Harley Finkelstein

Harley Finkelstein

CPO (Chief Platform Officer)

Ottawa, Canada Area

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Harley Finkelstein's Overview

  • CPO (Chief Platform Officer) at Shopify
  • University of Ottawa
  • McGill / Concordia

500+ connections


Harley Finkelstein's Summary

Harley is an entrepreneur, lawyer, and the Chief Platform Officer (CPO) at Shopify. He started his first company when he was 17 and has been building startups ever since.

Harley completed his law degree as well as his MBA at the University of Ottawa, where he co-founded the JD/MBA Student Society and the Canadian MBA Oath.

Harley serves as a mentor and advisor to a number of accelerators & startup organizations, including FounderFuel, ExtremeStartups, InvestOttawa & CIPPIC.

Specialties: Bio & published work available @ http://HarleyF.com


Harley Finkelstein's Experience

CPO (Chief Platform Officer)


Privately Held; 201-500 employees; Internet industry

2010Present (4 years)

Harley Finkelstein's Education

University of Ottawa



Activities and Societies: Co-Founder, Law / MBA Student Association & Co-Founder, CanadianMBAoath.com

McGill / Concordia

B.A., Economics


Harley Finkelstein's Publications

  • 'Expert Advice' - "Have eCommerce Your Way"

    • eCommerce Times
    • June 7, 2010

    Sellers that are looking to develop even the most modest of sales channels now have the ability to build impressive online shops, with strong designs, at a very low cost and in a matter of minutes. These solutions are customizable, provide modern design templates, allow for rich-feature integration, and are far more user-friendly (and automated) than hosting a shop via a third-party shopping site...

  • "Push Versus Pull Startups – Which Path To Take?"

    • YoungEntrepreneur.com
    • August 1, 2009

    In a recent conversation with a Canadian venture fund about bootstrapping one’s startup, I was asked whether I preferred a ‘push’ or ‘pull’ model when vetting or building new businesses. Although I had heard these terms before, this was the first time I actually considered my own partiality for a particular genre of business model. Let’s begin with some definitions. A ‘push’ model relates to entrepreneurs who launch their startup because they believe that they can develop a product or service that combines market appeal with a competitive advantage over competition; as such it is eventually pushed to the customer via sales. Alternatively, the ‘pull’ model is based on some certain knowledge that a customer, whether current or potential, is interested in buying a particular ‘widget,’ and the entrepreneur develops it with that specific buyer in mind, and essentially the product is ‘pulled to market’ by the customer...

  • "When There’s Nothing To Lose, You Have Everything To Gain"

    • TPE
    • December 2, 2009

    I was recently advised that in different parts of the country there exists a new phenomenon known as ‘pink slip parties’, where recently laid-off individuals come together to share war stories and proverbial grievances about the current state of national employment...

  • "Schooling The Competition"

    • Ottawa Business Journal
    • December 8, 2008

    Although I might agree, I think there’s a much more effective course of action. For the last three months I’ve had the unique experience of studying for a master’s degree in business, while at the same time trying to master my own business. Although I’ve always tried to balance running my companies while studying full-time, doing so while taking an MBA has been a very different experience...

  • "Textbook to Checkbook"

    • TPE
    • February 5, 2009

    A wonderful benefit of being a student business owner is one’s access to other talented students. Time and time again I use the student community to help carry out many of the company’s functions, from graphic design to web development to social networking integration. Not only are student contractors often more in tune with modern technology and online strategies than larger companies, but students are often in need of real-world experience and so companies like mine can negotiate favorable terms...

  • "Incubating On-Campus Success"

    • Ottawa Business Journal
    • June 10, 2009

    It's a difficult task to consider student entrepreneurship without thinking about a school's role in helping to develop and drive student ventures. Recently I've become particularly interested in how university commercialization offices, or tech transfer departments, assist in this...

  • "Fools, Family and Friendly Funding"

    • Ottawa Business Journal
    • January 28, 2009

    In 2005, I was approached by a group of local entrepreneurs seeking advice on launching a small web-based startup. My advice was straightforward - develop your product, align your target demographic, and hit the ground running...

  • Meet The Chief Platform Officer

    • Fast Company
    • September 7, 2011

    Since becoming ‘CPO‘ at Shopify, I have been asked a number of times what in fact – the role of a CPO entails.
    I felt it was finally time to break down the role, and here is that post in FastCompany.

  • Strive For A Meritocracy, And Never Settle For Mediocrity

    • Fast Company
    • February 1, 2012

    In a startup setting, and certainly at Shopify, we reward and promote the most deserving of individuals, despite age, experience, or length of service. While I can appreciate the need to be patient in certain professional advancement, I can't endorse a practice where the vehicle to success and advancement is based on “time served” rather than merit. I believe that we should all endeavor to produce our best work, and managers and entrepreneurs alike should look at the merit of their employees and partners as the most important and most relevant criteria for evaluation.

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