Tag Archives for jobs to be done
We had each just consumed one giant carne asada burrito and a small basket of chips in the Mission District. We were sitting at Cancun Taquiera, a small, hyperactive taco restaurant across from Beauty Bar at Fulsom and 19th, or close to that.
Homeless people were walking in and asking for food from diners’ plates. My friend, J., was feeling a little overwhelmed. She’s used to a very clean, very non-homeless section of Orange County, right near the beach. We finished our meal. I felt satiated. She seemed to feel satiated, and a little tired, so we walked back up the small hill to the apartment and came to a stop at the corner near a convenience store.
“You want to get some drinks for the house,” she asked. Sure. We pop in. We get some drinks out of the cooler. She goes around the corner in the store and comes back with a Snickers bar.
“It’s after midnight, are you really going to eat that now,” I ask, laughing. “We just had burritos.” I’m staring wide-eyed.
“I really really want one. I gave mine away at the airport to the guy at the counter. He was really nice to me, he had a long day and he helped me with my bags,” she says. This is common behavior. J. is regularly giving things to people.
That made sense. And then I don’t think much more about it. This morning, there is still a Snickers bar sitting on the table. She hasn’t eaten it.
A case for Jobs-to-be-Done.
I won’t go into the whole timeline features or the questions and answers, but it comes out that J. didn’t hire the Snickers bar to eat the Snickers bar. She wasn’t even hungry for it. She was hungry for the Raisinettes that she bought in addition to the Snickers bar. She bought the Snickers bar because she lacked something. It wasn’t hunger. It wasn’t a desire for that creamy caramel nougat goodness.
There were deeper emotional reasons for wanting the candy bar. It offered security, comfort, a feeling of safety even. It gave her something nostalgic, and she had given hers away as an act of kindness and, in a way, wanted to reward herself for a good day.
But the main theme of our discussion was that J. had a “keep it for later” mentality. It was not so important that she ate it, but that she had it for later. It is likely that neither of us will eat the Snickers bar today, but it is going into the car anyway, to see what happens.
I shall report later on what job we hire the Snickers bar to do later on in San Francisco.
What can a blog post about search vs. social network influencers turn up about shirt manufacturers and their role in consumers’ jobs-to-be-done?
Here’s a comment from a guy named Carl Mistlebauer at the Fred Wilson blog, AVC, which should show you how observing, analyzing and using data in new ways can make people and products into a success. Carl, as it turns out has done a lot of things.
The owners of an apparel manufacturer retired. They shifted their business to Carl, who decided to pursue a “size-centric” web 2.0 model for selling shirts on the Internet.
When we decided to build our first e-commerce site we did so believing that B2C would only be the “icing” on the cake, not the cake its self (that would always be retailers).
The reality is that even with going into it as an after thought, and even with all the mistakes we made, we still ended up having to shut down our B2C after 6 months because we could not handle the business from an inventory standpoint (our internet efforts not only created a dramatic surge in B2C sales but it also saw a dramatic increase in our B2B sales both from new retailers interested in our product and increased sales from our existing retailers).
Something happened when Carl’s team flipped the switch on the Internet model. They got customers they didn’t know they had, or that they wanted. He had always thought that retailers were in his business model. It turns out, they were not.
Now, our traditional customer has always been a middle aged white male who is middle to working class; we also only sold pocket tees.
So, then the second go at B2C we had added tee shirts and long sleeve tees. All of the sudden we started getting sales from women, younger males, and a much broader racial demographic.
At this point I realized that B2C was definitely in our future and would eventually be our future (I still was not able to accept that our retailers would not account for less than 75% of our business.)
But what accounts for this shift? It turns out that knowing how a very specific kind of shopper does his or her shopping is the key.
The basic problem is that a 350 lb or 500 lb person shops differently than the mass market does. Thus the trouble with dealing with consultants and companies that provide services is that they think “t shirts” and then rely on their own experiences to come up with solutions; I would give them a whole 15 page document of information about our market, our consumer, and the psychology of the big and tall consumer and I would end up being presented what I call “a mass market plain vanilla solution.”
Then a couple of years ago I found out that we were selling more big and tall tee shirts than JC Penney’s did in a year, that all I had to figure out was how to offer the big and tall consumer the same options that the mass market enjoys because first of all, none of the major players in big and tall can provide these options (Threadless, Custom Ink, Cafe Press, for example) due to their size and off shoring all production, and secondly, all I had to do was figure out how to connect with college and high school age big and tall kids (male and female) then I would be locking in their loyalty for years to come (JC Penney is attempting this with their new big and tall retail stores – but again, its brick and mortar and not consumer centric.)
Then again, over the last 6 months I have visited over 15 college campuses in states with a high percentage of obese population and I realize that I need to really focus on women; that’s a whole other world for me.
Right now my real struggle is with the fact that while I have a vision of what I want and where I need to head and I have coders plugging away attempting to turn my vision into reality its obvious that there is a person missing between me and them; I just cannot seem to use the right terminology or something but it sure feels that we are speaking two different languages….
Speaking two different languages. There is what the business proprietor believes the market will do, and then there is how the people in the market behave.
How do you get to the central mental and emotional core of what the individuals in that market do? Jobs-to-be-Done is one of those ways. Slow down the film. What is the person doing, thinking, feeling and wanting at the moment of choosing?
What job do they want the e-commerce site to do for them?
For Carl, it seems his customer wanted the e-commerce site to offer everything that eveyr other t-shirt provider had ever provided, but, for her.
There’s a different business in thinking that way.
We talk a bit at the Re-Wired Group about how the airlines could pander to our sensibilities better. We talk about it, not because we think we are more amazing than you or anyone else. We talk about it because it seems that airlines try to sell us on features.
But Delta Airlines has done something a little bit different. They have a new video advertising their Delta Airlines app, and it panders not to our wish that we could always sit in first class. It answers a question we have had before: what happens when our bag leaves our possession and travels on our flight to the next destination?
Now we know.
Is there any value to joining LinkedIn? Charlie Spencer asks this in his comments at Inc. magazine, where Marla Tabaka has written a thoughtful post about how to maximize your use of LinkedIn to, in some cases find a job, but in most cases network with others.
Often asked as a question, the query about whether there is any value in a social platform is actually a statement of frustration from people who don’t seem to understand that a social platform like LinkedIn is not a vending machine.
Neither is a business in which employees put in 9 hours of work each day in return for a salary, health benefits, and — this is ironic — access to a vending machine.
When my father would take us to work on the weekends, he definitely had work to do. Yes, there was a vending machine quality to the mission. He had to sort “x” amount of work for ”
“x” amount of hours to get a “y” result, usually routing trucks to do “hot shot” deliveries of Pepsi to stores that had a sale on Pepsi and lost product faster than they could replenish on a regular route cycle. As a kid, I didn’t pay much attention to that aspect of his work, but I did pay attention to what went on while we were there.
Lots of socializing. My father was a manager. He had to manage other sales personnel, who were also there on the weekend. What I noticed at an early age is that the sales staff at the Pepsi plant were doing more than just fulfilling “x” amounts of work to get a “y” outcome. They were showing up for my dad. They knew he was in a position of influence and could help them with their careers.
These were sales people. They worked by the force of their rhetoric, their logic, and their ability to hustle and solve problems. It was clear that by putting time in for my father, they were also representing themselves as people who could be trusted, who supported his efforts and had enough ambition to see the job through.
Today, when many of us work remotely, and, if you are like me, you work for clients you see face-to-face intermittently, you need to show up for them. That’s why you would go to a platform like LinkedIn, for example.
You can communicate there. You can recommend clients to others there. You can get your work done, and you can get other people’s work done. That was the subject of my radio show talk last night with Soluto’s Tomer Dvir. We are in this game to win, but we want to win with others. We want and need to help others in the dynamic, and chaotically changing structure of capitalism these days.
So when Charlie Spencer writes something like this, let’s pause:
If I’m not in marketing or looking for a job, is there any value in LinkedIn? I’ve joined for the second time, but I now recall why I canceled my first account. I don’t know how to get any value from it.
I’m an IT tech for a medium-sized business. I don’t interact with our external customers or vendors. While I am aware of the current economic issues, we’ve turned the corner and I expect to remain employed here until I retire in a decade or so.
I don’t participate in other social networks, so that may be hindering me. I don’t understand the Barbara’s use of the word ‘conversations’ or how to conduct one. (I have the same problem with my attempts to use Twitter.) Most of my contacts are co-workers. I don’t have a ‘real world’ network.
We are nothing without the network. Networks will be our most significant source for rises in income, new job offers, and the rise of what I will call the Freelance Globalist Population, which will work, not for a corporate entity, but in service to many entities, people and missions.
We need to start learning how to use the network, and to utilize the network to feed ourselves.
There is value to a platform like LinkedIn. Without platforms like this in the real world, the dry and mundane aspect of work kills us. It kills our chances for promotion, and it kills our spirits. Ironically, as I was writing this blog post, Charlie Spencer responded with a comment below his first one, noting that he needed to use platforms to improve his social skills and enhance his real world network.
I hope that works for him. We are certainly of the mind here at Re-Wired that we are nothing without our networks. After all, as we have written before, the new MBA is to manage your business and your team as if you are a social worker.
Nothing in a social web environment exists for the sake of its users alone. Social platforms are not vending machines. They are not vending machines, because you can not, in a digital age, work with the assumption that “x” + “y” = “z”, where “z” is quality of life, and “x” is an input like hours, and “y” is an input like “quality of work.”
We don’t live that way anymore. You cannot put a coin in a slot and get exactly what you want.
You now have to make what you want, and making what you want, creating your vision, starts with starting relationships, building relationships, and becoming partners with people — even complete strangers.
Food for thought: read our latest post on Airbnb and changing your life by changing your networks.
How did Instagram do it? They are not the only image-sharing app. People with MBA backgrounds are stuck in the dark ages.
Yes, I said it. The MBA, as far as I can tell, is a lot like paper wealth. It looks good when it’s all printed out, and stacked in rows, but the secret to success in business is actually something emotional and more to do with people.
If you want to run a good startup, it’s important to think like a social worker. I don’t mean enforce the laws of a state or a city. I mean, think with empathy. Decide by feeling.
I come to this conclusion after reading about a talk at Le Web led by the founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom.
“In the last 2 months we’ve doubled staff, and will be about 10 people in a month. Even though Odeo didn’t go anywhere, it was clear that Twitter cam about because we learned ‘Team’ was so important.”
He also recalled how another failed project Bourbon failed not because they had a moment of revelation that it wasn’t going to work, but that they didn’t have that moment. “There wasn’t a dark moment with Bourbon. It’s the lack of that dark moment that kills most startups.”
Tsotsis pointed out that photo apps and filters existed before Instagram, so how did they get big? Instagram just made it easier to produce beautiful photos, as well as share, said Systrom.
But what if Apple of Facebook did an app with filters?
Instagram is not about filters, said Systrom. “The defensible asset is the community, nowhere else would you find such passionate users.”
TechCrunch writer Alexia Tsotsis gets stuck on just the marketing angle, or the product description, of Instagram. Product descriptions and marketing are just shorthand, they don’t mean anything. That’s why we have to have these founders up on stage explaining themselvse and the product now and again, over and over.
The last time Tsotsis thought that a photo-sharing app was just another photo-sharing app, I had to correct her. This was the case with Hipster. It’s not like there should only be one photo-sharing app, and that one does it better than all the rest. In the apps world, and in social media, startups can’t compete on performance.
Why? Because it always comes down to the consumer. It’s about WHO is using the product, and HOW, not what the product is. I know this is hard to swallow, but it’s the truth. It’s the world we live in.
If you want to run a really great company, spend all of your time, or at least 90% of your time, making relationships work. Be a good person, find the people you share values with, and do not succumb to the thinking that you have to run a tight ship to really run a successful enterprise.
I learned this from traveling. Your best laid plans and expectations can have other plans and expectations for you.
What we really need when buying or hiring a special service or good is a sense that we belong to the same base of people who buy it with us. We want shared values, because our media and our news, for example, don’t provide us such faith anymore.