He is Killing That Annoying “We Missed You” Sticky Note the UPS Always Puts on Your Door, $3m Raised, 10 Teammates

Zander Adell

In Episode #271 Nathan interviews Zander Adell, co-founder and CEO of Doorman. Zander’s aiming to solve the frustrating problem of finding a note on your door, instead of your Amazon or FedEx package. He left his job as technical director at Pixar to go to business school, and wound up solving one of the stickiest problems in e-commerce. Listen as Zander and Nathan talk logistics, changing a business ecosystem, and dreaming big.

Famous 5

  • Favorite Book? – Good to Great
  • What CEO do you follow? — Jeff Bezos
  • What is your favorite online tool? — Slack
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Yes
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? — To focus on the big dream, not the little pieces along the way


Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:26 – Nathan’s introduction
  • 02:00 – Welcoming Zander to the show
  • 02:20 – Zander left Pixar in his early 30s to go to business school
  • 02:50 – He wanted to understand how to get a business off the ground
  • 03:10 – Fascinated by the logistics element of apps
  • 03:40 – Worked in the gaming industry briefly before starting Doorman
  • 04:10 – Doorman aims to solve the e-commerce problem of getting your stuff delivered
  • 04:40 – It lets customers schedule when a package will come to their house
  • 05:10 – We’re still in a transitional period between shopping in person and online
  • 05:30 – The existing logistics infrastructure isn’t ready to interact with consumers
  • 06:00 – Revenue comes from both retail partnerships and consumer customers
  • 06:40 – Items are delivered to Doorman’s warehouse; customers then choose a delivery time
  • 07:10 – Warehouses in San Francisco, Chicago and New York
  • 07:20 – Working with retailers is currently more profitable
  • 07:50 – Launched in 2014
  • 08:00 – One co-founder and a team of 10 people
  • 08:15 – Raised a little over $3 million through 500 Startups
  • 09:00 – Around 10-20% growth of users per month
  • 10:40 – Delivered over 100,000 packages
  • 11:10 – “We’ll deliver pretty much anything” – anything under 45lb is a normal package
  • 12:00 – Furniture etc. costs a little more
  • 12:40 – Doorman is currently trying to build economies of scale
  • 14:15 – A big win in 2016 would be hooking up with a large retailer
  • 15:00 – Don’t consider themselves a SaaS business – but use SaaS measures
  • 16:00 – Logistics margins are tight – they can get down to 5% in big companies
  • 16:50 – “We can scale without really owning anything”
  • 17:10 – Delivering 15-20 packages on average for top-quartile customers
  • 18:25 – People’s buying doubled when they started using Doorman
  • 21:20 – Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Logistics companies can learn from the pared-down model of SaaS. It’s possible to grow without owning bricks-and-mortar infrastructure, or fleets of lorries.
  2. Assess whether what you’re doing right now is serving your long-term goals. If it isn’t: change what you’re doing.
  3. When you solve a problem in an ecosystem, you change people’s behaviour. Simply providing an effective solution can make a market develop.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Leadpages – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.