It's more than just Milkshakes. Get the latest on Jobs-to-be-Done here.

JTBD at Intercom: Des Traynor on Jobs-to-be-Done Radio

Chris Spiek // 02.27.14

Photo by Sam Howzit

Photo by Sam Howzit

“Imagine if a chef is in a restaurant. He comes up with a new French onion soup, and wants to see if it’s tasty.  In the internet world he would wait four weeks and then email everyone who has ever been at his restaurant with a Survey Monkey link, and say, ‘Hey guys. Did you or did you not have the French onion soup? If you did, can you remember if it was nice?'”

This week Des Traynor, co-founder at Intercom joins us on Jobs-to-be-Done Radio to talk about how Intercom is changing the way we launch and test features on the web, and how Jobs-to-be-Done is playing a role in the work they’re doing.

The Customer is not the Fundamental Unit of Analysis

Des shares interesting insight about his focus on understanding the tasks that the users are trying to compete (and the context surrounding the task) as opposed to trying to understand the users themselves.

When is the Last Time Your Web Analytics Did Analysis For You?

We also revisit the long-standing topic of what is true consumption.  If your web business is a freemium model, is a sign-up (free demo) actually considered consumption?  What is the user actually trying to get done, and how can we measure if your solution is actually doing the job?

Do you know how many people are paying for your product but aren’t using it and are about to quit? (zombie revenue)

Show Notes

Jobs-to-be-Done Radio

Click to view episode transcript.
Chris Spiek: All right. Welcome to the latest edition of Jobs-to-be-
Done radio. I’m Chris
Spiek. As always I’m joined by Bob Moesta and Irvin Folks [SP].

Co-host: Hey, Chris. What’s up, man?

Speaker 2: Hey, Chris. How are you?

Chris: Today we have a very special guest. We have Des Traynor
on, who is the
cofounder at Intercom. Hey, Des.

Des Traynor: Hey guys. How’s it going?

Co-host: Hey Des.

Chris: Good, good, good. So, super excited to have you on. I feel
like we go way back,
but we haven’t had a whole lot of opportunities to interact and
collaborate. So I’m really excited to get a good block of time
to talk to you here.

So I know you attended a switch workshop back in San Francisco.
We got a chance to hang out there. I think we had been
introduced or at least emailed or tweeted back and forth even
before that a couple of years ago.

Then most recently, I think, you gave one of the highlight
speeches at Business of Software when we were in Boston back in
October of 2013 here.

I feel like we have been in the same spaces and places, but it’s
good to actually have you on and get to have a serious
conversation about this stuff. So, welcome.

Des: Thank you very much. It’s super cool to be here, and as you
correctly said, we’ve
certainly been dancing in the same areas [inaudible 1:33] for
quite a while now, so it’s actually cool to get to sit down and
have a chat.

Chris: Des, if I remember right it was almost three years ago. I
did a podcast with you
on the Intercom podcast after I did the [Horace] to-do one.

Des: That’s right.

Chris: That’s how you reached out to me. That’s how we really got
started around the
jobs thing, because you’re a big [Horace] fan, aren’t you?

Des: That’s right. So the full background there was I saw Clay
Christensen speak
[about] business software, I guess three years ago, and he told
a milkshake story, basically. Like a lot of people, I was
fascinated by pieces of it, and I went on a progressive hunt to
try to find, like, you know, where can I get more of this sort
of stuff?

I was talking to Ryan Singer [SP], and he said that you were
definitely a key player in this.

I heard you on Horace’s [sP] podcast and that was very cool.
Maybe we could do this for the Intercom podcast, so my idea was,
at the time, it’s weird to talk about [inaudible 2:34] thing,
but at the time [inaudible 2:35] wasn’t really popular in the
text startup scene.

I was thinking it would great. It could be something that the
Intercom blog would share a spotlight on or shine a spotlight
on. We did, I think, maybe a one hour talk. It has been across
two different blog posts, but it’s still one of our most popular
podcasts and interviews that we’ve done to date.

Chris: Wow. I didn’t know that. Cool. So how are you using jobs
now? I mean, at some
point your business and software talk, what do they call it?
Lighting round? You get so many slides in so many minutes. What
was the rules on that?

Des: Yes. It was kind of interesting. You get seven minutes and 30
seconds. You’re
supposed to have, I think, 15 slides and 30 seconds per slide,
and I cheated. There’s no other word for it. I basically broke
the rules. What I did was, I had 15 slides, technically.

But I had, I guess, probably 100 different transitions and in
page animations to simulate more and more slides.

So my talk there was really about one sort of reoccurring theme
I noticed is that people, when they talk about design, obsesses
over version 1.0 and how hard it is to get that right. I think
at 1.0 you have so much clarity and what it is you want to do,
what job your [selling], what [inaudible 3:51] you’re taking,
who you are building for.

It actually gets really, really hard post 1.0 when you get
traction and you start getting pulled in all the different
directions. In my opinion, that is the bigger challenge of
design. Keeping a product on Horace after it has been
successful.

Chris: Yes, and focused. It’s one of those things that people,
they put so much energy
on just getting the 1.0 out that they don’t realize that the day
after 1.0, it’s now pulled in 50 million directions.

You get all this feedback and you’re, like, what do we do with
this feedback? Without having clarity around the job you end up
just doing future creep and solving a bunch of problems that
don’t matter. It’s just a mess.

Des: Totally. The title of that talk, I think, was Product Strategy
[inaudible 4:39] saying no. I was just recapping different areas where that’s
super important.

Chris: So what are you doing with Jobs-to-be-Done now at Intercom
and other places?
I know you talked at, what was it . . . You were in San
Francisco talking.

Des: Yes. Lean startup.

Chris: Yes. The lean startup conference. How did that go and how
are you using it.

Des So I’ll start with how we’re using it. So Intercom is a tool.
Our goal is to make
web business personal, and what we do is we try to connect
people who run web businesses with their customers. That would
be a really super gauge high level job, but we have very
specific instances of it.

So, basically, anytime anyone is running a web product, they
have regular points in their life when they need to talk to
customers. So let’s say, for example, you just ship a feature.
Right after you click launch and you publish the blog post and
you sit back and you’re, like, “Hey, we did it.”

A whole heap of questions just land in your brain. One of them
is, “I wonder if anyone is using this.” The second one is, “If
they’re using it, is it working for them?” The third one is, “I
wonder who is not using it, and why they’re not using it?”

The old school pre Intercom, most of these questions would be
hit with barriers of difficulty. So you would be, like, “Okay,
let me go and ask a developer to pull database dump of everybody
who hasn’t used this feature yet.

“Let me import that into my meal marketing tool and let me
compose a message out to those guys so that I can ask them for
feedback, and then let me aggregate that feedback and see what I
can make sense of.”

Because that was so tricky it often just didn’t get done. There
were just too many barriers for people to actually do it. So
what they would do is they would maybe call a couple of
customers, or they would read a few blog comments in a feature.

But the complexity, the multitude of steps involved in actually
doing what should be a pretty simple thing prevents you from
doing it.

I always liken it to, imagine if a chef is in a restaurant. He
comes up with a new French onion soup, and he wants to see if it
was easy.

In the internet world what he would do is he would wait four
weeks and then he would email everyone who has ever been at his
restaurant with a Survey Monkey link, and he would say, “Hey
guys. Did you or did you not have the French onion soup? If you
did, can you remember if it was nice?”

Chris: That’s awesome.

Des: That’s the world pre Intercom. Post Intercom it’s the chef
getting his ass out of
the kitchen and going, “Guys, is that soup nice?”

Chris: Nailed it.

Des: So talking to people while they’re doing something is the right
time to actually
get the feedback about what it is you’re doing. That’s one of
the jobs we’ve solved with Intercom.

However, like any sort of job, they don’t exist in a vacuum.
They exist in a work flow in a person’s role in the company.

So you get all this feedback. Well, what are you going to do
with it? And what if somebody reports a bug? That opens a
dialogue. One interesting thing I’ve learned is that only
companies divide communications between bugs, issues reports,
feature feedback, progressive engagement marketing.

For a customer it’s all just talking. Again, imagine you didn’t
enjoy the soup or you had a suggestion. Imagine you had to talk
to two different chefs depending on whether it was a bug
request. That’s the other thing a typical web business does.

They say, “Oh, if this is just your opinion, please send it over
here,” where if you think it’s a fundamental problem and you can
rate in our priority one through four, please go over and talk
to the maitre d’

Chris: Right. Or it’s the analogy of, it’s too hot. So it goes to
the person cooking the
soup, and it might be too spicy hot, not too hot-hot, and then
all of a sudden all chaos breaks out.

Des: Exactly, and for some reason the person who is cooking the soup
can’t talk to the
customer. They have to go through some middle man.

Chris: That’s right.

Des: I’ve talked around a set of problems. Each of those problems
maps to a job, and
that’s what we do at Intercom. Our job is ultimately
communication to connect web businesses with our customers, but
there are several sub jobs. Inter feedback is just one of them.

Surveys, reaching out, asking people to do things. They’re all
different ways, but any time a company is talking to a customer
through the web or through online or mobile, that’s where
Intercom is relevant.

Co-host: To me, especially when you’re doing feature feedback, it’s,
like, “Are you using
the feature the way it was designed? Are you suing the feature
as a workaround and saying, ‘Boy, it doesn’t work for this and
this and this?’ ” Okay, it wasn’t designed for that, so you’re
really giving bad feedback around what it was really not
designed for.

So everybody takes every comment as it’s relevant, and it’s not.
That’s the thing that’s really apparent to me.

Chris: I actually want to go back, because this is really
interesting to me. Clay has this
thing where, and I won’t say it eloquently enough, but an answer
needs a spot in the brain to land, or it’s just going to bounce
off. Can you go back, do you remember seeing him speak at
business of software?

You said that you thought his talk was interesting. What were
you up against at Intercom in that moment that made you actually
think, “Hey, I need to dive into this, learn more about it. Find
out if there’s anything really here.”

The story you just told is, like, everything is solved. We know
what we do. We have a great product and we provide a ton of
value. What was it like back then when we actually gave the
talk?

Des: Sure. That’s an investing question. Clay’s phrase is, I think,
“Questions are places
in the mind where answers fit, and until you have a question the
answer doesn’t fit.” I think it was three years ago.

Business software has always interested me. It’s a way of
punctuating the progress of Intercom for me, because the first
time I went there I stayed at the crappiest air B and B, like,
25, 30 minutes outside of the conference venue.

And next year I’ll be speaking at the conference [and staying
at] the speaker’s hotel. So it’s funny to see progress. But way
back then Intercom, there were a few things that Clay’s talk
made clear to me. One of them was just his basic theory of
disruption. I didn’t realize the opportunity personally that
Intercom had prior to Clay’s talk.

But when he talked about jobs, I guess what it best focused me
on was the idea that we are always of the opinion Intercom was
for people who run web products or web service, or mobile
startups, I guess.

That in and of itself isn’t actually actionable information in
comparison with Intercom [being a] great way to get feedback on
a new feature, or a great way to check up on customers who
aren’t performing, or whatever.

So the biggest insight I got, like, the biggest eye opening
realization was this idea that the customer isn’t the
fundamental unit of analysis.

We basically spoke to too many different types of web businesses
with too many different attitudes towards how they engage with
customers. We couldn’t find any useful commonalities amongst the
people, but we could find plenty of useful commonalities amongst
the tasks.

That was, I think, the piece that really clicked. And I was,
like, “Right.” So if we actually obsess over doing these tasks
rather than understanding these people, we’ll actually make much
more progress much quicker.

Bob: I was talking with Clay right before the Christmas break. He
and I get on the
phone for an hour. We just riff, if you will. HE had a question
for me that was very interesting.

He asked me – he said, “Bob, you said that a job is more like a
verb than it is a noun. I’ve been thinking about that. Tell me
why a job is like a verb,” and to me it goes back to, most
marketing talks about people as nouns, products as nouns, but
jobs are all about the action you do with nouns, right?

So it’s the verbs that are most important. What are you doing
and what do you want to do as opposed to what it is? It’s
really, to me, it gets back to fundamental language and being
able to talk to people about what they’re doing and what they’re
trying to do, not what it is and what it’s trying to be.

Des: Yes. That resonates a lot with me. Often I find any sort of
interesting web
product, people are so quick to try to pigeonhole it using
nouns.

Chris: Yes. That’s right.

Des: They’re, like, “Oh, you’re a help desk. Oh, you’re an analytics
tool.” Straight
away, when they categorize you like that they’ve moved away from
the idea of the jobs you do into the product segment you have to
fit into, and therefore all these assumptions you now have to
have whether you want them or not.

When you let that happen, that’s exactly how you build the
[inaudible 13:28] technology, just being pigeonholed by what’s
already out there.

Chris: That’s right. Nouns are categories, right? This category
or that category.
Categories are important for us to filter, but at the end of the
day we still have to get things done. It’s the action of being
able to turn nouns back into verbs. We don’t need to be working
in the noun space. We need to be working in the verb space, if
that makes any sense.

Des: Yes. The verb space is where you can actually [map] onto things

that are actually happening in reality.

Chris: That’s right, versus what people say. “Oh, it was really
cool.” I don’t know what
cool is, and it’s not a verb. Right? So, anyway.

Des: The one product category I find that’s stunningly in need of
this type of thinking
is actual web analytics. So many web analytics packages are
obsessed. They actually think that their job in life is to join
dots on fancy, pretty, beautiful looking line charts?

Chris: Oh my gosh, Des, you’re going to open Pandora’s box here.

Des: Yes. Maybe I’ll just leave that.

Chris: It’s one of those things I’ve been waiting for somebody to
bring up. So we’ve
been working with Jason and Ryan and those guys at 37 Signals
and looking at some of their data.

What’s so interesting is people aren’t looking at data in the
right way as it relates to what people are doing. They will say,
“Somebody is on a page for 4.3 seconds.”

I don’t know what that is. What are they doing? Where are they
going? What’s the flow? They’re going from here to there, and
what’s the pattern of behavior through it? And when you start to
time slice the data, people aren’t using time slicing the right
way.

So it’s one of those things when you start to see patterns of
how people are behaving on the web, not, like, “Oh, they went
here and they backed out, and then they went here and they
backed out, and then they went here and here and here.”

Okay. Let’s look at the patterns of behavior in it. Let’s not
just say, “Oh, they are on this page for 3.2 seconds and they
went here and they went there.” You need to look at it as each
individual session, and then build the job that they were trying
to get done in that session, and then look at the patterns of
sessions.

It’s very, very different. What you find is I find that web
analytics is driven by the math guys who know how to analyze the
data, but don’t have a theory of how it works.

Des: Yes. I would even possibly be harsher.

Chris: Please do.

Des: I honestly think what it’s driven by is the data points we can
easily collect, and
the prettiest looking visuals that we can easily render. That’s
what [inaudible 16:14] obsess over. They call it analytics, but
when’s the last time a product actually did any analysis for
you? Analysis, to me, looks like that new on boarding you
launched. [It’s] actually causing you more friction up front,
and you’re dropping customers at a rate of five more than you
were before.

That’s analysis. Programatically, software can do that for you.
But what they’ll actually tell you is, they will just show you a
lot of numbers and spark lines.

Bob: I remember Chris and I having deep discussions around what does
consumption
look like. How do you know that somebody is consuming your
webpage? What does consumption mean? What are they doing and how
do you know it? It’s taking that conversation and then turning
it into, all right, how do I look at the data to see if I can
see whether they are consuming or not.

So it’s not about them coming. Some people will say, “Well, how
many people signed up?” My thing is that sign up is not
consumption. How many people are putting in tasks? How many
people are creating lists? How many people are doing those
things? That’s real consumption, versus, “Hey, how many people
signed up?”

The thing is, people are focused on the money side, which again,
I’m not saying it’s wrong, but money is not necessarily the true
consumption. It’s where they make the commitment, but that’s not
where they create the value.

Des: That’s true, but also, [inaudible 17:37] on sign ups. That’s
such an easy number
to goose.

Co-host: Yes.

Des: You could just try within sign in via Facebook. Let’s redefine
an active project
manager as somebody who has signed in via Facebook. Now it’s one
click, and all of a sudden your numbers will go up. You’ve just
basically gamed your own system.

Chris: They’re not consuming it any more. They’re just able to
sign up easier. So sign
up doesn’t mean consumption.

Co-host: Is anybody doing it well, do you think, Des? I think you’re
spot on. It needs to be
called, like, web data collection. I can attach page views and I
can create events and I can get all these data points, but there
isn’t real analysis.

The interesting thing is what Bob’s talking about is still
incredibly complex math computations and theory building using
the data, but I don’t know if there’s anybody out there that’s
doing it well, or even getting close to it.

Have you heard anybody or talked to anybody that has a hunch?

Des: No. Luckily, no. I could see different ways. The fundamental
shift that has to
happen in that whole industry is that they need to realize
they’re actually in the business of answers, not in the business
of analysis or analytics or data collection. They’re in the
business of answers. So it’s, like, answer me a question.

If I log into Google Analytics, I’m actually going there to
answer a question, and that question, really, where you look at
where the volume is, the low order bids here are how many hits
did we have yesterday? That’s really worth nothing to me.

A question I want to answer is, given the rate of growth for the
blog, how long before we have a million monthly visitors? Or,
more likely, what will our traffic be like in June? There are
questions I have that inform decisions we make, and what does a
2% increase in sign-ups look like cash wise to our business?

These are things that people want answers to.

If everyone just sat down and said, “We’re now in the business
of answers for web businesses,” they will realize that spark
lines and fancy charts and [data pickers] and all that sort of
stuff isn’t actually what people are chasing.

Bob: Yes. The thing is that, what we’ve been able to do is do the
jobs. Find out the
jobs, for example, of Base Camp. Then go into the data. You can
see behavior of people who are behaving that way to say, for
example, help me think this through, which is they create lots
of lists. They invite a bunch of people. They do all these
things.

But they don’t check anything off, and that’s okay. What their
job is, is to help me think it through. Help me get all the
tasks out. Help me get the different buckets out. Help me invite
the right people to look at it. Make sure I get comments on it.

But it’s not about check, check, check, check. But if you look
at somebody else you has the job of cover my ass, which is, I
want to make sure that I don’t get sued, it’s, like, “Here’s the
task. When did you check it off? What’s the date?”

But you can see that behavior in the data. So when you have the
jobs you actually now have the theory of what you need to go
form the analytics around. That is what true consumption is.
That’s the power of this thing, and so to me, no one is working
on that, and I can’t find anybody who is willing to work on
that.

As Chris says, it’s complex math. I know it’s complicated now.
We need to make it simpler, but I’ve been working on this for
five, six years. It’s just one of my passions. So when I said
you open the box – and I apologize for those who are bored by
this conversation.

Co-host: I want to jump in for a second because I believe it goes back
to what Clay said.
The idea of, analytics built a product. But I don’t believe
anyone upstreaming, and this comes from me having years of doing
reports and saying, “Hey, here’s the pretty graphic,” and then
just getting the cheers. Hey, the numbers went up! Yay! Things
are great! No one has any clue at all what’s going on.

Co-host: Except for when you sit with me and we sit down and talk about
that stuff.

Co-host: I get blasted. But the idea of, until upper management or
anybody up there has
the question that clears the space in their mind to say, “You
know what, we need to think differently.” Because everyone in
the company out there is getting ran by the desk trainer.
They’re not thinking of it on that level.

They’re all just sitting there saying, “You know what? I hired
this company to do analytics management for me, do SEO for me,
do social for me, whatever the job they hire at this company
for, just show me positive numbers. I just want to see green.”

I believe [that] until you have management that can see that
there’s something deeper here, there are deeper insights we can
pull from this information. I don’t think anyone is going to
create a product for that until we have that conversation.

Co-host: So there’s one simple question. How many people are paying for
your product
and not using it, and just waiting to leave, but they don’t know
how? When you ask that they’re going to say, “I don’t know.”

All right. Let’s look at the number of people who are paying who
haven’t logged in and used your product. When are they going to
go? That’s when people go, “Holy crap. Nobody has asked that us
question before.”

Co-host: I think they’re afraid to ask it.

Co-host: The reality is, they have to ask it. That’s real. That’s
fundamentally real. How
many people are on the verge of quitting? We see the positive
side, but how many people are on the verge of quitting
something? It’s like sugar synch, right?

I have Sugar synch, I have Amazon, I have Drop Box. I used sugar
synch religiously until it got all convoluted, and I’m still
paying for it, because I’ve got a bunch of data out there. But
I’m not actively synching with it anymore because it literally
corrupted all of my computers.

I still have it out there, but it’s one of those things that if
they looked at me and said, “Well, wait a second. You were using
this a whole bunch.

Now you’re not using it, but you still have data on it.” I’m on
the verge of, if I can just figure to how to transfer, if I get
the time to transfer the data from that over to Amazon, I’m
done.

How many people are on the verge of quitting, but they’re never
asking those questions because they don’t understand true
consumption?

Des: Two or three, I guess, interesting things on that. It’s funny
you brought that up.
That’s one of the things interim actually can do, which is show
you who is about to quit. We have a segment called slipping
away. It’s people that are inactive. We call it zombie revenue.

Chris: Love it.

Des: You’re counting it, but it’s actually dead. [There are] two
interesting things we’ve
learned from that. Mentally, you have already fired sugar synch,
right?

Co-host: Yes. That’s correct.

Des: They’re gone. I’ll tell you what hasn’t happened. You haven’t
been triggered to
cancel.

Co-host: The bill came the other day, and it was one of the things like,
“Okay, do I have
the time to download the 75 gig of data?” I got on it. I don’t
know where to put it. Screw it. I’ll pay [for] it one more year
and keep going.

I haven’t had the pain to have to get rid of it, but it’s
exactly right. I haven’t had to fire it, is really the role
there.

Des: We looked at this ages ago. We worked with a few customers. We
reached out to
lots of people who have recently quit web products. We’re trying
to work out what the cause or quit is, and if you take a really
naive analysis, and this is one of the points of Intercom.

Here’s what’s going to happen with you, Bob. You’re going to
quit. I guarantee you there are two ways that’s going to cause
you to quit. One of the themes sugar synch is going to send you
a reminder email one day when you actually have a bit of time to
spare, and you’re going to say, “Right. Then I’m actually go
ahead and do it.”

Co-host: There they are, like, “Hey, you haven’t been back. You should
be back.” I’m like,
“No, I should fire you.”

Des: That’s exactly what’s happening, right? And then the other
thing that’s likely to
[happen], and this is really common, they will either say,
“Thank you, Bob, for another $2,000 to cover for your yearly
payments.”

And you’ll go, “Shit, I meant to cancel that ages ago!”

Co-host: That’s right.

Des: Or your credit card expires, right.

Co-host: Oh, that’s a good one.

Speaker Two: That’s a good one.

Co-host: It’s automatic.

Des: What I love about the credit card expiring are the…

Co-host: I wish the credit card would expire sooner sometimes. I have no
idea some of the
time. Oh my God, Yes, I’m still paying for that. I didn’t know
that.

Des: I always ask for a credit card that expires every year, because
it actually forces
me to reconsider all my purchases every October.

Co-host: Oh, I love it. Then you don’t have to cancel.

Des: Exactly. The worst damage they can do to me is accept books for
the next six
months. Then I just know they’re gone. And what’s hilarious is,
this is one of the points at Intercom.

When you cancel with Sugar synch, right, they’re going to count
that as churn. It will be July 2014 or something. We lost Bob.
He was a great customer. What went wrong?

You’re going to get some email from some dude on the sales team
at sugar synch, and he’s going to b alike, “Hey Bob. Notice
you’re a big heavy user, but you quit. What can I do to get you
back? How’s about a 10% discount?’

You’ll be, like, “Dude, I quit mentally in 2013.”

Co-host: 2012, really.

Des: 2012, exactly. Whereas Sugar synch, if they had an Intercom
solution or
something like Intercom, what they would actually realize is
they would have spotted it the very second you stopped using it.

Co-host: That’s right.

Des: It’s debatable whether or not they could have ever reclaimed
you as a customer,
but at the very least they would have gotten fresh data about
why you’re quitting, which is actually this [corruption] issue,
you know?

Co-host: Yes, but in Sugar synch, so we’re talking about one specific
instance, but it’s
interesting that when you think about all the other backup
appliances, devices, services, things that you have signed up
for since you mentally fired sugar synch, you are entrenched in
a new solution.

At the moment that you fire it, I’m still looking. I’ve got to
figure this out, and sugar synch is out.

And it’s one specific [example]. We’re talking about Bob’s use
of one product. I would think that there’s an opportunity for
them at this point to say, “Hey, we notice something is going
wrong here. Did you know about ‘XYZ’ feature, or this other
product we offer?”

It’s before you jump. I’m looking around the office. You’ve got
time capsules. You’ve got Amazon going. For the sales guy to
come in now it’s, like, “Bro, I have spent a thousand dollars
since I fired you two years ago. This is a foregone conclusion.”

That’s right. So I think it’s very cool. So what Intercom is
doing is it’s measuring true consumption at the moment of
consumption and giving you signals to say, “Hey, something is
wrong. Something is different. Something has changed. You need
to reach out.”

To me, a product like yours would have told them to say, “Wait a
second, he’s deleting computers. They’re not synching up as
often.” They should have had enough cues. Let’s be clear. They
have enough interaction with me to know that there’s a problem.

Des: Absolutely.

Co-host: In the manufacturing world we have something called statistical
process control
to know when is there a special cause to the variation of how
things are happening, and at some point in time it’s got to be
like, “Hey, this has changed. You need to reach out.”

So, to me, you’re the SPC of web, which is awesome.

Des: Right. The high level problem for me is just that,
at counting, product engagement, [they] just don’t cross swords
enough. What sugar synch [makes] money for and what their
product team was building and what their customers are actually
using are usually three different things.

Co-host: That’s right. And what they value, because at some point
somebody would say,
“Boy, I’m willing to value this for a lot more.” They end up
usually valuing things to the lowest common denominator. That’s
the thing that’s most amazing to me.

People take the lowest common denominator as opposed to saying,
“Hey, I can charge $100 bucks as opposed to $10 bucks and have
people have more value for what I do than charging people $10
bucks and thinking they can switch every two months.”

Des: Exactly. I would agree.

Co-host: So it’s very powerful stuff.

Chris: Wait, I want to go back to that. You said people value
things for the lowest
command denominator.

Co-host: So product companies. When they’re looking at it they say, “How
do I get the
most people?” It’s usually the lowest price. My thing is that if
you value one thing, you find the situation where it’s valued
the most. Boy, people value this a lot. They’re willing to pay
$100 bucks.

Think of the alarm clock for the kid that’s two years old or
three years old that just learned how to get out of their bed
and come into the parents room.

We interviewed a guy about that, and he basically said, “I want
to pay $100 bucks for this alarm clock so my kid wouldn’t come
in a room before 7 a.m. because they would walk in at 3 a.m. .”

So at that moment what they’re doing is saying, “Well, what
would people pay? Well, all the other alarm clocks are this
price. We should be about 30 dollars.”

Literally everybody you interviewed came back and said, “To have
my kid not come in until seven o’clock?” That’s worth 100 bucks
to me.”

So they’re taking it to the lowest common denominator of what
other clocks are charging as opposed to what’s the value of one
clock, which is a clock that kids can read, that they don’t get
out of the room until seven.

Co-host: Excellent. Okay. Got it.

Des: Yes, they’re selling in the clock category rather than selling
on the job to be
done.

Co-host: That’s exactly right.

Speaker Two: Wow. perfect.

Co-host: So you touched for a little bit about the lean startup
conference that you spoke at
in San Francisco. I’ve got this theory that within the lean
methodology are the bullet points are, get out of the building,
talk to the customers, understand if your product is actually
providing value, that sort of thing.

My perspective on it is that it’s all great advice, but that’s
kind of where it leaves off. At this point, I always view Jobs-
to-be-Done as the method. So if you prescribe to lean and you
think you need to get out of your building and go talk to
customers, use the jobs interview and the jobs conversation to
have those conversations.

It’s not a pick list or a list of questions, but at least it’s a
method to be able to say, “Okay, here’s the general way that I’m
going to have a conversation with a prospective customer.”

How do you see jobs and lean interacting? Do you see any of
that, or do you look at it in a different way? I’m really
interested to hear both how the conference went and how you
think about it.

Des: The conference was good. I got a few good talks. I’ve read the
lean manifesto.
I’ve read the book. I’m familiar with a lot of what they preach.

I agree with a lot [of it]. A lot of it is standard practice if
you are building a startup and you really want to find answers
quick. I think whenever people talk about jobs and lean they try
to imply that jobs isn’t someway a subset of lean, as in, if you
say, “Here’s what you should be really focusing on, things
people are trying to do,” of course that’s what we do.

That’s not really true. They are not in any way conflicting, but
there are two different skillets that need to be applied. Lean
is more, for me, about how you build your product, and to some
degree how you run your business. Jobs is really about how you
understand the place of a product in the world.

When it comes to, say, getting out of the office and going to
talk to customers, Yes, obviously no one would ever say that
that’s a bad idea.

So what I find interesting is, lean doesn’t advise people to
focus enough on what I would consider to be real paying points.
I always tell people, show me a check or a credit card that was
swiped to solve a problem.

Co-host: I love that.

Speaker Two: I love that.

Co-host: That’s an awesome quote.

Co-host: I don’t know if you know, [but] the history of jobs actually
comes from two
generations earlier from lean. So lean is actually from six
sigma. Sig sigma really is from TQM, and TQM really comes from
the Toyota production system.

In the mid ’80s when I was a freshman in college I happened to
be Dr. Demming’s [SP] gopher boy. I was an intern for him. So I
learned all the process control, all the lean principles, all
that stuff early on.

One of the methodologies that I was responsible for helping to
translate was something called quality function deployment, QFD,
and it’s about connecting the voice of the customer down to the
production floor.

The thing that they had no real ability to do was to connect and
pull apart the voice of the customer to what they really meant,
and as I tried to apply QFD in the US and in Europe, [I] just
found that the language and the market research we had was
inadequate.

So it all is derived from a lot of the lean principles, which
is, we need to be able to make tradeoffs. We need to be able to
understand what people value. We need to understand what things
they are willing to trade off on, and how do we translate that
down to what we do.

So Jobs, it really does come from a lean perspective from that
way. But I think it proceeds lean because it was really about
this idea of translating the voice of the customer into what do
we do and not do.

Des: Yes. I would agree. I think one of the reasons my talk went
down quite well, I
guess, at the lean startup conference was that it gave more . .
. It was kind of, like, okay, you’re out of the office. Now
what? That was almost where my conversation started.

Chris: That’s awesome. That’s the thing. People would say, “All
right. We need to get
the voice of the customer.” Okay, what does that mean? How do we
talk to them? What you found is people would say things one way,
but they would behave differently. To me, what I came to believe
is what they say and what they do are totally different.

I actually don’t believe half of the things that people say, but
when they talk about what they say they do, [the verbs], and you
interrogate them the right way through the jobs interview, now
you can talk about behavior.

But otherwise, when they say, “Oh, I like it,” or, “It’s read
enough,” or whatever that is, to be honest, it’s all BS. I have
a hard time believing that.

Des: People take the phrase voice of the customer too literally, I
guess.

Chris: That’s right.

Des: It’s actual, probably, the behavior of the customer or the
action of the cushion is
what you want to listen to.

Chris: That’s right. I don’t think you need to listen to them. I
think you need to be able
to watch them. Sometimes you can get some of the words, but,
again, looking for the verbs, not the nouns. I think that’s big.

Des: Exactly.

Chris: So where do you see jobs going?

Co-host: Well, before we dive into that, what are you doing with jobs at
Intercom now?
We’ve got the on boarding. Do you guys have an ongoing workflow
that it fits into? I know we talked to Alan and talked about the
user stories, and it sounds like you’re using those. But what’s
the day to day? Or is there one?

Des: The day to day at Intercom has a large number of jobs it can
do. The typical one
would be something, like, get feedback from you from important
users. And the day to day is understanding how well we perform
on these jobs based on bugs in the software, complaints or
feedback from customers about . . . It’s usually, like, what
we’re most interested in is, “I wanted to use this feature, but
I couldn’t because of X.”

It’s understanding the barriers to adoption, or understanding
the barriers to frequent usage for any give job, and then
working on smoothing the path for people. So we do actually
have, internally, documents which list out jobs that we do, jobs
that Intercom has hired for.

We focus on improving the product for those. You can see our
marketing site calls out specific jobs. We don’t literally write
them in in some use case format. We certainly call out specific
jobs that we know that people enjoy the product for.

We also know, we have seen checks written to solve these
problems. We have seen people spend money or spend time to get
this stuff done, and we pitch Intercom as a tool that does this
job.

What’s useful there is, one thing I learned through previous
products and when we used to consult at software companies, in
the early stages a lot of companies, somebody will sign up and
they will be using the product in something that’s slightly an
edge case.

When you are early, you’re flattered by the fact that, “Oh,
look, we can even do this as well.” What you tend to do is
actually support the edge case, and later on you tend to promote
the edge case.

You see even big companies do it. People are even using
Microsoft service in an operating theater.

Co-host: Yes.

Des: You’re, like, “Right.” That is edge case use. The problem is,
you’re now literally
pitching to your weaknesses. Somebody should not be using their
product for that. When we talk about where Intercom goes we
restrict what we say. People use Intercom for literally,
probably thousands of different types of jobs.

But we restrict anything that we say to the ones that we know
are excellent at that.

Chris: The thing is that, what you find is, when you’re really
good there are four or five
jobs that you do, and then they will pull it to over things.

Des: Of course. Base Camp is a perfect example of that, right?

Chris: That’s exactly right. Base Camp is a good example. There’s
something called
Magic Eraser, which I love. It’s another really good example.
People aren’t buying it to do all these other things. They’re
buying it to get the marker off the wall so they don’t have to
repaint.

So it competes with repainting, but once they get it in the
house they’re using it to clean pots and pans and shoes and
floors and all these other things, but they’re not using it to
clean those other things.

It’s just a real interesting thing.

Co-host: We leap from software to consumer package goods. Now people are
going to be
going on magic eraser.com trying to figure out if it’s some kind
of software or something. No, it’s an actual eraser.

Des: What I love about that example, though, is that you could
imagine. Consumer
package goods is great, because these guys have got to get
categorized in a supermarket book.

Co-host: That’s right.

Des: If they wanted to sit beside oven cleaner they would look like
a terrible product,
right? You’re looking at some sort of heavy duty wire gauze and
all this sort of stuff, and then you’ve got this thing that
claims it can erase marker off the wall. You’re, like, “What the
hell? I’m not going to clean my oven with that.”

It’s always important to pitch to your [killer] use case. Base
Camp, I’m sure if they tested this they would find . . . Imagine
a home page where it was, like, “Use us to plan your wedding.” I
know for a fact that people use Base Camp to plan weddings, but
it would lose a fight of wedding [anecdotes].

Co-host: That’s right, but it’s one of those things where if it does one
job well people are
going to say, “Well, I can use it for this or I can use it for
that.” That’s what the whole notion is. If you play to your
strength they will actually extend the jobs that you do to other
places. If anything, you need to just advertise and say, “Use
number 482: wedding planning.”

It’s, like, “Wow.” All of a sudden the people are, like, “Wow. I
could use [that].” They haven’t thought about it. So how do you
actually just change the advertising and the messaging to
actually help with the use cases, but at the same time focus on,
these are the five core jobs we do, and oh, by the way, people
have used it for these other things.

So, to me, you don’t have to be the best at wedding planning
anymore. It’s because I’m comfortable with it. I use it for all
these other things.

Oh my gosh. I could use Base Camp to plan my wedding.

Des: Exactly. I think the difference is, is that, like, when
somebody is familiar . . .
Apologies to the team [inaudible 41:25] for keep using their
product, but I know how everything works in Base Camp, for
example.

I use it and have used it for many, many years. I know the
product inside out. So if I came and we’re planning, say, a home
renovation project, I’m sure there are tools out there to do
that. But I have to do and learn how to use that tool. I don’t
really want to do that.

My perspective shifts from what’s the best tool for me right
now, as opposed to what’s the best holistic tool. Best for me
right now is one where I don’t have to do any learning.

I can literally start making lists and assigning tasks today,
versus signing up for [inaudible 42:03] getting a welcome email,
dropping into a tutorial, watching a couple of video guides,
reading some documentation.

I really feel that if you can capture a few use cases really,
really well, you don’t need to market the edge cases. They
actually happen anyway. We stopped them. I wish we could, at
times. People are going, like, “Hey, I’ve installed Intercom
into a Chrome app that works as part of a Chrome plugin, so
actually it’s inside of a browser inside of a browser,” and I’m
just like, oh God, can we stop this from happening?

Co-host: Well, to be honest, that’s how Jason and Ryan and David all
came up with Base
Camp one, which is, how do we have the one-time fee for $25 for
one project for one thing where people can say, “Yes, I’m
putting this addition on my house. We’re going to run it through
Base Camp.”

I don’t have to buy it through my corporate account. I’m not
going to use it. It’s there. It’s one time. It’s a one-time fee,
and you saw enough jobs where people got it done.

It was no more change than turning off a couple of features that
said you could add projects. It’s one project and it’s one fee,
and it’s fixed.

So it’s those kinds of things where you can find the extremes,
but then you can make it easier for people to do it.

So you look for non-consumption there. It’s low hanging fruit.

Des: Absolutely.

Chris: So what do you see as the future for jobs? Where is it
going?

Des: I think you guys need to write a book.

Co-host: About what?

Des: I’m really only speaking from the software industry
perspective. I know there are
far wider reaching applications, but a lot of different
movements whether it’s Lean Startup, or whether it’s Getting
Real, or whatever, there have been seminal books along the way
that have basically changed the industry’s way of thinking about
things.

People used to use Microsoft front space express to build
websites, and then a guy called Jeffrey Selden wrote a thing
called” Designing Web Standards”, and now literally the entire
industry shifts.

People used to not think that they could turn a side product
into a million dollar business, and then a book called “Getting
Real” came along and that changed all that.

People used to think that building your company involved massive
overheads and massive funding, and then Eric Ries wrote “Lean
Startup”. I feel like there’s a gap, and it’s a necessary step
if you like the process, or whatever they categorized jobs as,
for it to mature as a way that people work. There needs to be a
seminal piece of literature. Often times, at the end of my
talks, people come up and say, “What should I do? How do I read
more?”

I’m, like, “Well, you should check out jobs[inaudible
44:47].org, of course. By the way, this great paper called
“Marketing Malpractice”, and there’s also this other paper
that’s [inaudible 44:55], and there’s also this other paper, and
there’s a half a chapter in this book.” You keep going and
going. I’m saying so many things because I can’t say one thing.

Chris: Yes. So we’re working on that.

Co-host: That’s a good piece of advice. I think you’re right, though.

Des: So when I think about where it’s going, the logical trajectory
without this change
will be that it will progressively become more and more popular
as more and more people talk about it.

It itself will become less of a useful thing to give a
conference talk about. People have heard it. So it itself can’t
be the core of the talk. You know how people say, like, of
course we’re an agile company.

Logical trajectory is to head towards the agile software
movement, where everyone agrees, everyone is on board with it.
It never really had its defining moment, I guess,[ inaudible
45:48] manifesto for them.

What I would really like to see is, there have been books in
design “About Face” or [Don Norman] “The Design of Everyday
Things.”

It has changed entirely how people think about software. I feel
that jobs is the opportunity to do that. The future, for me, is
getting it to a point where if you’re a product designer and you
haven’t read this book, you’re probably not a good product
designer.

Co-host: Wow. I love it.

Speaker Two: We’ve got a book. It’s in the last changes. It’s written
like the book “The Goal”,
which is Shelly [SP], who is a product manager and going through
development of a piece of software.

How she struggles the whole way through to find out the right
things to do for it, and how she finds jobs, and what jobs are,
and how they work in software. So we’re using Mike Rhodes
[SP]out of Milwaukee.

He did the “Rework” book and “Remote”. He did all of the
illustrations for that. He’s in the midst of just finishing up
those illustrations.

So that’s the first book. I’m actually going to see Clay next
week. We’re working on an HBS book for jobs.

Des: That’s going to be excellent.

Bob: It’s very case study based, academic. I’m trying to make sure
we can build some
practicality into it. So we should have some kinds of things out
there, but we also have a Udmey course out there that we have
been working on. So I don’t know if you have seen that, but I
really would appreciate some feedback on that if you had the
chance to see that [inaudible 47:38] course. So Chris, anything
to add?

Chris: Yes, so definitely check [that] out. We think of the
[inaudible 47:50] course as
the online version of the Switch workshop. It’s 16 hours of
video. You learn to interview. You learn the frameworks. We’ve
seen a lot of international consumption of that. People that
can’t come to the Switch.

Des: That’s great. I guess the interesting [thing] about Switch is
that as a workshop it’s
really useful for teaching you how to actually ask deep
questions, and even just how to think about product consumption.

An extra piece that’s missing, and I think everyone is making up
their own way of [doing this] right now, is the documentation
side of jobs.

So let’s say that you guys work with some hot new startup and
you help them interview all their customers. They really get
amazing insights. The stuff you guys deliver.

How do they package that up and bring it back to the team? What
does a job look like? Is it written on a whiteboard? Is it a
paragraph of text? Are there numbers and mats inside it?
Exposing that side of the workflow, I think, is important just
to give people a language.

I’ve definitely talked to people who have said they practice
jobs we don’t look like. It’s chalk and cheese, who they
actually talk about it.

Co-host: Yes, so Chris and I, we’re working on something earlier this
week and then
we’re trying to fit it into the corporate format of power point.
It was just driving us crazy.

Chris: It’s what we’ve done for years.

Co-host: Right. So we’ve said, screw that. Let’s just start over. What
would we do? So we
said, “You know, we’re going to create a four foot by four foot
piece of paper, and we’re going to foot everything on it. We’re
going to end up printing it and creating it as a board to sit in
the war room.”

Here’s the job. Here’s what it’s about. Here’s what it’s not
about. Here’s what the value code is. Here’s what the energy
looks like. Here’s the positive energy. Here’s the negative
energy. Here’s the insight. Here’s the tradeoffs people are
willing to make in this job.

So it becomes this icon to help people see the whole that’s not
on an eight and a half. I feel [that I’m being] so constrained
by that eight and a half piece of paper.

Co-host: So the thing that we’re trying to get to, [and] it speaks to
your answer to our
previous question of how are you using jobs at Intercom today,
and what we find is that if they’re not living things in the
office, if it’s not something that you can actually have and
look at and say, “Okay, we’re thinking about building this
feature. Let’s look at the five jobs that we serve.”

Would it help people with job number one? No. Would it help
people with job number two and four? Maybe.

But if it’s hidden in a 50 page deck somewhere in some Base Camp
project that I’ve got to print out and we’re all going to cram
and go through, it makes it too difficult. So one of the things
we’re really trying, so Bob, it’s a canvas wrapped big four foot
board. All right, this is now the war room and we have a
decision to make.

Either we trust our research or we don’t, but if we trust it
we’re going to go in there and say, “All right, we’re going to
talk about this one person who had job number one, and I want to
talk about this feature we’re building for Intercom.”

Let’s play through how they would interact with it. Would it
make things harder, easier? Would it break down barriers? We
might need some help, but we’re going to do some writing and
maybe some presenting on how to come up with these boards. We
feel, so what we have found in the Power Point, we will have 15
slides that describe one job.

So one is what it’s about. One is what it’s less about. One is
the energy through time. One is the [Pixar]. We have all these
methods, but turning page after page, unless I can see it all in
front of me I’m trying to remember what was five pages ago.

I think you’re spot on. I think that’s the next thing that needs
to involve in order for us – we want to be able to go back to it
is months from now and say, “Okay, let’s revisit this. Let’s
talk about a feature. Let’s take a look at it.”

Co-host: The other thing that’s next after this is that after we start
to see [tests] of jobs you
start to see questions you can ask. So it’s almost, like, what
are the ten to 15 questions you can ask up front that actually
help people understand what job they’re in? There’s a way in
which the web, and the way you serve up questions to people, can
help them actually shop better.

To me, I think that where we’re headed is there are questions
and there’s math, and there are starting to be ways in which to
take emotion, social and functional requirements, wrap them
together and say, “Hey, what are you trying to do?” It’s not
that direct, but it’s, like, “Hey, have you done this? Or are
you coming from this perspective?”

So as you start to see the portfolio of jobs you understand the
right set of ten questions that then create the space and the
brain for the solution to fall into. So I think the role of the
web is to help, again, it’s about answering questions. But I
also think it’s about asking questions so people can do the hard
work up front to know what they want.

As consumers, we need to become better shoppers.

Des: Yes, that’s the flip side of it. One thing I’m quite good at
now is spending
money more effectively. I’ll tell you a silly example. I was
going to a fancy dress party on New Year’s Eve. I was on 8th
street here in San Francisco.

I was looking to buy a silly outfit and I was shopping at all
these hipster stores, and what I realized very quickly was I was
buying irony and they were selling cool.

Co-host: Awesome.

Des: I was willing to spend maybe $20 bucks for a stupid looking
jumper, whereas
they were selling what I would consider to be stupid looking
jumpers for $150. They were, like, people would come in here and
look at that and go, “Shit, that’s cool.”

Co-host: It’s the alarm clock.

Des: It’s exactly that. I saw a lowly example of this in Target the
other day. So
SONOS has this whole huge set up in Target. A guy came running
in. I was just watching to check SONSO stereos.

A guy came running in. He goes straight over to the sales dude.
He’s, like, “Hey, I want to get something set up for my
apartment. Just moved in. I’m thinking of going 7.1,” and the
consumer starts throwing out all these different terms.

And the sales person was so polite. He listens to him. He makes
all the right facial expressions, as if he cares, and then at
the very end of it he goes, “Let’s talk about your sitting
room.”

He’s like, “Okay.” “Describe it to me.”

So he gets the dude to draw out a little map of a sitting room
on a piece of paper, and then they talk about that for a while.
He goes, “Tell me about your friends. Who has got the best one?”

It became so clear to me 30 seconds in the conversation this
dude was jealous of Hell over one of his friends. So he wasn’t
buying SONOS. He was buying getting even. That was his actual
sales pitch.

Co-host: Who is this Target sales guy, and what does he want for a
salary?

Speaker Two: And why is he still at Target?

Speaker Three: And why is he not the CEO of Best Buy?

Co-host: That’s amazing.

Des: It was so interesting, because all the stuff that this dude
described about his
friend’s apartment, very little of it had anything to do with
sound. Sound was just the most obvious. What he was describing
was this nice view, and he was like, “Right. I can’t sell you a
new view.”

He was able to map his requirements of how to have a better set
up than your friend, which is actually what the guy wanted. [He] realized you also need a new sofa or a new couch. He wants one
of those La-Z-Boy sort of things. He walked out of there with a
shopping list of stuff, and a wood piece, which he didn’t buy.

It was probably $1,000 worth of equipment. [It was also] a
stereo. He also realized he needed so many other things. I think
he also bought a television in Target that day as well.

Co-host: Oh my gosh. That’s the best fly on the wall jobs interview you
could have.

Des: It was such a great understanding of, this dude wasn’t buying sound.
He was buying a
solution to jealousy, and that’s what the guy sold him, and
that’s why he took a lot more money. Sound systems cost maybe
$500, but that wasn’t what he was shopping for.

Co-host: That’s right. Jobs is also rooted in the sales side. It’s
really rooted in the buying
side. What do you want to do? So to me, good sales people
actually know Jobs-to-be-Done, because all they’re really
worried about is not their product, but what the customer is
really trying to do.

Speaker Two: And the completely blows my mind. We sit with so many
entrepreneurs, well,
actually when we say entrepreneurs, more of the established
players in the industries, that sit down with us and say, “Oh,
we can’t get margin anymore. Our competitors are eating our
lunch. We can’t find any place to get money anymore.”

We will talk to ten customers and we’re, like, “Dude, you left
so much money on the table by just missing the simplest steps
that you could have just nailed by just listening.”

It just kills me.

Co-host: That’s right.

Chris: Are you between San Francisco and Ireland now, Des? Where
are you at?

Des: I still consider myself living in Ireland, but I spend a lot of
time in San
Francisco. I’ve grown to like the city. I probably do maybe
eight, nine months of the year in Dublin, and the rest in San
Francisco.

I travel back and forth for things like board meetings and
customers. I run a customer facing team, so we necessarily have
to cover a lot of time zones. We’ve got people in Italy, people
in Berlin, Dublin, San Francisco. I travel around a bit.

Chris: We need your help. One of our big initiatives for 2014 is
getting the Jobs-to-be-
Done meet ups off the ground. I don’t know if you’re involved in
the one that’s taking shape in San Francisco, but it would be
great to get you linked up with those guys if you aren’t, and
the other one is, I know there is a movement in Ireland going
on, or at least we’ve got some questions about it. So Laurence
Vail . . .

Co-host: Laurence Vail, Yes.

Chris: Is out there. He has asked about a switch workshop,
possibly on the calendar
for 2014 in Ireland. But what we’re interested in and what we’re
seeing happen is, the Switch workshop is a big ordeal.

Either before or after those switch workshops we have seen
little clusters of people, 10, 20 , 30 people get together on a
monthly basis just to share job stories, share technique. Do a
little learning. That sort of thing.

Co-host: Do some interviews. Like, in New York last month they did an
interview.

Speaker Two: On Alan.

Co-host: On Alan buying a sofa. He goes, “Oh my God. I didn’t really
understand all the
things that were going into my decision until I actually went
through it.”

I’m, like, “That’s the power of jobs. Sometimes it’s not at the
surface. It’s underneath.” It’s good.

I know we just put together the schedule of all the switch
conferences we’re going to be doing for 2014. I think we’ve got
two in San Francisco that we’re scheduling or trying to
schedule. What we’re trying to do is any town where we do a
switch conference, we’re trying to build some meet up . . .

Co-host: Groups.

Speaker Two: Groups that support it. I think we’ve picked Argentina and
Ireland and possibly
Australia as three target countries to try to, if we can go
outside the country, to go outside the country. If you can help
in any way that would be greatly appreciated.

Des: Yes, I definitely can. I know Laurence Veil [SP] pretty well.
He’s a great guy.
You should totally thank him on the podcast today. He’s really
interesting. He would be a good person also to start a meet up
in Dublin, and I would be more than happy to help. There’s a
great design scene in Dublin. People would lap this stuff up
pretty quick.

Co-host: Cool.

Des: I think it’s definitely doable. There’s enough large companies
as well that would
be able to pay to attend the workshop as well, so I think it’s
definitely worth doing. Then San Francisco, I think you guys
sold out your last workshop here.

Co-host: Yes. We did.

Des: The story writes itself out here for the most part. Yes. I’m
looking forward to
this happening. It’s going to be fun.

Co-host: If you’re ever flying through Detroit you got to let us know.
If know if you’re
going West Coast or you’re going West Coast back to Ireland, and
you’ve got a layover, you’ve got to let us know.

If you’re in Detroit you’ve got to stop in, stop at the office.
We’ll show you around town. Detroit, I call it the innovation
capital of the world, because it has to.

Most people don’t see it that way, but it would be really great
to see you in Detroit. Otherwise, I’m sure we’ll see you in San
Francisco or Ireland.

Des: Absolutely. I look forward to it.

Co-host: Appreciate you coming on very much.

Speaker Two: The Intercom blog, I know, is one place to follow you.
What’s your Twitter
handle?

Des: Intercom blog is insideIntercom.io, and my twitter handle is
just Des Traynor,
just my name.

Co-host: T-R-A-Y-N-O-R.

Des: That’s right. Yes.

Co-host: Great. Well, thanks for the time. It was good to get a solid
hour here to
just bat things around.

Speaker Two: Yes. Thank you so much.

Co-host: This was really exciting. So we really appreciate you taking
the time, and
[we] hope to catch up soon again.

Co-host: Best of luck.

Des: Cool. Thanks so much, guys.

Co-host: See you, man.

Speaker Two: Thanks Des.

Co-host: Bye.

  • PeterFroberg

    Hi guys

    I really liked the podcast and it is exiting to hear that you are working on books about jobs. Personally i have been in the situation that Des describes in the podcast. Of being exited about jobs, but not able to find a lot more info.

    From before they wrote the business model generation, i have been a big fan of the business model canvas and the way this tool can help you illustrate elements of a business model in a very visual and tactile way.

    A bit like the war room situation you described in the podcast.

    If you have not seen it, then it might be worth it to have a look at Alexander Osterwalders plans for his new book around the value prop canvas.
    http://businessmodelalchemist.com/blog/2014/1/value-proposition-canvas-book-1

    It seems like he is working along the same lines.

    Best
    Peter

    • chriscbs

      Hey Peter,

      I think there are a lot of people in the same situation. We’ll get the book out there asap!

      I’m a huge fan of the business model canvas and the work that Alex is doing. I think when you have a good set of “Jobs” to at as the foundation of the canvas (“we know of the jobs that exist that we can serve – now let’s build the BMC around them”) both tools become highly effective.