Maintaining Your Online Reputation

smiley balls

SmartBlog on Restaurants is really aimed at the restaurant industry, but the advice it offers in its article Managing your reputation online is a never ending story applies to online shops as well. Online reviews and social media are said to be surpassing search for reviews, and more and more people are consulting their phones when making purchases. Your online reputation is an asset, and the article offers these five tips to maintain it:

  1. The best defense is a good offense. If you’re on the defensive, actively go and find out what the problem is.
  2. Don’t beat around the bush. Seek feedback as soon as possible so you can address any problems quickly.
  3. Pay attention to the grapevine. Listen for when customers talk about you.
  4. Extend your hospitality outside your dining room. Or in the case of ecommerce, outside your shop. You’re already online; use it to communicate with your customers!
  5. “But you don’t have to take my word for it…” Quote your customers, especially when they talk about you online but off your site. Those quotes are more “real”.

There’s more in the full article – go read it!

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


Shopify’s Going to ConFoo, and You Should Too! (February 29–March 2 in Montreal)

shopify and confoo logos

It’s not too late to register for the ConFoo conference, which takes place in Montreal from next Wednesday, February 29th to Friday, March 2nd. ConFoo’s the big “web techno conference” covering a wide array of software development topics:

  • Accessibility
  • Cloud Computing
  • CMS
  • Data Persistence
  • Front End
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • Mobile
  • .NET
  • PHP
  • Project Management / Agile
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Scaling / Performance
  • Security
  • Social Networking
  • Startups
  • Systems Administration
  • Testing / QA
  • Web Services

Shopify will be there, as we’re giving two presentations.

Mo’ Money, Less Problems with ActiveMerchant

david underwood

My coworker David Underwood, Developer Advocate, will be giving the Mo’ Money, Less Problems with ActiveMerchant presentation on Friday, March 2nd from 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.. Here’s the abstract:

Your Ruby/Rails application is up and running, you’ve got users, and better still, they’re ready to pay to for the fruits of your genius. Okay, genius: how do they pay? The answer is ActiveMerchant, the de facto standard for handling payments in Ruby. ActiveMerchant gives you a single, simple API that supports many payment gateways and lets you authorize a payment and capture the money, all with only a screenful’s worth of code. In this session, we’ll walk you through a simple payment, work up to a full Rails-based shopping cart with payment authorization and capture and show you what the industry standards are and the security precautions you should take.

Ruby as She is Spoke

joey devillaYour Truly, Joey deVilla, Platform Evangelist, will be giving the Ruby as She is Spoke presentation on Thursday, March 1st from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.. Here’s the abstract:

Speak you Ruby surely like native? Have you a grip on using the rectified idioms for coding in the language? But seriously: like human languages, programming languages are also about clear communication, and the best way to speak a language is to understand it idioms. In this session, we’ll look at Ruby turns of phrase and other patterns that the best-written Ruby code uses to communicate clearly and that best take advantage of the Ruby language.



ConFoo wraps up on Friday, leaving the weekend free to explore a fun city with great food, shopping and stuff to do until the very wee hours. It’s a great excuse to pick up some new knowledge, make contacts in the industry and have a little weekend trip all in one!

Don’t miss this conference – register for ConFoo today!

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


Rick Mercer’s Rant on Bill C-30: Online Privacy Doesn’t Make Us Criminal, It Makes Us Canadian

"Ceiling Vic is Watching You": Vic Toews peering at you through a hole in the ceilingBill C-30 is a pending Canadian bill that gives police and other appointed special investigators to get information from “internet companies” (the bill’s a bit vague on the definition) to give them information about you – name, IP address and other identifying information – without a warrant. On its own, its terms don’t give “The Man” free access to who you are and what you do online, but the resulting law will require Canadian ISPs to build in facilities to allow for “eavesdropping” that’s not unlike what they do in China. Once that capability is built in, the genie will be out of the bottle; or more accurately, the governmental genie will be in all our bottles. As Ivor Tossell puts it in the Globe and Mail, “You can’t bring oil barrels full of honey to the forest and then act surprised when bears show up.”

The video above is from the Canadian television show Rick Mercer Report. One of the regular features of the show is “Rick’s Rant”, in which he does a short polemic on something topical as he walks through Toronto’s “Graffiti Alley” just off Queen Street West. This one does a great job of explaining why Canada’s Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who introduced the bill, is wrong when he said that critics of the bill could “either stand with us or with the child pornographers” (which will someday be used as a classic example of that old high school debating trick, association fallacy).

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


How to Tell HTML from HTML5 (or: Microsoft’s Image Problem)

Slide: "How to Tell HTML from HTML5" - "Try it out on Internet Explorer. Did it work? No? It's HTML5."Photo courtesy of Elijah Manor.

Considerably less true for Internet Explorer 9 (a.k.a. “IE who-gives-a-crap”), but the damage has been done, especially if W3Counter’s browser usage trend stats are accurate:

w3counter browser usage statsClick to see at full size.

That’s why I wrote way back when I worked there: “Any fool can evangelize Apple or Google. It takes a rock star, ninja and Jedi master all rolled into one to be an evangelist for Microsoft.”


Shopify’s on Fast Company’s “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” List! / You Should Work With Us

Shopify Makes Fast Company’s “50 Most Innovative Companies” List

Fast Company / The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies - featuring Shopify

We’re in good company: along with Amazon, Square and Patagonia, Shopify made Fast Company’s “World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” list in the “Retail” category. Here’s what they wrote:

For democratizing and automating ecommerce tools. Shopify offers pre-made templates that allow people to quickly and easily set up an online store without needing to know how to code a website. Shopify creates tools and templates to power online storefronts. (Notable clients include Rovio, Angry Birds’ parent company, and GE.) Shopify has grown to almost 20,000 storefronts in 88 countries, which did a combined $275 million in online sales, up from $120 million in 2010. Up next: Making it as easy to buy sell to mobile customers.

Join Us, It’s Bliss!

Shopify standard issue gear: Apple 27" display, MacBook Pro, Apple Wireless Keyboard, Aeron chair, Apple Magic Mouse, Bag O' Stuff

Even more Shopify standard issue gear: Light grey Shopify t-shirt, dark grey Shopify t-shirt, light grey Shopify hoodie, neat pen, Moleskine notebook, Godiva chocolates, $100 restaurant gift card, $50 Apple Store gift card

If making the Fast Company list doesn’t impress you, maybe my earlier article about why Shopify’s a great place to work will. From the company’s success to interesting projects to the way we get stuff done to the cool gear that’s standard issue for Shopify employees (see the photo above; you get to pick between a MacBook Pro and MacBook Air these days), there are reasons aplenty to hitch your wagon to Shopify’s star.

We’re looking to fill these positions right now:

Software Engineer, Applications
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Shopify is looking to hire a Software Engineer for our growing Applications Team. The Applications Team is responsible for building supported Shopify Applications for the Shopify App Store as well as 3rd party applications. If you are interested in working on challenging Ruby on Rails projects with a team of highly motivated and talented individuals then this position is for you.

Software Engineer, Billing
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Shopify is looking to hire a Software Engineer to maintain and extend our sophisticated SaaS billing platform servicing over 20,000 merchants. The Shopify billing system is a core piece of infrastructure that handles millions of dollars of financial transactions. If you are interested in working on challenging Ruby projects with a team of highly motivated and talented individuals then this position is for you.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


What People Think Entrepreneurs Do

what people think entrepreneurs doClick the picture to see it at full size.

Funny because it’s true.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


Ruby Job Fair in Toronto Tonight!

Ruby Job Fair Poster

Don’t forget: the Ruby Job Fair takes place tonight at Unspace headquarters (342 Queen Street West; it’s the door just to the right of Lululemon)! If you’re looking for work that involves Ruby programming or if you’re an employer looking for Ruby developers, you’ll want to be at this event, which is more cocktail social than career fair. Yes, there will be a bar.

The event takes place from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.. DO NOT show up early! They’ll either be wrapping up the day’s work (remember, Unspace is a development shop) or prepping for the event. If you plan to show up fashionably late, please note that the employers are doing their three-minute “soapbox” spiels starting at 6:30.

There’s a small registration fee to help cover the costs of holding this event: it’s $5 for people looking for a job; $15 for employers looking for Ruby developers. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck at this event. Click here to register for the event, and do it before the tickets run out!

Shopify logo

If you’re looking for Ruby work at one of the most successful startups around, you might want to consider Shopify. I’ll be there tonight as Shopify’s representative – find me (I’ll be the guy with the accordion) and we’ll talk.

If you’re looking to find out more about Ruby Job Fair, check out the Ruby Job Fair site as well as my earlier article on the Fair.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.