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Harley Finkelstein

June 1, 2018 by Speakers' Spotlight

Shopify’s COO Harley Finkelstein: Find a hobby or passion and build a business around it

From selling t-shirts on Shopify to becoming its Chief Operating Officer (COO), Harley Finkelstein knows what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur — from the ground up. In his COO role, Harley helped transform Shopify into a global industry leader. In 2013, he was named “Newsmaker of the Year” for his success as an entrepreneur, and in 2015 joined CBC’s Next Gen Den as the new “Dragon”.

In a great profile by Darya Marchenkova published in the Montreal Gazette, Harley credits good genes and growing up in Montreal for much of his success.

When Harley’s family immigrated to Canada during the 1956 Hungarian revolution, they opted to start their own business — the Le Capitaine egg stand, still in business today! Harley began his earliest venture as a teenage DJ working the bar mitzvah circuit, and transitioned into selling t-shirts online while working towards his degree at McGill University.

Harley lives by his personal entrepreneurial philosophy of “the hustle”: go hard, go fast, build the best, and execute. He advises entrepreneurs to take whatever hobby or passion they pursue on the side, outside of their work hours, and build a business around it.

“The cost of failure to starting a new business is about as close to zero as it’s ever been. I think the beauty and advantage of starting a business in 2018 relative to 2008 is if you try something and it doesn’t work, you can try something else,” said [Harley].

Read the whole profile here.