Tobi Lutke loved computers.
He gets his first one at age 6.
Starts programming at 12.
And drops out of high school at 16.
“Computers were so much more interesting.”
He immediately takes an apprenticeship in his hometown in Germany for a subsidiary of Siemens.
And works for a wild man named Jurgen.
But he taught Tobi a decade’s worth of learnings in a single year…
“Jürgen created an environment where we moved through 10 years of career development every year.
It is a method and an environment which I fiercely try to replicate at Shopify.”
Tobi stays at Siemens for 7 years but burns out and wants something new.
In 2004, Tobi moves to Canada.
And he decides to start an e-commerce store selling snowboards.
Tobi tries to use platforms like Miva, OSCommerce and Yahoo Stores for his store.
The problem is they are awful.
So he builds his own.
And uses a new programming language called Ruby on Rails.
Immediately he falls in love with Ruby and disappears for 2 months to build Snowdevil.
That winter of 2004, Snowdevil has a great season of sales!
They even make a profit.
But he realizes that there was a much bigger problem.