Jason Pham

Solving customer problems and rolling out the best features.
Product Strategy & Operations
@
DoorDash

How did you get here?

I spent about 3 years as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co and prior to that, I was a co-founder at HomeHello (online marketplace for home services e.g., home cleaning) and did two investment banking internships.

What options were you considering?

I was considering three options - going into investing, moving back to operating (in tech) and also staying at McKinsey.

Becoming an investor appealed as it has the parts I enjoyed in consulting, but also there is some skin in the game. What’s similar is that you get to look at lots of different businesses, do a combination of conceptual and quantitative analysis and also see clients (this time, founders). I was keen to help a fund I’m interested in to deploy their capital.

I also thought about how I enjoyed operating at HomeHello and why I might enjoy returning to that world. I think there’s something special about building something together with cross-functional team members; getting products and initiatives out the door and watching the impact on metrics.

And the last one, well to be honest I enjoyed my role at McKinsey and was keen to get the ‘Engagement Manager (EM) toolkit’. I’d get a more holistic view of the problem I was solving, given it involves managing multiple work-streams and connecting the dots. Also, there’s the element of people management.

How did you make the decision to take your current role?

I was in motion and having conversations for all three opportunities and to be honest, all three were enticing. However, a golden opportunity came up (at DoorDash, USA) because of the company, the people I met and the prospect of moving overseas.

Regarding the company, I was really impressed by their progress in their strategic journey, coming from 4th place to the top two in market share at the time. I thought there must be some magic in their execution and wanted to be part of this.

Regarding the people I met during the process, they were just awesome. Struck a good balance between hustle and not taking themselves too seriously which really struck a chord with me. I also listened to Tony (CEO) talk on podcasts, and how he articulated his views on DoorDash’s vision, culture and values resonated with me.

And finally, there was an opportunity to move to the US, which was something I always wanted to do.

What are you doing now?

My role as a product strategy and operations manager is about prioritising the most important customer problems to solve, then experimenting to roll out the best product features

What does your day to day look like?

I’ll be doing a lot of analysis (think, number crunching, running SQL scripts), defining product strategy, working with cross-functional partners to roll-out (e.g., working with engineers to design and execute A/B experiments), building dashboards to track progress, and more..

What do you love about your job?

It has to be the day-to-day opportunity to work with like-minded cross-functional partners (e.g., engineers, designers, PMs, strategy/ ops) who all bring a different perspective. Being able to gain alignment between everyone is both challenging and rewarding, which excites me.

Also, I love the fast-paced, “scrappy” nature of DoorDash. We like to move fast, ship things fast, and get a view of product market fit on any new market very quickly, even if it means the solution is not fully formed.

What do you not love about your job?

Like many fast growing Technology organisations, DoorDash is early in its strategic journey, which means we have to move fast. That means sometimes, you will need to be ready to do long hours.

What advice would you give someone deciding what they should do?

Two things come to mind.

Firstly, you’ll want to come with a sense of curiosity and not be intimidated by nitty-gritty, messy detail. For example, you might pick up on an underperforming metric and will have to be ready to go to the Nth level of detail to trouble-shoot. This may mean jumping into millions of rows of data, cutting the data in multiple ways and knowing you might need to explore multiple avenues that could end up being dead-ends.

Secondly, it’s about being willing to roll up your sleeves to step-in as front-line. For example, this might mean coming up with a temporary operational process that solves the issue instead of asking the engineers to create a solution that may take days. It also may mean you’re the one who calls customers and key partners when there’s a bad experience.

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