Today we are talking to Andy Fang, the CTO of DoorDash and we discuss how they took a small startup at Stanford and grew it to a company valued at 1.4 billion dollars. Having an open mind to be aware of what you don’t know. And how to celebrate the victories while pushing for more.
All of this, right here, right now, on the Modern CTO Podcast
Andy Fang is the co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of DoorDash, a technology company that connects customers with their favorite local and national businesses in more than 850 cities across the United States and Canada.
Andy leads the engineering team, and is responsible for the overall product vision, technology roadmap and architectural direction of the DoorDash platform. Andy holds a BS in Computer Science from Stanford University, where he met fellow cofounders Tony Xu and Stanley Tang whereupon the concept for DoorDash was born.
- Tell me a little bit about door dash – 5 years old, started as students at Stanford
- Goal was to empower local businesses – building a local logistics network
- This is the first year it has expanded beyond restaurant delivery. E.g. Walmart Grocery
- Landing large companies as a client takes a long time and lots of meetings
- Some CTO’s view functions to get involved with big deals
- Andy Views his CTO role as evaluating how deals such as Walmart effect their technology stack, how productive the team can be, how the team can leverage the type of deals to build on top of the platform
- Paying attention to what’s going on in the landscape with the big players in retail space
- Using Door Dash Drive to power the delivery of products
- Have gone from small startup to over 1B valuation – Unicorn Leader
- When did you notice it start to take off and how did you resource yourself?
- No singular Ah Ha moment – Started as Palo Alto Delivery
- When you’re in the early stages a lot of the growth comes from the founders willing it in to existence.
- If you have a great idea people will latch on to it is a myth
- You have to be able to put yourself in to an uncomfortable and chaotic environment
- I’ve got this, and I’m going to figure it out is the mentality to have
- The people who stay through the tough times come out learning more and growing
- Having an open mind and self awareness of what you don’t know
- As a Founder, you get trust and because people know you are trying to do your best for the company
- Were there any false starts? Encourage people to play with apps and hit live traffic on your own
- Excited about Learning about different technologies and how people use technology
- Encourage employees to interact with users at Door Dash – Talk to people
- Dog Fooding a product – Have the employees or engineers use the product before it get launched
- Lessons learned from Scaling Engineering
- People really accelerate their career at a chaotic startup or they don’t at all. People join startups because they want to learn a lot
- People Mistake Startup with Career Growth
- Opportunities to grow in to management will not come quickly if the team is not growing quickly
- Systems of repeatable scalable processes
- Figuring how to bring in directors / other directors / want to bet on the people who are growing internally, but there is a big cost to people learning on the fly
- When did you first fall in love with technology – Andy grew up in Silicon Valley
- Fascinating about how accessible technology is today
- DoorDash is in a big and competitive space which has led to a mentality of you’ve got the win but there’s so much more that you’ve got to do
- You do have to cherish the winning moments as well – have your employees back and that you care about them and appreciate the work they are putting in
- Located offices to the center of San Francisco
- Advice to previous self – there’s no right way to get to where you want to go – you have to forge your own path
- On Twitter @AndyFang
- Balancing out a 3 sided market place – Consumer, driver, restaurant