Deepinder Goyal, chief executive and founder of Zomato, took to Reddit last evening for an Ask Me Anything. Goyal said that the service will be beginning home delivery next week. There was a lot of talk about butter chicken and specifically how it will be ordered. Here are some of the questions and answers we found interesting, and funny.
Question: You and I have 1 mutual friend on facebook. We are almost like best friends now.
When are you inviting me to your party?
Also, are you planning to get into online home delivery? I always refer to zomato for menus. if there is an order now button I just might do that as well!
Deepinder: Getting into home delivery next week. It will be big and awesome.
Question: I’ve heard you guys are starting food ordering, what about the cities that’d it be available in? I’m sure there would be few of them right now?
Deepinder: Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore for a start. Others will follow very soon.
Question: Are your acquisitions in the future going to be focused on other geographies (like UrbanSpoon) or smaller competitors with different business models within India (like TinyOwl)
Deepinder: Mix of both. But not Tinyowl – don’t like the name.
Question: Why do you guys have to enforce 8.30am to 8pm sort of timing? Do you really expect a good developer to be able to be in the zone for 12 hours straight? I know there’s no strict stay till 8pm rule, maybe even there is. But it is clearly frowned upon if a guy regularly leaves early.
Why do you guys not use team communication tools? People in tech team do not know what all is being worked on inside zomato itself. Agreed, one guy would have his own task to deal with but awareness of what all is going on at least in the tech team helps in increasing the feeling of being connected with the team.
The culture in tech team is toxic. Contributing to open source isn’t even considered. In office hackathons, people are expected to work on zomato related things only. How do you expect great developers to want to work in such environment? Great developers almost always tend to have great side projects. With the kind of timings and environment that is being provided, this is simply not possible while being in Zomato tech team.
Deepinder: Actually, we don’t enforce an 8:30am timing. But what I expect is that if I request for a team meeting at 8:30am, you would show up at 8:30am.
Why would we contribute to open source if we are barely able to ship what we need to ship to keep our users happy.
All these are unrealistic expectations from a growing company. If you are part of the tech team at Zomato, you are clearly at the wrong place. You should either try to get answers to these questions by talking to me and believe in what we are doing, or leave. We don’t force people to work here if they don’t want to.
Question: eCom valuations – bubble or not? What do you think will be the implications if (or when) it does burst? Urbanspoon – Lots of brick and mortar Indian businesses went for vanity buys in 2007-2008. Are you fully satisfied that you did what had to be done in India (not just expansion, but deepening of product) before venturing out?
Goods and bads of being in a listed corporate set up?
Biggest scale up challenges for India ecom companies?
Deepinder: eCom valuations – everybody is overvalued right now, but only the big successful companies are getting these valuations. Investors (hopefully) are not stupid – they will make money out of these deals.
Urbanspoon – we treat our search business as a canvas in India and in other countries as well. Urbanspoon gave us a bigger canvas. We are yet to paint the picture. When I say picture, I mean table reservations, online ordering, payments, POS, etc..
Biggest challenge – we are not ecom yet, and even when we become one, we will hopefully not face the customer acquisition cost (CAC) challenge that most ecom companies face. Having said that, every company which is scaling fast needs great people to help build the scale. Shameless plug – we are hiring.
Question: Are you guys (eCom founders as a whole) actually creating (ESOP led) wealth for your employees. From what I have seen, the ESOP pools are smaller, and more concentrated and tilted away from employees (screwed up vestings) much more than in the valley. Any chance of a convergence coming any time soon?
Deepinder: 10% of Zomato is ESOP pool and we constantly top it up on every round. I believe that is one of the largest ESOP pools in India Internet right now. I think Flipkart is 5%.
About 25 people at Zomato have been able to sell their shares in the secondary market until now. Short answer – people at Zomato have already made quite a bit of money with their ESOPs.
Question: What’s the reason behind discontinuing API service for individual developers ?
Deepinder: High maintenance. Our dev team didn’t have the bandwidth to maintain this.
Question: The amount of street food vendors selling awesome stuff is way too high in India. Any plans of recognising them with some private quality license maybe ?
Deepinder:Interesting question. We have been contemplating coming up with a “hygiene quality rating” which audits restaurants and their kitchens etc.. but we haven’t figured out the details of how we will get into this.
Question: What’s with the logo changes? The newer ones suck. The original Z was quite good. I know you clarified but still, the recent one looks like a sperm :/
Sorry, being honest. I like Zomato :(
Deepinder: I see a spoon. I am hoping that in some time, you will too.
The change in logo was important to make sure we win in the US, Australia and Canada. We could only keep our heart logo for 3 months – but you have to do what you have to do.
Question: You have been sentenced to death for a crime that you did not commit. What would you choose for your final meal?
Deepinder: Dude. Butter chicken. Just butter chicken. With my bare hands.
Question: When will the day arrive when I ask Siri on my iPhone to order Butter Chicken from a restaurant and Zomato do the rest for me?
Deepinder: Meeting Tim Cook tomorrow evening over chai. Will let you know.
Question: What goes behind the scenes while zomato start thinking about an acquisition?