The Critical Path #134: Chief Jobs Officer

Turning our focus back to “Jobs to be Done” theory, we look at how producers can exceed the expectations of consumers and the role of the focus group from a “Jobs to be Done” perspective.

We examine “Jobs to be Done” as an essential core of the product development process. Where does this kind of thinking belong in an organization?

Should we be redefining what being “the best” means? We close with a segmentation of social media services based on the seven deadly sins.

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #134: Chief Jobs Officer.

This is a good one.

  • Walt French

    Generally excellent ‘cast. But Star Wars hip with the younger generation?!?

    • Jacob Williams

      I thought the same thing. Star Wars came out in the 70’s.

    • Space Gorilla

      There are a bunch of animated Star Wars TV shows, I think they’re quite popular. My own teenagers are really into Star Wars. My 13 year old dressed up as Darth Vader for Halloween when he was 11. Yeah, I think Star Wars is still very popular with the next generation. But I would also say it has a lot to do with the rise of fandoms generally, this is the era of the superfan. Kids are waaaaaaay into multiple fandoms. Star Wars is one of them.

    • My son started watching “The Big Bang Theory” TV show and it seems to reference quite a bit of the Star Wars franchise. Knowing that this show is popular with younger people I assumed the force was with them.

      Nevertheless, referencing 70’s Pop culture is still an appeal to hipsterism in my book and kindly please remove yourself from my lawn.

    • Avi Greengart

      Star Wars is HUGE with kids today thanks to prequels, cartoons, toys, LEGO, licensed merchandise, theme park rides, etc. Disney didn’t pay $4 billion for a 70’s hipster franchise.

    • David

      Also Star Wars lego makes it a double whammy of hipster coolness

  • Walt French

    I worked for Procter & Gamble 40+ years ago, and heard the “add an egg” story about Duncan Hines cake mix—they claimed that freeze-dried eggs worked fine for baking and were easier to blend well without over-mixing. Seemed clever then. They framed it in terms of “consumer perception of quality,” however, not a Job To Be Done. Probably came out of focus groups, which, IIRC, P&G was big on.

    But my personal experience with pancake mix is that the “just add water” boxes don’t have the comparable amount of egg, and so taste like paste. And for somebody who cooks pancakes more than twice a year, mixing your own dry ingredients is so simple and allows customization by adding cinnamon or beaten egg whites separate from the yolks (my favorite), that you spend less time & money for something you like better.

    So “Job To Be Done” analysis might just be a relabeling of what good consumer product managers have done for a long time. Dunno how marketers have gotten so marginalized; perhaps by forgetting lessons of long ago.

    • Sam

      Hmmm….. Got me thinking of Pancakes and JTBD.

      We cook pancakes once every week and always use real syrup, not the fake corn syrup.

      Now we buy the pancake mix from the small independent company that makes our real syrup.

      Is that vertical integration?

      • LRLee

        If the pancakes and syrup are great, don’t keep it a secret, man! Do they have a website?

  • Jacob Williams

    Not needing to remove your battery made sense when smartphones weren’t “good enough” after two years. However, I’ve had my Samsung Note2 for two and a half years and it’d battery life was only lasting two hours. I could’ve upgraded. I am eligible for a free phone. But because I know my Note2 is still good enough, I just bought a brand new battery two weeks ago for it and it’s like I have a brand new phone again.

    I think Apple saw this coming. I owned cell phone repair shops. The 2G battery was soldered to the motherboard. (I actually enjoyed the installation. Love soldering) The 3G and 3GS was under the motherboard. Not soldered to the board. The board was screwed down and the battery connectors were springy.(You entered through the front.)

    The iPhone 4/4S had a modular battery that could be easily accessed through the back door. All you had to do is remove to screws and the one that held the battery clip in. I could charge $50 for a battery that cost $7 and the swap took me 30 seconds.

  • Korf

    Fantastic discussion, would love to hear a follow on discussion with James Womack the author of Gemba Walks ( some day in the future.

  • Korf

    For those unfamiliar with Gemba and the concept of a Gemba walk or design research:

  • stefnagel

    Re: the job to be done. It’s also about the job you get to do. Both orgs and folks have trajectories that put them on track to take on certain jobs. And not others. I am reminded of the Sports Illustrated article, way back, that described how few people fit the profile, physically, mentally, and emotionally, to play specific NFL positions.

  • M Wright

    Horace, I have another interesting observation on how does a company decide on what business it is in. When I worked for ICI (now Orica), their explosives division went to the mines selling a service to provide them with so many tons of broken rock of a certain size (which is what the mines want), rather than explosives. The division would put factory trucks on site which mixed the explosive emulsion as it was pumped into the blast holes. So no need for the mines to store explosives on site (a big safety issue).The truck operator even drilled the blast holes. The mine got its broken rock.

    • This is sometimes called “servitization” or the conversion of products into services.

      • Lauri

        A thing that interests me is, when does the service provider take over a become the dominant company? Let us consider the mining example above. If the service provider (here the explosives company) is willing to expand their business within a mine and the mining company wants to get rid of it’s ‘non-core’ business, then what happens next.

        What might happen eventually is that the bean counters at the mining company might lose the focus on what it means to be a mining company and start outsourcing everything to a service provider which started small. Ultimately all the value in the production will be generated by the service provider and the original mining company becomes just an empty shell or may go out of business completely.

        The rumours have it that the big american pc companies experienced this in the early 2000’s when they started outsourcing bigger and bigger chunks of their production and design to service providers. In the end even big-name companies like hp and compaq were just rebranding what the asian were offering to sell them and now we all know that these companies such as asus expanded to the consumer market and took over the whole value stream as a vertically integrated company just like their clients used to be.