Alex Danco of Shopify on Biotech, E-commerce, Fintech, and the Joys of Parenting

We’ve got Alex Danco in the house for Round 2. He’s one of my favorite reads, one of my favorite thinkers; and works for one of my favorite companies: Shopify. Alex has some real in-depth experience because of his time at Social Capital, he reads endlessly, thinks about fintech, and obviously understands e-commerce. We cover all that, discuss the joys of parenting, and round out with his really big passion around biotech.

You can listen to the podcast here on Spotify or Apple and now all the episodes are on my YouTube channel as well.

For more details on today’s conversation read on below…

Guest: Alex Danco

Profile: Currently at Shopify

Where to Find Him: Twitter, Substack

What’s Alex Panicked About?: His second child.

The Takeaway:

Whether software engineers or sales pros, humans are the new capital, and recruiting is the new penny stock pump. There are two parallel and partially overlapping recruiting scenes; startups trying to convince you to work for them, and tech giants trying to convince you to work for them. Our best bet is to get with the IBMs of today, someone like Salesforce. Go work for a company whose product is rolling down the hill. They’ll teach you how to do pitches, they’ll teach you how to close. They’ll teach you how to do all the things that come into play for your second, third, even fourth job, where you can take a little more risk. Do your work, but set yourself up to take smarter risks down the road. Go get trained, then let the LinkedIn algorithm work it’s magic. We’re in a post-spreadsheet world. Now it’s the people, and the margins are high, software really is eating the world.

When it comes to e-commerce generally, the goal is for merchants to have power. Power isn’t selling through Amazon where you’re just an anonymous seller of third-party products. You have no power there. You don’t own the sale, you don’t own the storefront, you don’t own anything. You’re a replaceable vendor who just might get surfaced by the Amazon algorithm if you’re lucky. Maybe you can make a business out of it, but you won’t have power. The business needs to be yours. You can write code into it. You can go to whichever customers you want. You own the relationship, and that’s the power.

For more on biotech: Twist Biosciences: the DNA API