How Success is WrittenChapter 3Writing aligns rapidly expanding companies
How Success is Written eBook

Writing aligns rapidly expanding companies

Courtney Symons

Editor In Chief

Shopify has accelerated the world of ecommerce by making it more accessible for everyone to sell online. Shopify has helped support its growth from an online snowboard shop in 2006 to the world’s largest e-commerce platform with over 7,000 employees globally by leaning heavily on writing.

“Good, clear writing helps to build the alignment that helps us reach our business goals.”

“A mantra that’s often repeated here is that we’re highly aligned, but loosely coupled,” says Courtney Symons, Shopify’s Editor In Chief. “Meaning, we all know the direction we’re going in, but there’s enough trust so that we can take our own paths to get there. Good, clear writing helps to build the alignment that helps us reach our business goals.”

Shopify’s new hires are introduced to its writing culture on day one when they receive the company’s Writing Principles as essential reading. This framework is built on the belief that “Everyone can become a better communicator by sharpening their writing skills,” says Courtney.

New employees are also introduced to a course called Improve Your Everyday Writing, which is built around the ethos that everyone is a writer. As Courtney tells it, “Improving people’s confidence in writing is foundational. It helps take away a lot of the pressure that people feel.”

Shopify also relies on synchronous communication to stay aligned, using Slack channels to communicate project updates. According to Courtney, it’s a strategy that’s working well. “We’ve gotten to a place where when anyone asks, ‘What do you mean by that?’ more often than not, there’s a document they can read that will give them that understanding.”