Anchor List: Trevor Reader, Head of Dasher Growth at Doordash

The Anchor List recognizes extraordinary operators in the startup ecosystem. Learn more at anchorlist.com

In our highlight reel of the most effective startup operators, Trevor Reader deserves special mention in the marketing & growth category for his leadership of Dasher Growth at Doordash.

“One of the most valuable things you can usually do is user research. The team regularly calls Dashers to understand their challenges, whether they like or dislike new products/features, and retrieve feedback around what we can work on to improve the experience. This user research is one of the best ways we can improve our marketing to potential new dashers and build a better signup and onboarding experience.” 

After four years playing professional poker and six years in startup marketing, Trevor joined Doordash as Head of Dasher Growth in June of 2019. Trevor leads growth of the company’s driver side, working to grow the fleet across more than 4000 cities through organic & paid acquisition, onboarding funnel optimization, and operational adjustments.

Reflecting on his success at Doordash, Trevor has an impressively logical way of tackling nebulous situations. He approaches these new challenges by: 

  1. Understanding what problem(s) he’s solving for, usually through user research and/or analyzing the funnel

  2. Defining the desired future state

  3. Building a hypothesis

  4. Running quick proof-of-concept tests that determine whether to double down on the investment or end it

Whenever possible, Trevor ties all his projects back to precise inputs and business impact. This approach helps when working on more ambiguous, complex challenges, where the company needs to plan for a range of scenarios. In aiding this effort, Trevor highlights the value of user research: in an uncertain environment, user research can turn unknown unknowns into practical and actionable data. 

Even when approaching his planning and use of time, Trevor thinks strategically, implementing an analysis of expected value and replacement value:

  1. Expected Value: What is the likelihood of success multiplied by the outcome if we succeed? (Sometimes this leads Trevor to implement low-likelihood but high-return strategies; sometimes it leads to the reverse.) 

  2. Replacement Value: Is there an alternative, more efficient way to,complete the task requiring less time, dollars, resources, etc. (and therefore achieve the aim with less expense)?

Trevor’s logical perspective leads him to some counterintuitive opinions on marketing as a whole. For instance, Trevor has found many marketers overvalue bottom-of-funnel channels like brand search, which is easy to associate with last-click conversion, but in many cases the customer making the query was going to convert without the ad

For those who can similarly thrive in ambiguity, Trevor has an unusual marketing recommendation: Craigslist. While it operates quite differently from most digital advertising channels, Trevor has found success at scale on the job board by running tests on past projects. Since the platform offers a wide reach and a highly-engaged audience, Trevor has found its job board to be particularly fruitful for sourcing gig workers. 

In recognizing Trevor’s work, we’re particularly impressed by his ability to steer nebulous situations toward desirable quantitative aims. Drawing from his poker background, Trevor’s comfort with chaos and singular drive toward the goal shine through.