Photography by Galen Crout

People occasionally ask me for advice on their career development and promotion. There’s no simple way to answer this question because everyone’s career goals and paths are unique, but I find that hiking is a perfect analogy to describe what it means. When I presented this analogy at our Design team’s all-hands at DoorDash, it seemed to resonate with many folks, so I’d like to share it more broadly in the hopes that it helps others with their journey.

Everyone has a different destination, and it’s up to you to decide where to go.

Your career is a personal journey…

Illustration by Natasha Remarchuk from Icons8

I joined DoorDash during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite not having worked with any of my colleagues in person, the journey has been both exciting and rewarding. When I reflected on the ride so far, three things stood out to me that made being a user researcher at DoorDash unique.

1. Having Strategy & Operation (S&O) as a key stakeholder, in addition to product teams

Like other companies that are at the intersection of the physical and digital worlds, DoorDash is an operation-heavy company. What I appreciate is how closely the Strategy & Operation (S&O) teams work with the product teams and researchers. When there is an idea, S&O and product work together on an execution…

Cameron in Rome in February 2020.

Design Leadership interview at DoorDash

Hi Cameron! Tell me about what you do at DoorDash!

I lead the Merchant product design team. Merchants are essential to DoorDash’s ecosystem and the key to our success. When they do well, we do well. Therefore, my team’s goal is to make sure every merchant becomes successful on our platform — which means making sure our product is easy to onboard, delivers value to our merchants, positively impacts their bottom line, and is delightful to use.

Tell me about your journey into product design.

Throughout my life I’ve always been into video games. When I was in high school…

Design Leadership Interview at DoorDash

Hey Helena! Thanks for taking time to chat. Let’s start with your role: what do you do at DoorDash?

Hi Tae! I have the privilege of leading Design at DoorDash. The team comprises Product Design, Design Infrastructure, UX Research, and UX Content Strategy. We build all touch points of our user experience for three audiences: Consumers, Merchants, and Dashers.

How did you get started in design?

Funny enough, I can’t remember a day when I wasn’t designing. Growing up with an artistic mom and an engineering dad, I was a kid who was always drawing and making stuff. Both of my parents taught me to value craft and dexterity. …

Theming in the Prism Design Language System for web helped enable our launch of Caviar!

Blake’s glasses are 3D printed German frames, because design.

Design Leadership Interview at DoorDash

Hi Blake! Tell me about your journey into UX design.

I was always obsessed with screens: my calculator watch, my graphing calculator, my 5-disc CD changer. But like most people, I didn’t realize designing those things could be a job — during junior high school, my dream job was to own a car dealership by day and be a jazz trumpet player by night. I still play my trumpet for weddings, and my interest in cars has dropped — now a car is just a utility for me.

My first job with “computers” was when I worked at Egghead Software during high school. I was so excited to have anything…

At DoorDash, the Product Design team regularly gives design presentations for partners as an integral part of our role. We present work-in-progress for feedback, and finalized designs for review and signoff. In many circumstances, design presentations are the first time people outside your core team see your work, so when I present, I always try to make sure my audience can:

  • Clearly understand the problem we’re solving
  • Easily follow along with the work
  • Clearly analyze how we came up with the solution we’re proposing

One strategy that’s worked well for me for design presentations is to use a structure inspired…

Photography by Sacha Styles

Having worked for ~20 managers over the last two decades, I have to admit that managing up has been one of the most challenging skills to get the hang of. Upper management is a key stakeholder group that shapes your daily job and long-term career growth in the org, so learning how to effectively manage up is critical. I’ve made many mistakes and incorrect assumptions about managing up, and perfecting it will be a life-long journey for me, but I wanted to share my learnings so far in case anyone finds it useful.

So, the million-dollar question: Is there some…

Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder at DoorDash

Hi Tony, for the audience who may not be familiar with you, tell us who you are!

I am the CEO and co-founder of DoorDash.

What is your day-to-day like as a CEO at DoorDash?

It changes day-to-day but I would say there are a few categories that I’m spending most of my time in.

The first category is the operating reviews, and it probably takes the largest portion of my days. It’s about reviewing and tracking the health of our major audiences (consumers, merchants, and dashers) on the top 5–6 priorities of the company.

The second is spending time with customers, which is usually done in two forms: one is spending time in merchant calls. My calls with merchants range from larger national merchants all the…

Design Leadership Interview at DoorDash

Hello Kathryn, thanks for taking time to talk! Could you start by describing your role at DoorDash?

Sure! I lead the Design Infrastructure team here. At a high level, our job is to enable our partners in design, product, and engineering to build better products faster, and to make better product decisions more efficiently.

We do this by making sure that we’re building the right sort of tools and patterns so that our partners have to spend less time thinking about nuances of UI design and how to actually construct the product. This means they can focus on what the product is and the problems it’s trying to solve.

One of the…

Design @ DoorDash

Stories and lessons from DoorDash Design team

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