Story of DoorDash quickly validating their idea

When Stanley Tang was studying at Stanford, he visited a Macaron store. At that time he was passionate about solving problems of small business owners.

While speaking with the owner of the store, Stanley realized that she had this thick booklet of pending orders which people wanted to be delivered, however, was not able to get them delivered. Instead, she ended up delivering a lot of them herself.

Finding this interesting, Stanley interviewed a host of other similar businesses, and realized that almost everyone had this basic, yet unsolved problem.

Stanley deliberated on the idea and wanted to validate it.

In order to do that, he spend an afternoon creating a landing page with online PDF menus and his personal cell phone numbers.

The next day, something unexpected happened. Someone called. They wanted to order Thai food at Alpine Road, Palo Alto. Stanley and friends were pretty surprised but obviously decided to fulfill the order.

Stanley and his friends validated their idea in the coolest way possible.

They launched in one hour, had no driver, no algorithms and did not take 6 months building the website. They used Square to charge customers, Google Docs to keep track of orders. In fact at one point of time they were growing so fast, that Square shut down their account on suspicion of money laundering. They were customer support themselves.

What did we learn?

Here are the three things we can learn from the DoorDash (or perhaps PaloAltoDelivery.com example) :

  • Test Your Hypothesis Fast
  • Launch Faster
  • Acquire first, build later

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