The internet broadly lowers friction and barriers to entry. It’s a mantra so well-known in internet businesses that we think whoever hasn’t embodied it isn’t going to make it.
Alex Danco contrasts this perspective with gaming, where that market is these days seen as an innovation zone, doing things that other markets discover and adopt years later.
In gaming, though, friction is part of the deal. You don’t have games at all if you don’t present customers with a challenge. If there’s no challenge or achievement (a type of friction!), then no one ever plays games at all.
This is where Alex draws the comparison in consumer products between Amazon and Shopify: Amazon removes frictions, Shopify embraces them — at least the right kinds:
To me, this is the real “Shopify Effect”. Our merchants can have such massive global impact (3.6 million jobs! $307 billion in 2020 economic contribution!) not only because they’re able to start and scale businesses, but also because those businesses are good businesses. They have strong fundamentals, powered by healthy gross margins that can support huge communities around them. The fundamental reason why they can do this isn’t only by getting rid of all the unnecessary friction. It’s by creating really expressive challenges, and helping their buyers become someone through conquering that challenge.