Parker Rex

@ParkerRex

How a Local Food Delivery company runs with the Venture Capital Bulls 🔥

June 12th 2018

My name is Parker Rex and I’m the VP of Product at Delivery Dudes. We Deliver Food better than any company in the country. We care about our customers more than anyone else in the space. Our training is on point, our culture is rooted deeply in 1 on 1 relationships with our restaurants, and every Dude or Dudette you talk to has knowledge about the local restaurants. This article is for the hustlers fighting the good fight against VC subsidized behemoths. It is for those who want and NEED to go out and crush it every single day.

VC funding in the Food Delivery Space peaked in 2015 but continues to increase. SoftBank has made moves, and the M&A’s are plentiful as large firms try to buy market share. The competitors in the food delivery space have deep pockets and teams which are 10x to 100x the size. VC funded competitors can afford to half ass products that won’t get launched, we cannot. Every single day counts and this makes for an epic ride.

Who are the VC subsidized behemoths? Uber. Doordash. PostMates, & the grandpa of the bunch — GrubHub.

In the past year alone, our team of 6 launched 11 new products from the ground up. Yes, you read correctly: eleven. The road to get there was paved with moments of doubt, but we crushed it and we learned a HELL of a lot. When you are small, scrappy team you have to use every bit of energy your brain has to compete. For us, every day counts — so make them count.

Here are a couple MAJOR things to remind yourself of if you want to run with the bulls and watch your competition BURN that venture capital.

Uber, Postmates, & Doordash charged up with VC, ready to throw coupons out the window for months.

1- ASK THESE QUESTIONS:

  • Is this the biggest customer problem we can solve?
  • Do customers want this?
  • Is this going to be technically feasible?
  • What do we expect as an outcome of this feature/product/fix?
  • If we launch this … how will we know it’s a success?

2- WORK ON THE TEAM.

This is the most important part. If the team never takes a moment to step back and work on its process, workflow goes stale and your team will feel it. The results you want will flounder, and so will morale.

Rethink the way that the team works. Open the floor to each member whether that be in a one on one or in an open environment. Let voices be heard, and opinions fly; this is crucial to making the team work together on how to WORK. Find out whats working & keep doing that. Find out what’s not working and throw it away.

“When you hand good people possibility, they do great things.” — Biz Stone

3- SPEND MORE TIME SCOPING

Someone mentions a problem the company faces, a quick solution comes to mind, 22 minutes elapse, & you get to work. The Designer rushes to get high fidelity designs in place, you bypass usability testing to save time. Then the Designer chucks the designs off the waterfall and into the river of development for it to “get built”.

Software engineers rush into the project, after having been told exactly what to build — destroying any chance of them having input. The team ends up building half the product then realizes — they actually need it to do X as well. Then people are asking if it even makes sense.

Teams need to be able to pivot, but changing core functionality during the execution phase is a huge issue. Properly scope the damn thing.

4- ALWAYS FINISH THINGS.

Being in a constant state of “Work in Progress” gets nothing done fast. A designer gets done, chucks the “pixel perfect” work of art off the waterfall and the software engineer catches it. Rinse and Repeat. Each sprint is as a little bite size piece of an ever-growing pie. Not ok. Define the scope, set a hard deadline, and don’t change the target — change the effort. Basecamp does a great job explaining this.

IN CLOSING

Running with the VC charged bulls is hard. They can afford to do things that you can’t. They can give their service away all day to gain market share. Always pay attention to what you’re building and why. If you enjoyed this article hit me up on Twitter.

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