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Tom Locke

Tuesday 21st February 2023

This article was originally published on Work With Shop as part of the "Humans of the Shopify Ecosystem" interview series. Work With Shop was a project I started in 2022 and closed in August 2023. However, I wanted to keep the interviews online and have therefore repurposed them here.

Tom Locke — "Founder" of Noughts & Ones

For this interview we're sticking in your editor's geographical region to speak with Tom Locke — founder of Bristol-based agency Noughts & Ones.


Q: Where are you right now?

I am currently sitting at a desk in the lovely Gather Round co-working space on Brunswick Square in Bristol.

Q: Where are you based?

Noughts & Ones as an agency is based in Bristol, and I live a bit further into Somerset, in a town called Frome.

Q: When asked, what do you say your job title is?

Generally, I say that I am the "Founder" of Noughts & Ones, but that is almost always followed up with "I'm also responsible for the sales and new business for the agency".

Q: Is there such a thing as a typical day for you?

I try to keep a reasonable routine. I'm an early riser, so most days start with me getting a couple of hours in with no distractions, followed by a walk with my two Golden Retrievers (Winston & Douglas).

Tom's dogs Winston & Douglas

I'll then connect with the rest of the team and jump into the working day, which will involve a fair few emails, sales activities, project proposals and estimates, jumping on any calls that need me and pitching!

Q: How did you get started in the Shopify ecosystem?

Pretty much by chance! I first started out as a freelance web designer working with Squarespace. Once Noughts & Ones was officially set up and we started growing, we required more ecommerce functionality than the platform could offer. We started working with Shopify, and after an epic Shopify Pursuit 2019, we knew that it was time to double down on ecommerce.


Q: Tell us a bit more about your agency

My agency is called Noughts & Ones, and we're a mix of designers and creative developers based in Bristol.

Q: Are you and the team office-based, fully remote, or something in between?

Team (branded) Walk

Something in between! We are a remote-first agency with access to a co-working space in Bristol, so we generally get together 1-2 days per week to all work together.

Q: What tools/apps do you use to stay on track and communicate with your clients?

Ah, the infinite list of tool options to run an agency 😂.

To ensure the smooth running of the agency and the projects we work on, we use;

Q: Value-based pricing or bill by the hour?

We do both; more of a value-based approach to project pricing and by-the-hour for ad hoc Shopify support and monthly retainers.

Lessons & Learnings

Q: How do you get "stuff" done? Are you a proponent of a particular productivity method, or do you prefer a "Post It" note on your monitor?

I try to use our project management tool (ClickUp) for core tasks, as well as the agency's sales pipeline. I can be distracted fairly easily, so I try my best to stay focused throughout the day. I've heard positive things about The Pomodoro Technique from a few people now - trying this out is one of my goals for this year.

Q: What's the one bit of advice you would give someone starting out in the Shopify ecosystem today?

There are some really fantastic brains in the world of ecommerce, and in particular Shopify, so my advice would be to connect and learn from as many people as you can. There is an insane amount of insights and information available on platforms like YouTube, Podcasts, LinkedIn etc.

Q: How do you approach getting better at your craft, development, leadership etc.?

It's very much a journey — as the sole agency owner, it can certainly be tough! When it comes to developing myself as a leader, I've found that the best way to grow and develop is to share my experiences with others.

I've been lucky enough to find some incredible people in the agency world, and 99.99% of the time, they have either experienced or are experiencing exactly the same challenges.

Q: Please share any influential books, blogs, authors etc., that have helped you in your work life.

The honest answer: I am terrible at reading. Finishing a book is a very rare occurrence for me. Still, there are a couple of eclectic ones that have managed to stick out over the years (and I really do mean "over the years" 😂).

Q: * Fk It by John C. Parkin


Q: What's the one missing Shopify feature you wish existed?

There are plenty! I threw this out to our development team, and they consistently came back with a need for more freedom with metafields. It's something that Shopify is improving, but it's still not quite there yet — it would be good to be able to utilise metafields to be able to add in more product/page/blog post-specific content.

Q: How do you keep up to date on what's new, what's outdated, or those pesky deprecated API calls that just might break your app?

The Shopify Partners emails are pretty much what keep me up to date with what's going on at Shopify from a technical perspective. Within the wider Shopify ecosystem, our Partner Managers at the platforms we work with regularly are also key to keeping your finger on the pulse.

Let's Get Technical

Q: What does your personal tech stack look like?

Ok, I'm completely one of those people that is 100% on the hook with Apple.

  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • AirPods
  • 15" MacBook Pro (2017)
  • Apple Watch Series 3

Q: What's in your menu bar?

It's not hugely exciting, I'm afraid!!

  • Pitch (for presentations/proposals)
  • Brave (for secure browsing)
  • Spotify (I always have music on)
  • Slack (for internal comms)

Everything else is pretty much in-browser.

Q: What about everyday apps that you can't live without?

Again, not very exciting, but I'd say Spotify, Mail, LinkedIn, and Instagram are mobile apps that I use every single day without fail.

Q: Do you have any funky/cool hardware or desk accessories you'd recommend?

When we started working from home, I got pretty carried away with building my home desk/office set-up. I really went for it: sit/stand desk, ultrawide monitor and unnecessary backlighting.

Tom's Home Set-up

I did get an LED "neon" Noughts & Ones light for the wall, which is pretty cool.

And Finally

Q: What do you do for fun and relaxation?

I have two Golden Retrievers that make sure I am out and about! I've found that starting and/or ending the working day with a walk really helps me to relax and reset.

I'm into my cars, and we recently moved into a house that needs a lot of work, so weekends usually involve some sort of DIY and tinkering with cars.

Q: What was your favourite album/book/magazine/event of 2022?

I have always been a huge Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, particularly the first and second stints with John Frusciante as the guitarist — so when it was announced that he was making a(nother) return and Unlimited Love was to be released in 2022, I WAS IN.

Q: Share three of your favourite Shopify stores (if you have one yourself, please include it)

Q: Where can people find out more about you?

Hit me up on LinkedIn, head over to the Noughts & Ones' website or drop me an email at

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