Business / Ottawa / Technology / The Wedge

Tobi Lutke : “Friction is the only thing in the way”

By MAGGIE M, Editor, Wedgee-in-Chief, theWedge.LIVE

Amen Tobi!

I was thrilled to hear one of Canada’s leading digital creators, Founder of Shopify, Tobi Lutke, speak one little word that identifies the obstacle to success. The word is “friction.”

It’s not a new word in tech. But it is the crux of the problem.


I always judge an app, saas or “lock-in,” for its ease of use, its intuitiveness. If it’s too complicated i.e. too much friction to use, it will fail. Entrepreneurs and dreamers should not be required to learn code to use web technologies. That’s friction.

Piling on plug-ins and widgets is not a panacea either. We make toast in the morning unconcerned by the bits and pieces that heat, roast and pop our slices. We just press a handle and the task is over. This is where the web is heading, toward the ease of morning toast.

Shopify is the most dumb-friendly e-commerce solution to help the largest economic sector, small business, transition to the web. Yet, we started Wedge Works to help businesses overcome their unwarranted fear.

For new businesses, the risk is zero.

Matt Mullenweg, Founder of WordPress, has just launched Gutenberg within its CMS app, using intuitive ‘boxes’ to reduce friction. (theWedge is developing its national launch in this platform.)

Shopify and WordPress are not social networks, locking you in, monetizing your content, your unpaid labor and your private life–like Facebook. These are apps that give you control and freedom–with ease.

Facebook is not a business platform–not a wealth creator. Yet, more small businesses use it as their default web site. I have to bite my tongue when I witness this. Little do these businesses realize that Facebook sells advertising to the right of their posts–using their key words and content for placement. The “likes” feel good so you keep spending your energy supporting Facebook–and sending your visitors to your competitors. I digress.

“Go live to survive,” Maggie M

I cannot impress enough the urgency that bricks-and-mortar businesses go live to survive. How much business can you afford to give to Amazon? It is not an option, you either go live or you will not survive. “Keep the bricks but add the clicks,” another meme I birth here.

“Keep the bricks but add the clicks,” Maggie M

The key to Amazon’s success? Its ease–almost zero friction.

Hear BNN Bloomberg’s interview of Tobi Lutke just a few months ago below:


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