The Critical Path #146: Bob Moesta

Bob Moesta demonstrates Jobs to be Done interview technique by speaking with Horace about a car purchase.

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #146: Bob Moesta.

This is very important. You should listen.

  • GlennC777

    This is BRILLIANT.

    One thing that interests me greatly is why we think the way we do, and how it influences our decisions. One thing most people don’t realize is that decision-making is primarily a right-hemisphere function. This is the hemisphere we think of as being responsible for “artistic” or “emotional” thought, but I think it’s more accurate to say that it’s the hemisphere responsible for our thinking in terms of value judgments.

    It’s very interesting to listen to Horace explaining his decisions in rational, left-hemisphere terms, with very little right-hemisphere language (beauty, and pride, are mentioned, but mostly later in the conversation); and listening to Bob parse his rational explanations for evidence of the real decision-making drives that it largely obscures. Even Horace’s reasons for loving the car – it’s precise, obsessively-thought-out engineering and construction, are heavily left-hemisphere qualities, but appreciated on a strongly emotional (right hemisphere) basis.

    As an aside, I think this can be related directly to how people in the tech industry relate to the devices they use, and particularly to the divide between Android, with its spec-based, techie nature, almost always preferred for left-hemisphere, “rational” reasons; and Apple, justified more often on the basis of value judgments that put non-specifiable considerations (ease of use, design, integration, overall value proposition) ahead of simpler, numerically-definable qualities.

    The temptation, especially in our culture, is to consider “rational” thought processes superior to emotional ones, but in reality, rational thinking is incapable of rendering value judgments, which are necessary for any real type of decision-making. Left-hemisphere dominance often shows itself in a preference for white-and-black, yes-or-no types of thinking that overly simplify complicated considerations that should be employed in any sophisticated thought process. This is easy to see, for example, in our own thinking, when we might be able to notice that in attempting to make rational decisions about (for example) a purchase, we find it very difficult to internally translate simple, numerical qualities (four seats, or only two) into a satisfactory judgment, especially when there are many of them, some of which are opposition to one another (this one has only two seats, but it costs less).

    This also relates to the thinking being discussed a while ago in the context of the Apple Watch, about how a product can appeal to various motivations and drives among its audience. There is the “brain” (really, the left-hemisphere), the “heart” (really the right hemisphere) and the “desire to propagate” (over-simplified description, really the primitive brain/ego).

    While Horace was generally describing his thought process in terms of “brain”-driven/left-hemisphere motivations, the interviewer’s job was to get past the surface to understand the more complete process underneath and to identify aspects of the decision that were came about as a result of emotional and more primitive (social) drives. The result is fascinating and illuminating.

    A highly recommended listen, for anybody interested.

  • Juil

    Now I want a Porsche too! ;¬)

  • davidmcelroy

    I was really disappointed that it ended so abruptly. What we heard was very interesting, but I wanted to hear Moesta explain afterward what lessons to draw from the experience — either for you or product designers. The “game off” commentary as we want along was good, but I felt that we needed more discussion to put this case study into context of the technique — so we could apply it more easily to other things. I should add, though, that I only felt that way because the material was so compelling as far as it went.

  • berult

    noah rosenberg ‏@nrose
    @bmoesta @asymco “surprised you guys didn’t immediately touch on the “douchebag” stigma aspect of Porsche ownership” Noah Rosenberg

    This inferring statement might be true, might be untrue, might be partially true, might be partially untrue, might be contextually entirely true, might be contextually partially untrue, might be contextually entirely untrue, might be true in hindsight, might be true in…foresight… Myriad, innit?! Indefinite.

    This inferring statement might, on a scale of one to ten, be 0.n.n…, 1.n.n…, 2.n.n…, 3.n.n…, 4.n.n…, …, 9.n.n…true. Real numbers, innit?! Infinite.

    But a cunning tweet has a 140 characters limit. But an insightful demonstration has a 140 minutes limit. Imaginary parts of the same irrational number…which trod, once upon a time, antithetical gotcha moments. berult.

  • Jeff Rule

    Very interesting, but I was expecting it to be aligned with new product development. The abrupt ending left out some analysis of the jobs the Porsche was doing and how other cars might compete with Porsche for the “Horace” persona buyer.

    Hopefully there will be a second podcast or we’ll hear Horace conduct the interview.

  • Rangachari Anand

    Probably one of the best episodes I’ve heard on this podcast. Just by chance, I was reading “How Will You Measure Your Life” recently. Bob Moesta’s famous milkshake story was fascinating.

  • BoydWaters

    A beautiful sports car, made in Finland! Loistava!

  • HD, this is probably already on your radar, but for you next undefiled bumper consider a front tow hook license plate mount:

  • IATV

    Without the analysis part the interview is somehow pointless. So you guys did the interview. Now what? How do you translate this into a new product?

  • Cameron Bales

    I’m going to say me to on the request for the “other half” of the podcast – where is the analysis? What is the takeaway? It was great listening, but what do you do with this information once you have it.