll pay everyone 40 bucks an hour, and if it made money, why don't we do that? And so it's clear that we would never do that, but why not?

    [00:25:59] And we were like, well, we don't, because that doesn't push the company forward. It doesn't increase the value of the company. It just makes money. And so we started to get very I think very strongly everything we did, like it doesn't matter if it makes money like it should, but that's not the, the goal. Does it push the company in the direction that we want to go in. And so when we started to look at a lot of the apps we had, some of them weren't pushing the company to where we want to go. They were great apps. They were, they were fine. They were making money, but they were. Not where we want it to go. And it's like if you go on our website now, there's a new tab that appeared about a year ago, and it's called solutions.

    [00:26:44] So we have our apps all listed out, but then we have what we call solutions, and there's only six of them. We have bold checkout, bold customisation, bold loyalty, conversion, bold everywhere, and bolt subscriptions. Those are the six core problems that we care about and, and to solve them, we use a suite of apps.

    [00:27:03] So like for example. But you were like, bold conversion. The apps that would fall under that, or like up-sell, discount, motivator. Uh, the brain bundles, you know, apps that help increase conversion on a website. And so when we started to look at like, okay, well, once we had this framework of our six core solutions, there were some apps that didn't make sense.

    [00:27:24] And so we've actually shelved probably a dozen apps in the last year.

    [00:27:31] Keith: Did you have, internally was the resistance to the us? Did you have a couple of thousand customers that you had to email? Did you actually just not promote them or did you sunset them?

    [00:27:41] Jay: So we just delisted them from the app store, but they're still everyone who's, who's using that app, it's still functioning.

    [00:27:48] They're just no longer features being added. We don't have teams dedicated to them anymore, but, but there are still people actively using, like if, if a store had it installed, we would, we would never just turn it off on a merchant, but we just had to let merchants know like, this isn't being supported.

    [00:28:03] Like we're going to keep it up. Like on the servers. It's going to keep running, but we aren't actively adding any more features to it. It's so, it's kind of like that was our definition of shelved.

    [00:28:12] Keith: Did anybody internally disagree or, you know, did you find it hard to make that decision or is it, to me, it seems perfectly logical for a company like yourself expanding in such a rate to focus, you know, stay in your lane. They say here.

    [00:28:24] Jay: Yeah, for sure. It was not easy. Um, how do you say when we are trying to have certain growth and we have our projections and we're like, these are the numbers we want to hit and we're very, very driven company. Like we're very, we have a lot of goals and, and then so like to take an app that's making a lot of money and, and remove it from the app store.

    [00:28:46] And it acts like we saw the impact it made on our revenue, like it went down, but it took a little bit of a dip, but then it allowed us to focus more on the apps we wanted to focus on and long term, it definitely helped us like that, kind of like the, the revenue and the numbers obviously came up and then even went up even faster because of, because of that focus that it allowed us to have.

    [00:29:11] So yeah, it was a bit of a struggle, you know, the first round we, we cut four off, I think it was, um, it could be getting these in the wrong order, but I think it was marketplace, donation manager, by the measurement, which was an app that lets you sell by like units of measurement. And I think product comparison, actually we remove the first one we wanted to build.

    [00:29:33] So we delisted those four and there was a lot of internal debate. We delisted it, we saw the dip, but then we saw things come back and be even more. And then there was actually a bunch of, a bunch of more apps that we thought were a bit of a distraction as well. Got rid of those. So now we're down to, I think we have 21 public apps and they all fit into one of the core solutions that we care about solving. And then so now it's going to allow us to go deeper in those core solutions and really have a more well rounded suite of products to solve to solve those problems.

    [00:30:07] So now everyone's on board. But yeah, it was definitely, there was some, a lot of a debate, but that's something, it's interesting you asked that because that's something we believe in, embracing, like I use the word debate. I think dialogue is a, is a better word for it. We like to have really healthy dialogue and get to the right decision and it's not. Who's right, it's what's right. And there's times where it's like, it's not me. I'm not right. Or if someone else isn't right, but we go back and forth and we hash it out and we try to come to the right decision.

    [00:30:43] I think that's been super critical in our growth, is being able to have. The perspective that like it's not whose opinion that matters, it's what opinion is the right one that matters. And so in this case, this was the one that was, we had to get to the right decision and we eventually did. And you know, everyone kind of kept their egos and pride in check and we just made the right decision.

    [00:31:05] Keith: It's interesting to hear that you guys have that mentality, considering this, you know, you're growing aggressively on it. Like if I was personally hiring 15 staff, you know, there may be a perfect reason for the management team to actually encourage people to create more apps.

    [00:31:21] But you actually did it the opposite way to focus on the apps that are actually adding value. So. I mean, I mean, I have to commend you on that. Just to go back to the discussion that we had about hiring and on, you know, on growth. Is there any pressure on you guys continue that growth rate given that you're, you're so much now embedded in Winnipeg and people are depending on you for livelihood and employments or, or is that just natural progression?

    [00:31:45] Once you do things right and turn up every day, you're, you're quite confident that you will continue to grow even if it's only at the same rate as the economy. Does that, does that make sense?

    [00:31:53] Jay: Well, I think, I don't know. I mean, I always say like, it's God willing. Like there's definitely a lot of outside factors that can affect things, but I, I'm a strong believer, like a lot of times, um, people say like, what's, what's the biggest you know, even when you do your SWOT analysis, your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities, and your threats, and you look at like, what's the biggest threat and what are like competition or like worry or like whatever. Like what, what could it be? I am a firm believer and I think everyone at this company's pretty much on the same page too.

    [00:32:28] Like we, that our biggest threat, if want to call it that, is what happens within the four walls of our building. And. We like most companies focus too much outward on things that maybe they can't even control and they neglect what's on the inside of the buildings. So as long as we focus on building an amazing culture, a space where people can do their best work, where people like feel valued and, and, and like the team.

    [00:33:01] Now we have to hope we're what we're building is going in the right direction. So, so I, I believe that eCommerce is not going to go away. I think that's a safe statement. And I think that it's going to keep growing every single projection on every single, it's just people are shopping more and more online every year.

    [00:33:21] So. All of that I'm not worried about. Now the question will come is like, are the products that we're building and our roadmap relevant to where the market is going? That might be the only thing that ever concerns me and I, I think we're doing a good job at it. But like as far as what we focus on and what we worry about, you know the saying like if you're in a swimming race and you start focusing on.

    [00:33:43] Your person, you started swimming into their lane. So we just, we focus inside on doing the best of what we can do. Uh, we can't affect competition anyway, and so we just have to trust that like. Our roadmap is aligned with where e-commerce is going and, and if we do all of that right, I, I think we will continue to grow.

    [00:34:02] But, you know, you never know. There's all kinds of other forces that could affect you, on some banks.

    [00:34:08] Keith: Again, a lot of sense. Like over here at the moment, w, you know, we're dealing with Brexit. You know, the UK leaves the EU and it's a complete unknown. It's kind of like a, it's kind of like Y2K there was a lot of noise about us, you know, in 99 2000 and then it turned out that there was actually no real major issues was really what you're saying is you can't be worried about weather.

    [00:34:29] Who, who the next US president is, or whether it's going to be a hurricane or whether it's going to be, you know, any major at global issue. What you're saying is you guys internally within bold are focusing on exactly what you do, and if you do that, you're probably a good bit of the way to being continuously successful.

    [00:34:46] Jay: Yeah, exactly. You can only control what's in your control, so it doesn't make it wasted effort to focus on there's a hundred things. I mean, there's like people are saying, the market's about ready to hit take a dip, and there's unknowns with definitely like we're, I mean, we're heavily reliant on the U S economy, even though we're in Canada, you know, like 95% of our maybe it's like, 80% of our customers are in the U S you know. Well, our demographic basically just mirror Shopify and so like, yeah, the us economy is a huge factor. The exchange rate is a big factor, which is something like people might not think about, but like, because we're in Canada, if the, you know, like 1US dollar is worth 1.3 ish 1.34 Canadian dollars. If all of a sudden that changed like nine years ago, it was at par. So like if that all of a sudden went down to par, that would be like instantly overnight taking a 30% hit on revenues. Like there's those factors. And I mean, we do, we hedge out quite far on all of our foreign exchange and stuff like that to kind of protect it.

    [00:35:52] But yeah, there's a lot of forces, but at the end of the day, all we can do is build the best team. Um, and the best product we can. And, and hope we're steering the ship in the right direction.

    [00:36:02] Outro: [00:36:02] Thanks for listening to the Milk Bottles Shopify Ecommerce Podcast. All of our episodes are available on Spotify and iTunes. We really appreciate the support of our sponsor. Rewind.io, the leading backup solution for your Shopify store. Get your first month of Rewind for free. Just to respond to any of the welcome messages or emails after you begin your seven day free trial and mention our podcast until the next time.

    [00:36:27] Take care.