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Uber Eats executive’s advice for managers

November 11, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In “Pass It On,” AP beat reporters ask executives to share experiences and insights that will resonate with anyone managing a business.

Jason Droege is a vice president of Uber and head of Uber Everything, the unit that is trying to create more businesses to run on the ride-hailing service’s network.

His biggest venture thus far is Uber Eats, a fast-growing restaurant food delivery service that by the end of the year will be within reach of 70 percent of the U.S. population. The 3-year-old service is in more than 300 metro cities across 36 countries.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self about managing people or running a business? What did you learn from your early mistakes?

A: Listening to your customers earlier. Entrepreneurs can get wedded to an idea. Your customers ultimately control the success of your business, and if you listen to them early and without any of your own biases on the world, you’re probably going to get to the product that satisfies their needs sooner.

Q: What have you learned about problem-solving over the years? What are the keys to tackling your most difficult challenges?

A: You can solve it yourself and you’re going to be very limited, or you can solve it in a group and provide an environment where people can help you solve the problem. You’re going to get to a more optimal answer than if you do it yourself.

Q: How much do you pay attention to your competition, and what do you try to learn from them?

A: We’re aware of competition but we don’t focus on it. From the very beginning we had our own perspective on where we thought food could go. We’ve been focused on speed, we’ve been focused on convenience.

Q: What key things can a manager do in terms of workplace culture that separate a mediocre business from a high-performing one?

A: You invest a lot of time and energy recruiting high-quality people to come work on your team. You just want to make sure those people can bring their experiences, their intellect, their perspective to the table, and then contribute to the overall collective mindset of the business.

Q: How do you manage work-life balance?

A: You just have to figure out what your priorities are. For me personally, if I take care of myself and my family, those two things can help support my work. I don’t know that it’s as much balance as much as it is healthy integration.

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