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Know Your Customers’ “Jobs to Be Done” (2016) (hbr.org)
83 points by tosh on Nov 6, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 13 comments

This video from Clayton Christensen gives a good summary of Jobs To Be Done using milkshakes at a fast food restaurant as an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfGtw2C95Ms

Unrelated, but I saw Clayton Christensen speak at a conference years ago. He started out the talk by telling everyone that he had a stroke years earlier and after it, he couldn't speak clearly. For a professor, you can imagine that's not ideal. So he went out and bought Rosetta Stone and taught himself how to talk again. I was blown away and besides a few small stutters during the talk, I barely noticed. That story of grit always stuck with me as a truly remarkable example of how versatile humans can be.

Interesting video. I'm sad there was no answer. How do you improve the fast-food milkshake in this scenario?

I feel like the “ideal” option would be to create something milkshake-like (takes a while to eat, is filling) and take away some of the negative aspects of milkshakes (lots of sugar, unhealthy).

Introducing “Morning Protein Boosts” all the vitamins and minerals you need to start your day, in a semi-frozen liquid form.

Damn - you're good. I will keep you in mind if any marketing positions open at my company.

> Unrelated, but I saw Clayton Christensen speak at a conference years ago. He started out the talk by telling everyone that he had a stroke years earlier and after it, he couldn't speak clearly.

Business of Software in Boston, or San Francisco?

JTBD is super overhyped (which is not to say bad). It is a clear, simple concept - understand your role in your customers' lives by understanding what could replace you.

It frustrates the bejesus out of me that every halfway thoughtful concept needs to be bundled into a framework and sold.

The concept of selling to people isn't hard - execution is hard and people use frameworks as a differentiator to sell their 'services'

Not disagreeing, adding another angle: while the map is not the territory, tools and concepts are useful (to get a point across, to contextualize, to make decisions, …)

JTBD imho is one of the simple yet not easy (to do) concepts that is very useful, especially in the context of over-reliance on persona and correlation (“data”-) driven decision-making.

JTBD might be overhyped in some circles but where it is not overhyped it might just be exactly the concept needed to get out of a local optimum.

I found the book "When Kale and Coffee Compete" to be helpful when understanding JTBD.


While many startup teams take a product first, "if you build it they will come" attitude, JTBD thinking can get you to a paradigm shift.

The best way I can describe it is:

Producers, consumers, solutions and jobs to be done all work together as parts of the same system.

You have to see clearly your place, and your solution's place, in the system, in order to build something people want.

If you can't see the system that your product fits into (and don't have ways to get feedback from prospective users), you're probably building something that you won't even be able to give away for free. And that spells failure.

This reminds of satisficers and metrics.

Customers want a good paint job on their new car. You buy equipment to measure paint quality. You get good at the metrics that the equipment produces. Then you find that your competitors have better looking paint even though you have a better score.

Keep your eye on the prize, and the prize is not the metrics.

"You get what you measure", as Richard Hamming put it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNhcaVi3zPA

https://youtu.be/LNhcaVi3zPA?t=1100 Holy Crap this resonates with me. I went to college with people who said "I can code whatever you want, but I need someone to tell me what to code." ... Now I work with people like that.

I was taught this concept around 2011 (marketer turned hacker), and have read his books, so it's had some time to sink in.

It's similar to the concept of "tech in use." What people ACTUALLY use your product for.

It's about discovering features and use cases you did not know you had. The main job of the morning milkshake is a source of entertainment on a long commute... not just hunger or sweettooth cravings.

What B2B products can learn is that your product may have mad benefits, but at the end of the day it's just the 2020 strategy for a VP to keep up w the industry trends. Focus on your buyer persona.

Haven't read the whole article, but it sounds a lot like what the value proposition canvas would deliver:

You start with the JTBD by the customer. Then you identify pains and gains of these jobs.

Then you think of what "pain reliever" and "gain creators" you could offer and how to bundle these in products/services.


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