5by5 | The Critical Path #19: The hiring and firing of milkshakes and candy bars

In this episode I talk with Bob Moesta, a pioneer of Job To be Done research. We go over the theory and process of understanding what products are really hired to do and ask why this understanding is so hard to come by.

In a discussion rich with examples from multiple industries Bob illustrates how marketing, design and engineering are all dancing around the question of how product should be developed.

Could the universally accepted compartmentalization of corporate functions be a root cause of product failure?

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #19: The hiring and firing of milkshakes and candy bars.

You can follow up with Bob here: The Re-wired group.

  • This podcast was very exciting to me!  I’ve spent the past two years developing a product that currently has no peer – it’s been completely missed by the audience to be served.  And now after learning about, and running my design past the “job to be done” point of view, I’ve discovered it’s right on the money.  It feels harmonious and not dissonant with the job to be done.  Yay!  One more big point in its favor.

    A lot of us get these concepts already, if only intuitively, but it’s really helpful that it’s being increasingly turned into something more formalized and more concrete by guys like Clay and Bob, et al, and I’m thankful for everyone’s efforts to also make it more accessible through and 5by5.

    I’m one happy and thankful guy.

  • I also wanted to commend Bob on the way he communicates.  In particular, I have my own saying that “the words ‘tradeoff’ and ‘balance’ are two of the most underused words in conversation.”  I immediately noticed how many times Bob said those words and I was very impressed!

    The oversimplification of complicated things triggers an immense amount of (unnecessary) discussion, argument, and disagreement.  Just look in any comment section.  And the final conclusion is usually the acknowledgement that “one must deal with finding an optimal balance with respect to the tradeoffs involved.”  It’s so much more efficient to head it off at the pass and acknowledge tradeoffs and finding an optimal balance up front.  🙂

  • berult

    What gets in the way of a user-centric, job-to-be-done, old salesmanship approach to trade and commerce, is the prevailing ‘hitting-pay-dirt’ notion of force-feeding fundamental tradeoffs through extreme lubrication of channels. What could be impossible to get through to end-users for ‘self-serving by design’ shortcomings, sails effortlessly through the winds of competition by means of highly sophisticated PR spin machines.

    A perfect lubricant for an end-user screwing mechanism and a powerful incentive to stray far and away from what is end-user relevant. There is a remarkable symmetry in that regard between the inner working of politics and the lack of creative vision in the world of business. You sort of hit pay dirt in destroying value while storytelling the missing weight …tongue in cheek …spinning its toll.

    And it works, with an outlier here and there, because it is good enough a story being told …discounted …oversold…

  • Anonymous

    Regarding Horace mention on how Apple implement “Job to be done”:
    I see they doing this systematically, by long term planning of preparing the context for an disruption.Reading “The Innovator’s dillemma”, and thinking on my own experience with hard-disks just now, it became clear to me that Apple had planned the SSD disruption with many different tasks, each optimizing it possible to make SSD more suited than spinning wheels: 1) Storage in the cloud reduce the need of storage in the devices2) Filesystem implementing versioning to reduce storage of versions of documents3) User experience increase by synching of the Apple ID’s devices make people to prefer iCloud-prepared apps4) Technologicly by aquiring a SSD controller company5) Procurement wise by using their huge control of the market to influence price6) Marketing, by putting the iCloud on the boxes, not explaining it, just mentioning that all your devices behaves like a single oneIt seems to me that many different departments in Apple have people trained in disruption theory, and that the management perfectly know how to knit all this together.

  • Instant Bight

    I really adore your show Mr. Dediu, I think your comments are very well though out.
    Thanks for offering a commentary that even a Middle Schooler can understand.

  • Boyd Waters

    I grabbed my brother, an executive for a fast-food franchise, and made him listen to this episode.

  • Boyd Waters

    I grabbed my brother, an executive for a fast-food franchise, and made him listen to this episode.

  • James

    This was a fantastic episode with tons of really interesting examples – great job! I’m learning tons of things from this show about subjects I didn’t even know I was interested in, and for free to boot! Keep it up.

  • Stephen Mohan

    I listened to this podcast on my way home to find some old papers from my consulting days on Building Market Focused Organisations (“BMFO”) by Michael J Lanning.  His view that one needs to understand the customer’s need by living a “Day in the life of” that customer, sounds like a similar methodology (though older and maybe less defined).

    I was going to work with some of our clients on how to re-engineer both our elements of the value chain using BMFO methodologies, but maybe I need to think about the use of JBD for this.

    I love your podcasts.  I am an Ops Director in UK Financial Services, but you offer great insights which I can build upon.

    Thank you


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