Why Shopify CEO Uses “God Mode” To Kill Meetings From Employee Calendars And Is Putting His Company Culture On What He Calls A “Trust Battery”

  • CEO Tobi Lütke experienced chaos engineering at Shopify in unconventional ways.
  • Lütke told Bloomberg that he sometimes goes into “god mode” on staff calendars to clear recurring meetings.
  • It also sent employees home for a month in 2017, long before the pandemic hit, to work remotely.

Everyone hates meetings that could have been emails, and Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke is no exception.

In an interview published Thursday, Lütke told Bloomberg Businessweek about his practice of occasionally suppressing unnecessary meetings as part of his attempt to test chaos engineering, or the practice of deliberately creating trouble in order to build resilience, at Shopify, which sells software that merchants can use to open online stores.

He did this by occasionally going into “god mode” on employee calendars and clearing recurring meetings.

“Nothing can become really resilient when everything is going well,” he said.

In 2017, long before the pandemic caused companies to relocate, Lütke sent Shopify employees home to work remotely for a month on an experimental basis. He told Businessweek that the trial did not go well, noting: “The tools were terrible.”

In May 2020, Shopify adopted a policy allowing employees to work from home forever, joining companies like Twitter and Square in embracing indefinite remote working.

Lütke also explained his belief in a “trust battery,” a term he coined in an interview with the New York Times in 2016. In the workplace, a person doesn’t simply trust or trust. someone else, he explained; instead, there is a gradient of confidence. When someone is hired, the trust battery is charged to 50% and subsequent interactions help to build or weaken that trust.

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