The Data Chief | Episode 56

DoorDash’s VP of Analytics & Data Science, Jessica Lachs on Leveraging Data to Delight Customers Despite a Challenging Supply Chain

Jessica Lachs

VP, Analytics & Data Science


Current EpisodeEP56: DoorDash’s VP of Analytics & Data Science, Jessica Lachs on Leveraging Data to Delight Customers Despite a Challenging Supply Chain

Episode Overview

Who’s hungry? Thanks to delivery apps like DoorDash, it’s never been easier for modern consumers to satisfy almost any craving in just a few taps. At the helm of DoorDash’s data organization is VP of Analytics & Data Science, Jessica Lachs. With metrics guiding every decision at the company, a key part of her decision-making comes down to properly quantifying the value of each possible tradeoff. Learn more about her decision-making framework, plus how her career in finance evolved into entrepreneurship and ultimately led her to create the data and analytics organization at DoorDash.

Key Moments:

  • Using data to balance tradeoffs (09:28)
  • Managing an unpredictable and complicated supply chain (12:26)
  • The confluence of personalization and consumer privacy (15:08)
  • Strategy for data architecting by the DoorDash team (21:00)
  • Developing a creative team that also communicates effectively (26:59)
  • Unlikely career journey: Lehman Brothers to entrepreneurship (33:00)
  • Cultivating a positive response to failure (35:51)
  • Lightning Round (40:15)

Key Takeaways:

How do you make impactful, data-driven trade-offs? (09:28)

“If you quantify the different parts of your business, not just based on frequency, but also based on impact, then you can use that information to actually make the right trade-off and to prioritize the right workstreams internally.”

Bringing forth the best customer experience is a balancing act that first requires quantifying each step of that experience. But how exactly do you quantify these steps? As Jessica suggests, it starts with understanding the impact each decision will have on the customer journey. Prioritizing impact leads to better tradeoffs which in turn leads to more positive customer experiences.

How do you create personalized experiences without compromising user privacy? (17:18)

“We'll look at trends overall; we'll look at popular merchants, frequently ordered items, but it's all aggregated to understand overall marketplace dynamics, and [we] share that information with merchants on our platform so that they can improve their menus and improve their restaurant offerings.”

The data that DoorDash has is useful for many different aspects of the consumer experience. Each segment of their supply chain can be helped by the insights gleaned in the numbers. Jessica’s goal is to use DoorDash data to provide the best transaction experience for merchants, consumers, and Dashers, all while protecting the privacy of individual users. They do this by focusing on macro trends.

How do you really listen to what the data is telling you? (28:49)

“I like to look for people who aren't wedded to a particular outcome or a particular solution, but really want to use the data to understand what is the next step that we should take based on what we're seeing. How do we use the information we're collecting to iterate, to uncover new opportunities?”

A good data scientist doesn’t address a problem with a solution already in mind. Instead, they listen to what the data is telling them and react accordingly.

Key Quotes:

For us, it's really about collecting as much information as we can about all sides of the marketplace, bringing all of that data together into a central, uh, data platform where all of that data is accessible.

Data has the ability to improve all parts of our business.

We don't just quantify the efficacy of new models or product features. We also want to know how does app speed and reliability result in a better experience for consumers and for dashers.

You don't need perfect or complete data to still make a great decision. And I think it's really part of our job from an analytics team is to determine when a quick decision with maybe 60% confidence is actually the right decision to make for speed of execution.



Jessica Lachs is VP of Analytics and Data Science at DoorDash. In her role, she oversees a team of around 200 people across the country that use data to solve business problems, covering business and product analytics, data science, experimentation, data, and performance management. Prior to this position, Jessica held the role of first General Manager at DoorDash, responsible for launching new DoorDash cities (like Los Angeles and Boston) combining marketing creativity, analytics, and hustle to operationalize each new city. 

Jessica began her career in investment banking at Lehman Brothers and in business, school founded her own company, GiftSimple, a social gifting startup, which caught the attention of DoorDash CEO Tony Xu through an investor. From there he hired her as one of DoorDash’s first employees. Jessica is a graduate of Cornell University and holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management from the University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School. Jessica is a big Yankees fan and currently resides in Austin, TX.