Tony Xu

Tony Xu

Founder of DoorDash

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON March 02, 2017

Discussion

Tony Xu
Tony Xu@t_xu
Hello, Product Hunt! I’m Tony Xu, co-founder and CEO at DoorDash. It’s a busy and exciting time here at DoorDash as we continue to launch in new markets, partner with more great businesses, and expand into delivering new types of items. By the numbers, our Dashers are delivering food, alcohol and more in 300+ cities and we're working with more than 40,000 businesses. In fact, we're just about to hit our 100,000th Dasher on the platform! Feel free to ask me anything – from favorite pizza toppings to the ways in which we’re experimenting with adding robots to the DoorDash delivery fleet, and everything in between! Looking forward to the conversation.
Kevin Curry
Kevin Curry@kevin_curry · iOS developer, Freelance
Building a marketplace is challenging. What did you guys do to build the demand in the early days?
Tony Xu
Tony Xu@t_xu
@kevin_curry We started by offering the best restaurants for delivery. Almost none of them were available for delivery prior to working with DoorDash. In general, focus on building the supply side of your marketplace first to make obvious your value to the demand side.
Marius Chawa
Marius Chawa@mariuschawa · UX Designer @ Hewlett Packard Enterprise
1) What problem did you see in the industry that known delivery competitors like Grubhub, Postmates, Munchery, Instacart weren't solving? 2) How did you convince investors you were doing something different rather than another delivery app?
Tony Xu
Tony Xu@t_xu
@mariuschawa We never set out to build a food delivery business. We're building the last mile for commerce, taking our technology and logistics platform and applying it to food first. Our technology and understanding of the three-sided marketplace offered a differentiated point of view. While it's easy to group companies together mentally, categorizations are misleading, and investors are always looking for the outliers.
Daylen
Daylen@askdaylen · Student and Wikipedian in Vancouver
How do you believe that technologies like drones and self-driving robotic delivery vehicles will change the food delivery business in the future, and what is DoorDash doing as a company to get ready for this shift to automation?
Tony Xu
Tony Xu@t_xu
@askdaylen With the delivery of things, especially perishable items, solving the first and last 10 feet is extremely important. So, while an autonomous vehicle can be helpful, it's an incomplete solution in and of itself (e.g., how will items onboard and offboard the vehicle?). At DoorDash, we're always building a system of products; in the case of autonomous technologies, the vehicle is just one part of the system. You can read more about some of our tests with robots here: https://blog.doordash.com/bee-bo....
Peter Mantas
Peter Mantas@pamantas · Startup mentor, adviser and evangelist
Given that you are operating a two sided business model; which did you focus on first? Restaurants or users? Did it work as you anticipated or did you have to pivot?
Tony Xu
Tony Xu@t_xu
@pamantas Interestingly, we actually have a three-sided marketplace: restaurants, consumers and Dashers (the delivery drivers). We started by focusing on giving consumers what they wanted, which were restaurants that never offered delivery before.
Peter Mantas
Peter Mantas@pamantas · Startup mentor, adviser and evangelist
@t_xu It would be helpful and interesting to get a little more detail on the subject. Really interested in your experience in the early days. Based on your response; you determined the optimal selection/variety of restaurants. Once you hit that sweet spot... You implemented your consumer acquisition strategy at the same time you seeking Dashers. I would be interesting to get a bird's eye view of your experience in the early days which ultimately brought you to predictability and scalability.
Leona Hu Hudelson
Leona Hu Hudelson@huisleona · Founder of Airgora / Design Director
Where do you see the future of on-demand services for DoorDash in addition to restaurant / merchandise delivery?
Tony Xu
Tony Xu@t_xu
@huisleona Today, we're solving the hardest problems first. Specifically, we are building the logistics system to take merchants beyond their four walls and helping them meet the increasing demands of convenience that consumers expect. But delivery is only one of the problems that merchants face. Building the last mile for commerce also requires solving other problems that may create friction for merchants (e.g., managing supply chains, growing customer awareness, etc.).
Cido
Cido@hayalbaz · Product Manager
Food Delivery apps become more image-heavy and less wordy. We observe a trend in there. Currently, DoorDash app is more wordy than image heavy. Do you have plans for design changes like adding photos of meals?
Tony Xu
Tony Xu@t_xu
@hayalbaz Getting food photography right is a very tricky problem, involving art, science, and process. We've started along this journey (you can read more here: https://blog.doordash.com/bringi...), and expect to see us make many updates to our consumer app this year.
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Tony thanks so much for joining us today! What are your tips for growth?
Tony Xu
Tony Xu@t_xu
@ems_hodge Focus on finding product market fit for every audience that you serve before spending on customer acquisition. Think from first principles (not gimmicks) what behavior you are trying to influence; for example, if you are thinking about building an online/mobile product, start by modeling how users are behaving in the offline world.
Ola Fabiyi
Ola Fabiyi@ola_fabiyi · Co-founder of Chaintag
Finding those initial early adopters must have been difficult, how did you do it and will you have done it any differently thinking back?
Daeshawn Ballard
Daeshawn Ballard@imdaeshawn · Avid learner
Hi Tony! Starting out when did your team focus on activation and how many test did it take to get it right? Follow up: Were there any test that stood out in terms of activation rate or speed? Thanks!
Britain Green
Britain Green@britaingreen · Front-end Developer, Iluminere
How is DoorDash dealing with the growing food delivery market? Has competition helped push y'all into new territories?
Jie Feng
Jie Feng@jie_feng · software engineer
How do you differentiate yourself from bigger competitors like UberEat( stronger driver connection) and caviar ( stronger restaurant connection)
Tony Xu
Tony Xu@t_xu
@jie_feng For consumers, we offer the best and widest selection of restaurants. For merchants, we provide more value (delivery and beyond) than anyone else (that's why we work with more restaurants than any other platform). And for dashers, we offer the greatest expertise in building the just-in-time delivery logistics to match supply and demand. It's not just about one side of the marketplace.
Iiro
Iiro@iiropikkarainen · Business Development @reaktornow
Hey Tony, what do you think are the biggest changes affecting the on-demand economy and your company DoorDash during the next 5 years?
Cido
Cido@hayalbaz · Product Manager
Do you apply A-B tests for optimization on your mobile apps?
Tony Xu
Tony Xu@t_xu
@hayalbaz At DoorDash, we have a saying that "data and insights win arguments". So, absolutely, we A/B test!
Theoharis Dimarhos
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
What are some things you look at when hiring business/nontechnical people for DoorDash?
Tony Xu
Tony Xu@t_xu
@theo_dimarhos We look for owners (people who never make excuses about circumstance but work through any challenge), people who demonstrate independent thinking, and people who are self aware. Of all the things we've built at DoorDash, I'm most proud of the team we've assembled: former entrepreneurs, Olympic athletes, military veterans, and incredible engineers. BTW...we're hiring: www.doordash.com/careers
Jacqueline von Tesmar
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve received in your career to date? How did this impact you?
Tony Xu
Tony Xu@t_xu
@jacqvon Be the best version of yourself. In Silicon Valley, sometimes, I feel people are always telling you to be someone else (e.g., be a founder, study machine learning, etc). Know yourself and keep an independent mind.
Pa T Rick
Pa T Rick@pa_t_rick · For the love of helping others
How do you pitch differentiation from Deliveroo and others ?
Ola Fabiyi
Ola Fabiyi@ola_fabiyi · Co-founder of Chaintag
Finding those initial early adopters must have been difficult, how did you do it and will you have done it any differently thinking back?
Ola Fabiyi
Ola Fabiyi@ola_fabiyi · Co-founder of Chaintag
Finding those initial early adopters must have been difficult, how did you do it and will you have done it any differently thinking back?
Adam Revetta
Adam Revetta@arrev · Founder, CollaborDate & ScareHunt
Hi Tony! At what point did you realize this was really going to "work?"