Deepinder Goyal, cofounder of Zomato, yesterday did a AMA on Reddit, and was flooded with questions which he replied instantly. Here is a snippet of some of the interesting questions that he replied to.
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: Why has Zomato not yet entered Singapore? Singapore looks like a good market for Zomato to an outsider.
Deepinder: Too cluttered in terms of competition. Not a big prize.
Question: What was all that fuss about Delhi against Bangalore, earlier? In retrospect do you think it was uncalled for? especially when you have already said ITT that you don’t force people to work for you if they don’t want to.
Q2: Marketing Gimmick
Deepinder: How does a marketing campaign force people to work for us? IMHO, the Bangalore campaign worked very well for us. Twitter outrage is cheaper than buying media or hiring recruitment consulting firms.
Question: How do you deal with the problem of restaurants planting fake reviews and ratings to their benefit?
Deepinder: Happens everyday. We are smarter than these folks.
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 :/
Deepinder: Nobody has ever seen a sperm in real life 🙂
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: Did you always have the entrepreneurial bug in you?
Deepinder: I think so.
Question: How was your experience at Bain? We regularly see it ranked at the top of eSat surveys, is it that good?
Deepinder: Kickass. I wouldn’t work anywhere else.
Question: How focused/involved are you with HR at Zomato?
Deepinder: Only as much as I am required to.
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: You have been sentenced to death for a crime that you did not commit. What would you choose for your final meal?
Deepinder: Butter Chicken
Question: burrp was very famous in the beginning. but then now i see everyone only using zomato. how did you beat them?
Deepinder: I think they beat us to it.
Question: Did you ever have a moment in Zomato when you thought it was not working?
Question: What were 2 of the toughest things you had to do while at Zomato?
Deepinder: Stay married. Stay married.
Question: 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: How does Zomato decide which country it will next move to? Till about 3 years back, it was just in India and now it’s in so many. What is the thinking that went behind the aggressive expansion strategy?
Deepinder: Dart Boards
Question: When it comes to hiring, what makes a candidate stand out and a perfect fit for your company? Also, how is your appraisal system? Is it a derivative/shadow of the ones in large companies?
Deepinder: Attitude, not aptitude.
We don’t have an appraisal “system”. Value shines and is appreciated.
Question: 1)Do you think restaurants are taking negative feedback from your site seriously? 2)Is there a way you can push them to?(stricter rating system etc)
Deepinder: They are. Lot of restaurants replying to negative feedback on Zomato itself.
Question: When will Zomato make inroads into the US, and what are the challenges in the company’s path to doing so?
Deepinder: We are already there with the acquisition of Urbanspoon. We will migrate the Urbanspoon traffic to Zomato soon enough. We will get to know the challenges once we do that. Right now, there is no right or wrong answer.
Question: How was the journey with zomato ? How did you start ? When and how did you realize that a great company can be made out of people’s desire to search the right restaurant ?
Deepinder: The first few years, this wasn’t supposed to be what it is right now. We started by collecting menus and then one by one, things started falling into place. We didn’t know how to make money. We figured it out.
The vision changes everyday. Part of our culture is “1% done” – this means that wherever we are, there is always so much more to do.
Question: What would you define as the best moment so far on the Zomato journey?
Deepinder: There are so many great moments. But the fun part of growing so fast is that you never have the time to look at the past.
Question: Who is your favourite superhero? and why?
Deepinder: Rahul Gandhi.
Question: Any plans on going public anytime soon?
Deepinder: Not for the next few years. I love the magnitude of risk that private companies can take.
Although, when we become public, I will still run Zomato as a private company. To hell with analysts and ratings.
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: How does a new startup get by if it doesn’t have the crores of seed money required now?
Question: how much importance would you say a startup should give to the vendor base it has? According to you which plays a more vital role when it comes to a product based on people.
Deepinder: There are various parts to making a product work. You can’t ignore any one of them.
Question: If you started Zomato today, what would you do different? What has been the most surprising thing on your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Deepinder: You can’t start a Zomato today and succeed. How would you compete with Zomato?
That there are enough number of superhumans in the world. You just need to look really really hard. There are enough people who pretend to be superhumans. You just need to spend a little time with them to figure that out.
Question: There will always be a temptation for Indian startups to cash out (disappointed with redbus.in), but do you think we also need a few players that rise really big and compete globally ?
China has homegrown Baidu, twitter clones etc. (although the reason cited is the firewall, Chinese also need their own tech to succeed and they have the large captive audience with different language for that to succeed).
My question is do you think in the next 5 years we will see the emergence of Indian behemoths working in space like AI, robotics ?
Or do we still face the same problems that we had 5- 10 years back
Deepinder: Yes, we need to stop building to sell.
Yes, wait for it. Things are starting to change. India will be a tech superpower in a few years. We just need to wait for the current generation of companies to mature.
Question: Who do think are some serious competitor(s) of Zomato?
Deepinder: Different folks in different countries. Our competition is fragmented, which makes life easy for us.
Question: Lot of ex as well as present employees have raised questions about working culture at Zomato? How do you feel about it?
Deepinder: There is always the right place for every person. Zomato doesn’t force people to work here. People have the flexibility to leave if they don’t like the culture. It isn’t everybody’s but we have enough people here who like this culture. Also, people often confuse perks with culture. We don’t have a lot of material perks at Zomato (like sleep ;-)), but we are proud of what we have built.
Seems entrepreneurs are in a gutsy mood these days, recently Deepinder had announced funding on Secret and just yesterday Rahul Yadav, CEO of Housing, violently abused Sequoia’s Shailendra Singh publicly on Quora.