When Kevin Ryoo sent out a tweet last week asking for career advice, he probably wasn’t expecting to get a job offer from Canada’s largest publicly traded tech company.
On Oct. 14, Ryoo told his 16,000 Twitter followers: “I am looking for Software Engineer Intern for summer 2020. I am a senior majoring in Computer Science in University of Washington Seattle. If you could refer me to the job, please message me! Thank you!”
Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke wasn’t particularly interested in Ryoo’s education, but he was definitely interested in his history as a professional StarCraft 2 player. Ryoo used to compete under the name “SeleCT” but his twitter bio says he’s retired.
Starcraft is a sci-fi strategy computer game where players collect resources to build armies and destroy their opponents. The game has a deep following, to the extent that it has became a spectator sport with professional players.
A day after he put out the request for job advice, Lutke replied to Ryoo’s tweet, saying, ‘Hey select. Happy to hire you into the Shopify intern program. Your Starcraft accomplishments are enough of a CV. Place is yours if you want it.”
Hey select. Happy to hire you into the Shopify intern program. Your Starcraft accomplishments are enough of a CV. Place is yours if you want it.
— Tobi Lütke (@tobi) October 14, 2019
Lutke is fairly active on Twitter, tweeting jokes, talking about video games, and interacting with employees, along with occasionally promoting Shopify-related products and business plans to his 57,000 followers.
On Monday, Lutke noticed that his job offer to Ryoo had garnered some attention in the StarCraft community Reddit, and he linked to a thread with more than 4,400 upvotes and 300 comments.
“When your Twitter messages are trending on reddit,” he said along with a tongue-out emoji.
Over in the Reddit thread, Lutke was talking to StarCraft fans about his hiring practices.
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“It’s insanely hard to become a pro in Starcraft, significantly harder than it is to get a degree. So I feel like this should be highly valuable on a CV. My offer to bring in ex pro players is more general than my offer to select for an internship,” Reddit user “xal” said.
Shopify corporate public relations did not respond to a request for comment from the Financial Post about the posts, or confirm their authenticity, but the Xal account has been active on Reddit for 13 years, and multiple posts identify it as Lutke over the years.
The account history indicates this isn’t even the first time Lutke has tried to hire pro StarCraft players, seven years ago, Xal made a post with the title “Starcraft can land you jobs!” According to archived records on Reddit, the post linked to a since-deleted tweet from Lutke saying, “Shopify is looking Programmers/Designers who are Diamond+ Starcraft players to bolster it’s AHGL league team” apparently in reference to an internal team of Starcraft players.
In the Starcraft comments, Lutke also joked around with other users.
When Lutke said he doesn’t have time to run an e-sports team because he’s too busy running Shopify, one Reddit user wrote, “Just get Amazon to acquire you, then start a new esports venture ;).”
“I’d rather buy amazon later,” Lutke replied.
It’s not clear whether Ryoo is planning on accepting the internship offer from Lutke, but after the situation got a lot of attention on Reddit, Ryoo posted a screenshot of it on his Instagram account saying, “I just realized this actually has been a huge meme in E-sport and CS community. I can’t thank you enough. Thank you so much Tobi: CEO of Shopify.”