Office Hours: I’m Liz Meyerdirk, CEO at The Pill Club. I previously led Strategy and Business Development for Uber Eats. AMA!Featured

Hi everyone! I’m Liz Meyerdirk, CEO at The Pill Club, where we’re empowering women and people who identify, present, or have presented as women to lead their healthiest lives. We started small: delivering birth control right to your doorstep. Today, we’re doing so much more.

I started my career in investment banking, venture capital, and growth equity investing. After many years in finance, I joined Uber as the first business hire for Uber Everything. I am a founding member of the Uber Eats team and helped grow the business to $50bn+ in annual gross bookings.

Throughout my career, I’ve made a conscious effort to focus on making the biggest impact within my role, while also finding, following, and learning from good people. So far, these two strategies have not led me astray!

Towards the end of my tenure at Uber, I helped drive our M&A strategy, launch our ads business and relaunch our delivery-as-a-service platform.

And most importantly, I am a proud momma to three young kids. My family is the best team I could ever ask for.

Ask me anything about fast-paced tech, investing, and being a working mom!

Thanks so much for joining us @lizmeyerdirk!Elphas – please ask @lizmeyerdirk your questions before Friday, December 10th. @lizmeyerdirk may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Thank you so much Lizzy. Uber eats is where I envisaged to be. As a PM with few years experience, I found Uber eats interesting. Any heads up for me?
Love the interest in Uber Eats. I think it is a fascinating business as well, but I am biased :) I think the biggest part of Eats I’d try to conceptualize is that it is inherently a marketplace model. As a PM, developing your first principles on how far you want to take it as a marketplace is important. For example, what is your role as a marketplace as it relates to customer data and how you want to (or don’t want to) share that with the merchants who sell on your marketplace? Being able to form your product principles is crucial to being a successful PM.
Super excited to have you on Elpha! As someone going from individual contributor to a leadership role, strategy has been a challenge for me to grasp. Can you talk about how you've approached strengthening your strategic thinking skills and how your framework for building out strategies have evolved over the years as you take on higher level work/initiatives?
First and foremost, I try to simplify things — in life, with kids, and in business. Simplifying seemingly-complex business topics not only forces you to think critically about the building blocks, but also makes “strategy” or “business” less scary sounding. I often go to first principles and ask: "What problem are we solving in the world?" And then, “What unique customer insight do we have that allows us to solve this problem better than anyone else?”Second, you have to talk to your customer. I often think about “the best-laid plans of mice and men”, to borrow from Robert Burns, and how you have to base your conviction and strategy in reality. The only way you get there is to talk to customers as much as you can.Third, be a great historian. I like to think that business models are simple, assuming you can break them down into basic building blocks and you're collecting feedback from your customers. If your'e doing those things, all of your questions have already been answered in some way. At the end of the day, you have to make money by selling a product or service, and that version of commerce has probably existed already. So, try to be multidisciplinary and read as much as you can about old and new businesses, in your industry or not. You will find inspiration in history.
What was the biggest transition you had to make going from being an employee to a CEO of your company (both either mentally or regarding your work style)?
All eyes are on you. To me, that was the hardest transition. Not only are all eyes on you, the buck stops with you too. If you don’t like the culture, it’s on you to fix it. If you think you need to raise the bar, that’s on you. And there is no other better credible spokesperson for the company than you, so embrace it!
You are such a powerhouse! 🤩What's your strategy or tips for making sure you are constantly "finding, following, and learning from good people"?
The best tip I can give is if you find good people, hold on tight and don’t let go. It’s important to invest in those relationships and I’ve found that years 3, 4, 5 of knowing someone can bring different depth to your life than in the first few months of knowing someone. Such is also the case in years 10, 11 and 12 and so on. The next piece of advice I’d give is to be realistic about your time and truly how many good people you need or want in your life. I tend to think fewer, higher quality and that works for me. So be intentional about how you spend your time so you can really develop those relationships.
Thanks so much for being here, Liz, and for the work The Pill Club is doing! Given your experience, I'd love your perspective on strategy/business development roles (ie Chief Strategy Officer, VP of Strategic Development, etc.) in the tech world. How did you demonstrate your ability to be strategic? Any advice or tips for those who aspire to strategy/innovation at that level?
Thank you for the question! I have a lot of thoughts on this one, so I’ll start by saying that ultimately the most successful strategies are the ones that are actually implemented. So, having an eye towards execution – a bias to action, how to track effectiveness of the strategy, and fixing when inevitably things go wrong – is super important and you almost want to start there. From there, really doing the work to form a view on the world and where it’s going to go, then overlaying your company’s unique assets and strengths, and lastly having a hard nose for sizing financial impact are all critical to successfully selling in any strategy. I hope this helps!
Hi Liz! I'm really curious what your day-to-day looks like with the kids and how you make time for each child. I've been running my startup since March 2020 and have two young girls, and I feel like there's some secret I'm missing. By the time the workday is over, it's basically dinner/bedtime. Lately, my younger one keeps asking for her nanny when I'm with her. With my older kid, I had a flexible part-time job and a great balance, but no career growth. Now, I love my work, but have no time for the kids. How have you navigated this?
First off, I just wanted to give you a giant, very platonic hug. You are doing great work every single day, even if you don’t feel it, so please take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate yourself! Second, to me it is all about attitude and perspective. Some folks want more or less, and all answers are ok, so long as they work for you and your family. If you want more time with the kids, I would carve out dedicated time in your day and learn to say no to other things (the latter takes practice). And, I would communicate to your kids and to your family what you will and won’t do. For example, my 7-year old wants me to come into the classroom every Friday and attend his school’s outdoor assembly. I can't swing a weekly drop-in, so I’ve told him I’ll come into the classroom once a month and I will be at his school’s assembly when he is speaking or performing, like next week. Over time, the consistency creates predictability and I think that is really helpful for your kids and also you.On the point of your younger one asking for the nanny, what I hear is that you have a wonderful caregiver and your child is incredibly loved. While it might sting a bit when they ask for the nanny (or call you your nanny’s name — that happens to me all the time), knowing your child is in a loving and warm environment only allows you to better do your day job to your fullest ability. If you only take one thing away from this response: be kind to yourself in all things, manage your time with intention, and keep fighting the good fight!!
You're truly phenomenal @lizmeyerdirk and all I want is to be your friend haha :D thank you so much for joining us for OH this week! On a serious note, the Pill Club is crushing it and I am so happy about it. However, I imagine it was not smooth sailing all the way so curious how were the beginnings when pitching to investors (mostly men who perhaps needed some education)? What angles did the team tackle?
Let’s be friends! And yes, the path to success is littered with woebegone stories. It is super important to stay laser focused and committed to the vision and mission and WHY you are doing what you are doing at the moment. Without sounding too cheesy, I do like to use a refrain I’ve learned from my kids’ preschool teachers: “everyone is still learning”. I think that definitely applies here. If you approach investor conversations as adversarial and express disappointment when they don’t understand, that will come through loud and clear. If you approach the same conversations as an opportunity to educate and by doing so, empower, that instead comes through (which is my preferred method). So, put on those positive rose tinted glasses and as George Michael would say, “you gotta have faith”.
I am onnecting with you on LinkedIn and cheers to a new friendship :-D I love all of this and "everyone is still learning" is definitely not cheesy!! I actually always say the day I stop learning is the day I die, though that the Angels in heaven can teach a thing or two.Love the idea of using a "let me explain this to you" approach - it is definitely a conversation and a lot investors hate to feel dumb :)
Hi Liz, thanks for sharing your time with us! Your experience and profile is really impressive and as a fellow strategic thinker, I'm interested in a few things: 1. What are some of your tips on how to best present strategic vision to people that don't have that big-picture, strategic thinking? As the COO and strategy lead of a small but growing startup, this is something I struggle with most at times - I feel like I see the big picture clearly but sometimes no matter how I phrase/present it, the message doesn't seem to get through. My fellow co-founder likes to joke that I expect too much of people sometimes but I truly believe that the more plugged in to the strategy the team is, the more successful we all will be. Plus, I'm an eternal optimist and want to give the people the chance to develop their own strategic thinking and rise up to challenges. 2. From a mom of small kids perspective, what would you like to share with other moms (other that being a mom and entrepreneur is super freaking demanding :D). I know we all suffer from the mom-guilt when we're not with them as well as when we are and are thinking about work, but I always appreciate any tips from other successful businesswomen. 3. Not there just yet, but I suspect we will be very soon - what would be your best advice in starting to scout VCs and other investors for your startup? I am most concerned in finding the people who will align with our mission and not just see us as another asset in the portfolio. Thanks!
Love these questions! Let's start with your first question. In short, it's all about storytelling! One single story that evokes a bit of human experience and emotion is the key to helping folks see the big picture. It takes a bit of practice and repetition, and please don’t lose that eternal optimist in yourself.On #2 - there are so many things I could share right now. Top of mind are: 1) you actually can’t do it all – so allow yourself to outsource to willing helpers when you need to, 2) be kind to yourself in all things, and 3) be present. It sucks to be at work and feeling guilty about missing out at home. And it’s equally agonizing to be at home wishing for the madness in the day to end and want to be at work. And that second point is super important: always, always be kind to yourself!And to your final question i'll start by saying that it’s not necessarily a bad thing if folks see you as another asset in the portfolio – there are inputs and outputs to every type of investor relationship, which brings me to my main point: Be very intentional about the types of people you want to talk to every day, and that includes your investors and your board. Often it is not just the VC headline name but the investor(s) themselves that matters. So really soul search - like making any friend, it takes time. Figure out what you’re looking for, start early in meeting folks, and be genuine and clear about what you're looking for. I feel like that advice actually works everywhere, but especially when you feel like there is a lot on the line. Last thing I’ll say – let’s be honest – at some point, there will be a real possibility that you will just need the money, regardless of the investor. So keep a long view on all of this and be kind to everyone you interact with, including yourself.