Announcing the Speakers for Shopify Pursuit 2018 (and 3 Reasons Why You Should Give a Lightning Talk)

pursuit 2018 speakers

Curious what’s in store for you at Shopify Pursuit?

Wonder no more. Today, we’re announcing the speakers joining us at our international conference series happening across four different continents, in five cities, from September to November 2018.

Shopify Pursuit is a great opportunity to build personal relationships with other Shopify Partners, learn valuable business lessons, and share best practices with the wider partner community.

Below, you can find all of our featured speakers sorted by city. There are still limited tickets available that include a full day of presentations, office hours, networking opportunities, evening meetups, and a limited-seating master class. Secure your spot today.

Buy tickets to Shopify Pursuit

New York City, USA (Sept 20-21)

  • Atlee Clark, Shopify - Shopify Keynote
  • Alex O'Byrne, We Make Websites - Million Dollar Agency: Proven branding and marketing tactics for your agency
  • Kelly Vaughn, Taproom Agency - Building an Agency: Five lessons learned (so far)
  • John Sampogna, Wondersauce - Expanding on your core service offering

London, UK (Oct 1-2)

  • Amy Thibodeau, Shopify - Shopify Keynote
  • Michael Shannon, Pixelcabin - Distributed growth: avoiding isolation in remote teams
  • Mariko Naber, Sellyourstuffonline - Build your brand with content marketing
  • Dan Conboy, Statement - How to grow your brand and connect with the community

Berlin, GER (Oct 8-9)

  • Brennan Loh, Shopify - Shopify Keynote
  • Patrick Rosenblatt, E-shop Guide - Finding your niche in the German market
  • Olivia Kuczynski & Michael Morales, Maukau - Challenges when scaling a small agency
  • Bob Rockland, Code.NL - Pushing the technical limits of Shopify

Melbourne, AUS (Nov 8-9)

  • Brandon Chu, Shopify - Shopify keynote
  • Laura Qureshi, Overdose - Scaling your business to support the enterprise merchant
  • Danny Phillips, Arkade - How agencies can work with multi-channel brands to increase overall conversion
  • Ben Moore, Pixel Union - Zero to 360: Opportunities and obstacles when building a multi-disciplinary team

Bangalore, IND (Nov 22-23)

  • Charlie Elliot, Shopify - Shopify Keynote
  • Shashank Kumar, PushOwl - Growing your app into a product company
  • Shashwat Swaroop, Marmeto - Multiplying merchant growth
  • Tony Bui, Seller Smith - Uncovering opportunities in emerging markets

You might also like: Kickstart Your Speaking Career: How To (Metaphorically) Drop The Mic.

A call for lightning talk speakers

Have you ever considered speaking at a conference? We’re looking for lightning talk speakers to join us at Shopify Pursuit.

A lightning talk is a five-minute presentation on a topic of your choice. This is your chance to get up and share lessons you’ve learned or insights you’ve gleaned with the partner community.

If you’re interested in doing a lightning talk at any Shopify Pursuit event, fill out the application form linked below. If you have questions about these lightning talk opportunities, please contact

Apply as a speaker now

Need a little more convincing? Let other partners tell you why speaking is a great opportunity to further yourself in the partner community.

3 reasons why you should step up on stage at Pursuit

As a Shopify Partner, you’ve had to overcome challenges to grow your business. Just take a moment to think about how you would answer these questions:

  • What was the hardest business lesson you have learned?
  • What was the most unexpected thing that’s happened to you in your business and how did you navigate that challenge?
  • Have you had a fail forward moment that lead you to become a more successful business?

The obstacles you’ve conquered are ones that other partners are struggling with right now. Sharing how you rose to the challenge, and the lessons you’ve learned along the way, can help them out. It’s also a chance for you to grow—showcase your expertise, pay forward some goodwill, and create partnerships within the community, all by sharing your story.

We spoke with four partners who stood up on stage at A Day With Shopify in previous years, and asked them what big wins they got out of speaking. They shared their tips on how to deliver a stellar talk.

You might also like: The Power of Community: How Business Networking Can Nurture Your Growth.

1. Grow your business

One partner who has learned the value of speaking is Shashank Kumar of PushOwl. He shared his tips on how app partners can market to other partners and build sustainable business relationships. Working with other partners helped grow both businesses in lockstep. At A Day With Shopify, Shashank made vital connections, which in turn have helped his business triple their number of app installs.

“At our last speaking event, we met and built many relationships with partners from all over India and Sri Lanka,” Shashank says. “Building these connections helped us move from around 2,000 merchants to over 7,000 merchants—and we can attribute that to standing up and talking about our business.”

pursuit 2018 speakers: pushowl
Shashank Kumar, founder of PushOwl, sharing his playbook on how to collaborate with other partners.

Natasha Murphy from Nicely Built had her first speaking opportunity at A Day With Shopify. Her talk was a completely transparent look at Nicely Built’s sales automation woes, and how setting up a CRM contributed to smoother sales pipeline. Shortly after, she went on to win a Shopify Commerce Award for her work organizing the Shopify Meetups in Atlanta.

“We won the best offline marketing event for Shopify Meetup Atlanta. Now, more merchants know about our meetup event and they know about Nicely Built because of it. I can definitely say it contributed to our business success. Which is funny, because we probably wouldn’t have even applied for the Shopify Commerce Awards unless a partner hadn’t turned us onto that award at the event—because we wouldn’t have heard of it!”

pursuit 2018 speakers: nicely built
Natasha Murphy from Nicely Built, going deep into building out her agency’s sales process.

2. Connect with like-minded partners

Nicola from Underwater Pistol stood up to speak for the first time on how she has been managing her company with her partner in life and in business for 17 years. It was a talk that spoke to the hearts of many partners.

“It’s nice to share with people thoughts about your business and how you personally connect with it,” says Nicola. “It’s an opportunity to offer insight into who you are and how you operate. People connect with that, they want to hear that. Standing up to share your story is a great experience and an empowering act.”

pursuit 2018 speakers: underwater pistol
Nicola Carruthers from Underwater Pistol, connecting with the audience in her heartfelt mainstage talk.

After Nicola’s talk, she found that a lot of people connected with what she was saying.

“The number of people who thanked me for the talk and told me how inspirational my speech was was flooring. When you share what you have to say, you realize there are so many people out there who are personally invested in their businesses and juggling relationships with partners as well as children. They’re passionate about their family and business life, and they don’t see them as separate.”

Nicola’s talk highlighted just how similar the struggles of entrepreneurship and business ownership can be for people of all kinds of backgrounds.

Ross Beyeler, founder of Growth Spark, has also built business partnerships through speaking, and now has an inner circle he can rely on when he’s feeling stuck in his business. Ross dove into 20 lessons learned from his 10 years of experience, which include roughly 3,000 sales conversations.

“By sharing the lessons you’ve learned, you end up having specific conversations with partners who have the same problems as you,” Ross says. “Together, you share insight with each other to move past those challenges.”

“By standing up and sharing what helped grow our business, I had rich conversations with other partners. That resulted in a lot of follow up calls with agencies and vendors. Some of those calls have evolved into business partnerships, and we refer each other clients.”

An opportunity to share your story can provide the audience with actionable takeaways, and give you a chance to increase your business opportunities by partnering with others.

pursuit 2018 speakers: growth spark
Ross Beyeler, founder of Growth Spark, sharing what he's learned on stage.

Shashank from PushOwl believes sharing your story helps every partner in the room level-up.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to stand up and speak in front of 200 partners in the ecosystem. It’s always about learning, even when you’re the one talking. There are partners here who have been doing this for a long time, so sharing what you’ve done and getting feedback from them is like getting a combined 300 years of business experience. When the ecosystem improves through sharing knowledge, everyone improves—because a rising tide lifts all ships.”

When the ecosystem improves through sharing knowledge, everyone improves—because a rising tide lifts all ships.

Shashank Kumar, PushOwl

3. The right topic delivers an impactful takeaway

With many business opportunities and connections to be made, speaking can be a boon to your organization. The next step for success is to deliver a presentation to be remembered.

Delivering a talk to remembered starts with picking a topic, creating and impactful slide deck, and ensuring the audience leaves with actionable takeaways. How do you do that?

In her presentation, Nicola from Underwater Pistol didn’t use a single slide. Her subject came from the heart, but wasn’t off the cuff, either. She practiced diligently, so she could recite her 20 minute talk from memory. By memorizing her speech, Nicola was able to focus on the people in the room. This made it easy to meet her goal—ensuring people walked away feeling more personally connected to their businesses, because she was able to connect with them.

For Shashank from PushOwl, it was the opposite. In his five minute lightning talk, he created the most impactful slides he could, to ensure each person walked out with a few immediate, actionable points. His goal was to have each audience member walk out and follow his main piece of advice, and he used visuals to drive that point home.

While these two partners were able to share huge successes and life lessons, choosing a subject can still be the first hurdle many aspiring speakers stumble on. Ross from Growth Spark recommends picking something so close to your heart that you can almost make it up on the fly. To make your talk impactful, he recommends putting your most actionable slides at the beginning and the end of your presentation, as these are the points people remember most.

“Give people something actionable,” he says. “Big picture and inspirational talks are great, but don’t go as far as offering a recipe of steps. It’s a difficult middle ground, but it’s where I think the best talks lay.”

You might also like: The Shopify Partner Business Philosophy: Community Over Competition.

Join us on stage at Pursuit

There’s so much value in standing up on stage. Not only do you get showcase your business and expertise, but you get to build long lasting connections with other Shopify Partners. If you’re feeling inspired to stand up and share something with the community, now’s the time to apply for a lightning talk.

Apply for a lightning talk now


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