Doing Things That Don’t Scale; PR; How to get Started

  • Stanley Tang, Founder, DoorDash
  • Walker Williams, Founder, Teespring
  • Justin Kan, Founder, TwitchTV and Partner, Y Combinator


How to Get Started, Things that don’t scale

  • Stanley Tang, DoorDash
  • DoorDash on demand food delivery service
  • talked to 150-200 business owners regarding delivery service
  • 4m00s test hypothesis with simple site
  • ok to hack things together at the beginning
  • used existing tools instead of building infrastructure/ backend (square, find-my-friends, google docs)
  • 10m20s expanded to more cities and now need to scale
  • 10m45s 1. test your hypothesis, 2. launch fast, 3. do things that don’t scale
  • 11m24s Q&A how did first customer hear about you: word of mouth
  • why wasn’t this done before: mobile and existing tech made infrastructure possible
  • future: expand with restaurant delivery then other verticals

Things that Don’t Scale


  • Walker Williams, Teespring
  • 16m10s teespring allows launching new apparel brands
  • huge advantage of startup over established business is being able to do things that don’t scale
  • 17m10s Finding your first users, turning those users into champions, finding product/ market fit
  • getting first users: no silver bullet, first ones are the hardest to acquire
  • don’t focus on ROI, focus on growth
  • don’t give product away for free
  • turning users into champions by delighting customers, talk to users, read tweets and user communities
  • talking to customers: 1. run customer service, 2. reach out to current & churned customers, 3. social media/ communities
  • 24m45s problems inevitable, so whatever it takes to make them right
  • 26m00s find product market fit: first product launched probably won’t be the final fit
  • optimize code for speed over scalability
  • only worry about the next order of magnitude (100, 1000, 10000….)
  • do things that don’t scale as long as possible
  • 30m20s Q&A
  • t-shirt print is competitive, why launch: had personal pain point while trying to get shirts printed
  • biggest customer base: entrepreneurs trying to build brands, influencers


  • Justin Kan, TwitchTV, Partner Y Combinator
  • 32m55s how to get press, how does it work
  • who do you want to reach? investors, customers, industry, have targeted audience and goals
  • 36m17s what is a story?: product launches, fundraising, milestones, stunts, hiring, contributed articles
  • 39m40s mechanics of a story: think of a story, get introduced, set a date, reach out, pitch, followup, launch news
  • meet writer face-to-face if possible
  • structure story as bullet points and memorize, then go through during interview
  • send follow-up email
  • 44m50s PR Firms: firms can only help with contacts, can’t generate stories, are expensive. do it yourself first
  • Getting press is work, not a scalable user acquisition strategy, not recommended for startups
  • Further Reading
    • The Burned Out Blogger’s Guide to PR, Jason Kincaid
    • Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, Ryan Holiday

Additional Reading



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