Here is your weekly email of things I’m working on and thinking about!
Also… a really special sponsor this week - Flatfile, who’s giving away a pair of Beats Solo3, for anyone willing to take a meeting, so make sure you click the link and check out what they have to offer.
📈 Case Study: How DoorDash Stayed One Step Ahead
💻 SaaS Of The Week: Bill Fixers
🎧 Things You Should Listen To: The War On Small Business
📚 Things You Should Read: A Runner’s High
🧠 Scott’s Thoughts
💡 Other Thoughts
Featured Sponsor: Flatfile
Tired of cleaning Excel data?
Onboarding customer data is a pain. Enter Flatfile.
The Flatfile platform intuitively makes sense of the jumbled data your users import, and transforms it into the format your business relies on. No messy CSV templates. No clunky data importer. No expensive services teams hired to migrate data.
Get customers to value faster by upgrading their data onboarding experience with Flatfile.
📈 Case Study: DoorDash: How They Stayed One Step Ahead
Uber Eats, Grubhub, Postmates, and DoorDash have been locked in heated competition for years now, vying for dominance in the “Food Delivery War.”
However, DoorDash overtook its competitors with a 55% market share in March 2021 and 56% of all food delivery orders in America.
DoorDash has evolved from a small, student-founded startup to the most successful online food delivery platform in America in just seven years. It has even broken into the Australian, Canadian, and Japanese markets. Pretty impressive for a company not even a decade old.
In 2012, Stanford students Tony Xu, Stanley Tang, Andy Fang, and Evan Moore began working on an app for small business owners.
They weren’t sure what they wanted to build, only that they wanted it to be used by small businesses. So they interviewed hundreds of business owners in the area, asking what their ventures were like and if there was anything in particular that they needed help with.
They tried setting up iPads by the retail point of sale so that customers could answer a short marketing attribution survey. But, unfortunately, while some customers were willing to answer the survey, it wasn’t conducive to the business.
On a subsequent occasion, after interviewing a macaron store owner, they overheard her turning down a delivery order.
That was when they realized that food delivery was an issue for restaurants in the area.
After asking around again, they found out that very few restaurants deliver due to inconsistent orders. Small businesses can't afford to have their own fleet of delivery drivers when they might receive several delivery orders one day and virtually none the next.
Palo Alto Delivery
The four students launched PaloAltoDelivery.com, which only had a Google Voice number and menus in PDF format from a few local restaurants. They charged a flat rate of $6 per delivery with no minimum order size, and the four of them personally handled the deliveries.
Once business took off, they started receiving more orders than they could handle. So they began hiring people to help with deliveries, hung flyers, and also posted on Craigslist.
DoorDash and YCombinator
In 2013, after successfully pitching DoorDash to investors in YCombinator, the company received $120k in seed capital and officially renamed the company from Palo Alto Delivery to DoorDash.
In 2015, DoorDash was operating in 18 different cities and received $60 million in investments. With the startup's first launch in Canada in 2016, Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins invested another $127 million in the company. Surprisingly though, DoorDash’s valuation went down to $700 million despite the increase in investments.
In 2017, DoorDash acquired Rickshaw, a startup that focused on delivery and logistics. At the time, DoorDash was working on its own platform, DoorDash Drive.
By acquiring Rickshaw, DoorDash could integrate some aspects of Rickshaw’s software with DoorDash Drive.
DoorDash the Unicorn
In 2018, when SoftBank invested $535 million into DoorDash, the food delivery service reached a ‘unicorn’ status with a valuation of $1.4 billion.
By the end of 2018, DoorDash managed to overtake Uber Eats as the second most popular food delivery service in America. Expansion continued, and by 2019, the company opened DoorDash Kitchen - a ghost kitchen in California.
DoorDash also acquired Caviar, a food delivery app with listings from high-end restaurants that didn’t deliver outside of the app.
The Delivery Boom
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the on-demand food delivery industry boomed.
Shelter-in-place orders and a huge reduction in foot traffic meant that restaurants had to rely on services like DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, and Grubhub if they wanted to make any sales at all.
The massive surge in orders allowed market leader DoorDash to rake in $1.92 billion in revenue, but despite that, DoorDash wasn't generating profits. Instead, the company was actually losing money.
In December 2020, DoorDash went public with an IPO of $102 but ended the day with $189.51. Despite its lack of profitability, investors seem to be interested in DoorDash, but not everyone shares that interest.
Still, some analysts believe that if DoorDash continues to grow even after the pandemic-induced food delivery business boom ends, it might become profitable in the future.
The DoorDash Strategy
What made DoorDash stand out from its competitors? The hefty investments it received undoubtedly played a part in its success, but it’s not just because of the money.
First, DoorDash kept things basic.
The app is simple, intuitive, and easy to use—qualities end-users want.
They made convenience and speed a priority and provided sellers with a user-friendly app that lets them accept orders without ever speaking to a customer.
Using Technology As A Driving Force
DoorDash has been able to stay ahead of its competitors by being technologically driven and looking for ways to expand into new markets.
For example, one innovative part of their business model was that customers could order food from any restaurant in their service area, which helped boost their market share immensely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company partnered with both large and small businesses, not just from the inner city but also from the suburbs.
Additionally, it provided merchants invaluable data like brand and consumer insights. This kind of data is beneficial to smaller shops that may not have the resources to gather it independently.
In its earlier days, DoorDash would also give discount codes or coupons to users who would review it on the app store. This feedback led to improvements in the app.
Open For Expansion
Lastly, DoorDash is keeping its eyes on the future. Although it’s primarily a food delivery service, the company wants to branch out more in the future.
Its goal is to provide an on-demand delivery service, not just for food but for virtually anything that needs delivering.
Even at its best, the economy on which the on-demand delivery industry is based can still be unstable. For now, though, DoorDash maintains its position as a market leader in online food delivery and will likely continue to grow in the future.
💻 SaaS Of The Week: Bill Fixers
Dealing with your bills sucks.
Bill fixers is a platform that negotiates on your behalf to save you money, time, and stress. They also automatically track price increases, discount expirations, and limited-time promotions to keep you at the lowest rate.
I found them on product hunt, and they’ve had a really positive response from the community so far.
Definitely worth checking out.
🎧 Things You Should Listen To: The War On Small Business With Carol Roth, 2x Best Selling Author, Media Personality & Board Member
Carol Roth is a content creator, “recovering” investment banker, author of The War on Small Business, entrepreneur, TV pundit and host, and New York Times bestselling author of The Entrepreneur Equation.
She has worked in a variety of capacities across industries, including currently as an outsourced CCO, as a director on public and private company boards and as a strategic advisor. She advocates for small business, small government and big hair.
On the content side, Carol is a national media personality, with more than a dozen years of on-camera expertise. Formerly, she has been a judge on the Mark Burnett-produced technology competition series, America’s Greatest Makers, on TBS and the Host of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy show, as well as a panelist on Fox Business’s Bulls & Bears and CNBC’s Closing Bell.
Roth appears regularly on national cable television networks including Fox Business, CNBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
This is what we spoke about.
07:31 — Why we’re forgetting about small businesses.
11:34 — Why were big businesses given a free pass?
15:27 — What could we have done differently to support small businesses?
17:02 — The largest wealth transfer in history.
22:40 — Why did Carol write this book?
26:24 — Why is the death of small business not getting coverage?
33:44 — Holding the Federal Reserve accountable.
36:20 — The issue with the Relief Act and PPP.
40:16 — Advice for young entrepreneurs.
📚 Things You Should Read: A Runners High
Candidly, I got this book to prep for an interview with Dean Karnazes, and I wasn’t expecting to feature it in this newsletter, but I was pleasantly surprised at how incredible Dean was as, not just a runner, but a writer.
This was a great book, not just for people who like running, but a great book all around. I think it relays how someone can have such an incredible passion and love for something (that we can hopefully have for whatever it is we’re working on).
It’s a book about passion, preparation, resilience and achieving excellence at your craft.
🧠 Scott’s Thoughts
“The best personal brands aren’t cultivated and built--they’re a natural extension of success.”
“Real leaders don’t conceal or avoid the facts of the situation--they succeed in spite of them.”
“A day doesn’t know (or care) if it’s good or bad. It’s just a day--you determine what kind of day it is.”
💡 Other Thoughts
"Nothing is easier than saying words. Nothing is harder than living them day after day."
— Arthur Gordon
"The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them."
— Ralph Nichols
If you like the content in this newsletter, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll like my podcast, “Success Story”, where I unpack the playbooks of entrepreneurs, executives and other high performing individuals.
These sponsors make this newsletter possible. Check out their offers and show them some love.
For a limited time, you can get access to Unlimited leads in the LeadFuze database. This means all the leads you want for cold emailing, direct mail, cold calling, social selling, or even to build custom audiences to target specific individuals (not just people who “look like” them).
HubSpot Podcast Network https://hubspot.com/podcastnetwork
HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.
Flatfile - https://flatfile.com
Get to usable data faster so you can focus on what matters most for your business.
Postie - https://postie.com/successstory (Free Demo)
Postie is a technology and data company transforming direct mail marketing into a digitally managed channel.
Canva - https://canva.me/successstory (45 Days Free Pro)
Canva makes design amazingly simple (and fun)! Create stunning designs with your photos and videos—even if you're not a design expert!
JustWorks - https://justworks.com
Run your business with confidence with Justworks. Get simple software + expert support for payroll, benefits, HR, and compliance.
Quantum Metric - https://quantummetric.com/podoffer (Code:Success)
Quantum Metric automatically quantifies opportunities in your digital applications, helping you prioritize with more speed and confidence.
This installment of my newsletter is free for everyone. I send this email daily.
If you enjoyed the newsletter, please share it with a friend who’d find it useful.