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…

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…

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…

Chief Operating Officer at DoorDash

Hi CP, tell me about what you do at DoorDash.

I’m the Chief Operating Officer at DoorDash, basically responsible for the profit and loss of the company. I run the day-to-day business operations — mainly on the Marketing, Merchant, and Dasher side of the operation. I’ve been at the company for 4.5 years now.

You’ve been a leader at many other tech companies in the past. What makes DoorDash stand out?

In my past career, I was at Microsoft for 15 years, Amazon during its early days, and then eBay. Interestingly, DoorDash has elements of all three: It’s a software problem like Microsoft; it’s an intensely operational scale challenge like Amazon; and it’s also a marketplace like eBay that connects various audiences. But then DoorDash is still…

VP of Product at DoorDash

Hi Rajat, tell me about what you do at DoorDash.

I run Product and Design. The teams are responsible for developing product strategy and executing visions to help DoorDash achieve its mission of helping local communities and businesses reach their full potential.

What does the DoorDash Product team work on?

There are two aspects of the product team’s work. One is based on the audience group we support: Consumer, Merchant, and Dashers. Consumer team is focused on helping consumers get their food faster at a more affordable price. Merchant team is all about helping the merchants grow their business and operate more efficiently. Dasher team enables our Dashers to earn more on the DoorDash platform with flexibility.


Design Leadership Interview at DoorDash

Hi Radhika! What do you do at DoorDash?

I lead a small but mighty UX Research team at DoorDash. My team works very closely with cross-functional partners to discover product opportunities, gather customer insights and evaluate the product/design decisions.

Tell me about your background:

I grew up in India. My family moved every 2–3 years because my dad was in the Air Force. I went to a boarding school for 9 years where I lived with students from diverse backgrounds speaking different languages. This was my introduction to observing human behavior.

I studied Architecture in my undergrad, determined that I’d solve important issues like low-cost housing for the world. When I got an…

Although we’re living in an era in which many companies advocate for diversity and inclusion, I am often still the only female director in the room in the tech industry. Even more often, I find myself to be the only first-generation immigrant who learned English as a second language.

This is interesting given almost 27% of the population in California is foreign-born immigrants and 45% of people speak a different language at home.

Was I luckier? Was I smarter? Probably not.

I have been pondering what made me different and how I leveraged my unique immigrant experience for the last…

Since I joined DoorDash back in January of this year, my utmost priority has been to build up the design team. Hiring is one critical part of the effort to support the company’s exponential growth, but equally important is the team’s career development.

Based on the team’s overall feedback, we identified a clear need to establish a career ladder framework that would help designers better understand where they stood in their career and what they needed to do to develop themselves further.

I decided to take a design-thinking approach to this task, and went through a problem-solving process similar to…

Behind the interviewers’ curtain

About a year ago, I published an article, “10 interview tips I share with my designer candidates.” Spurred by the overwhelmingly positive feedback, I decided to share more interviewing tips. This time it’s for the people on the other side of the table — the people conducting the interviews.

The interview is a concerted effort between a candidate and a hiring team. It’s NOT a test for interviewees. It’s a fair two-way evaluation process, and both parties need to mutually put forth the best effort to make the experience truly awesome.

Here are 10 interviewing tips based on my own…

Helena Seo

Design leader, people manager and product strategist. Currently Head of Design at DoorDash.

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