Progressive Grocer had the opportunity to ask some questions of Liangxiao Zhu, the recently hired VP of engineering at San Francisco-based food delivery platform DoorDash, about her professional background, her goals in her current position, her challenges as a leader, and what her thoughts are on the future of e-commerce.
Progressive Grocer:When did you join DoorDash, and what are your immediate and longer-term goals there with regard to the engineering team and more broadly?
Liangxiao Zhu: I joined DoorDash in February 2022 after having spent almost 10 years at Meta [formerly Facebook]. Starting out, my objective is how can I best help DoorDash scale further. I want to build upon the current tools to help our engineers work better, whether that’s being more effective in how they design, test or collaborate.
More broadly, I enjoy connecting and nurturing talent. I would like to support our engineers to grow both technically and professionally. For me, it’s about how can I scale the team, build sustainable practices, ensure there’s diversity throughout teams and leadership roles, and create a space for growth.
PG: How does your previous experience at Meta and Microsoft inform your current position at DoorDash?
LZ: At Microsoft, I had the unique opportunity to accumulate technical skills and see the back end of how different products were built over the years. This provided me with great instincts on how things should be built and thought about throughout every step of the process. Then, when I joined Facebook, I had the opportunity to see how a company at a young age can evolve. Over the last 10 years at Meta, I learned about all the challenges that come with a high-growth company, including scalability and sustainability. Overcoming those challenges and bringing different perspectives to the table with real examples and data is something that I’m excited to share at DoorDash.
PG: What have been your greatest challenges so far, and how have you surmounted them?
LZ: Business acumen is something that has been a challenge for me. One of the reasons why I’m so excited to be at DoorDash is to learn under our company’s leaders. It was clear from the beginning of DoorDash’s inception that they had a strong vision and strategy for where they wanted to see the company grow. This was very appealing to me. It showed me their confidence and enthusiasm in this space and the company. It was inspiring to see the clarity [with] which they created strategies, execution plans, and how they measured success. Having just been here the last few months, I’ve already gained so much knowledge in this space, and I’m excited to continue on this journey.
PG:How will e-commerce continue to develop over the next five years, and why?
LZ: Customer expectations for convenience across categories were dramatically pulled forward by the pandemic. Consumers want faster and easier ways to get their favorite products delivered to them within minutes, not hours, not days. I believe DoorDash is well positioned to support this growing expectation and demand from consumers.
Additionally, I’m a strong believer in empowering local commerce. There’s so much potential in terms of how best to grow this sector, but more importantly, the possibilities are endless when it comes to powering the local economy that supports people and gives back to businesses. DoorDash is the ultimate platform that has the power to connect people and businesses to everything they need locally at the touch of a button.