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Forces Friday: Habit of the Present

Chris Spiek // 09.20.13

habit_smOur Forces Friday series concludes this week with an in-depth discussion of the Habit of the Present: Why would a consumer have to break a habit in order to buy a Roomba vacuum cleaner?

Chris, Bob, and Ervin discuss the force using the iPhone and Android and the Roomba as examples.

Also tune in to hear the details of a new practice interview project that we’re kicking off which focuses on iPhone and Android switching!

Show Notes & Links

Here is a list of items referenced in this episode:

Jobs-to-be-Done Radio

Click to view episode transcript.

Episode Transcript

Announcer: Welcome to the latest edition of Jobs To Be Done Radio. Where
we discuss how to apply the Jobs To Be Done framework, to understand why
consumers switch from one product to another, and ultimately how to get
more customers to switch to your product. And here are your hosts.

Chris: All right. Welcome to the latest edition of “Jobs-To-Be-Done”
Radio, I’m Chris Spiek. As always, I am here with Bob Moesta and Ervin
Folkes [SP]. Hey guys.

Bob: Hey, Chris, how are you?

Ervin: Hey, Chris.

Chris: So, we’re back to wrap up our “Forces Friday” series, which
has taken us a little bit longer than we expected. But we’re going to dive
into, the force that we have to discuss is the habit of the presnt. So,
we’ll have rounded up this entire thing and hopefully delivered you some
good content that you can go back and review as you’re going through your
forces diagram. So, Ervin, you’re going to dive into that for us in a
minute. We have a couple of other really cool administrative items we want
to get through here. So, first of all, Bob, you and I are headed off to
Cambridge?

Bob: Yeah.

Chris: A couple days in London doing some interviews for a client. Got
the switch workshop in Cambridge on Thursday.

Bob: And Redgate, right?

Chris: Yeah. Redgate Software. Thanks to Simon for coordinating and
hosting and marketing and pretty much doing everything. So, I met Simon in
Chicago a couple of months ago. He came over to the workshop at 37signals
and was nice enough to invite us over to Europe. So, that will be a fun
trip. It will be a “Jobs-to-be-done-filled” field trip.

Bob: Just to be clear. That ambulance was in Detroit. That’s not us. We’re
all safe here.

Chris: Absolutely. We’re good. So, yeah. That will be cool. We’ve also
got the advanced, we’ve got a Switch workshop coming up in Toronto.

Bob: Yes, we haven’t really announced it, have we?

Chris: This is it. So, this is August 7th, we have the Switch
workshop. And then, August 8th is the advanced.

Bob: Yeah, the advanced.

Chris: The advanced course. So, I’d say this is by popular demand. So,
every time we do a Switch workshop, there’s a handful of people saying
“Look, we’ve done interviews” or “We’re going to do interviews. How do we
analyze/compare/unpack stories? How do we kind of dive in and make sure
that we’re taking the interview content and making it actionable for
marketing for product development for everybody else”? So, that’s going to
be kind of the deep dive. So, we have it structured the way now, where I
think there will be a bit of practice going in. So, we’re going to have you
listen some to interviews around different topics that we’ve done that we
can share, maybe three per topic. And then, we’re going to do our analysis
process, kind of, in the class, within everyone participating and actually
doing the analysis in real time and what we call “mapping the jobs” and
identifying job dimensions and that sort of thing.

Ervin: So, this is kind of cool. Because this is the first time we’re
actually doing it outside of client work and outside of internal workshops
we’ve done. This is the first time we’re giving it to the public. So, if
you’ve been to a Switch workshop.

Bob: Yeah. The thing is, I think it’s a big challenge. Because, typically,
to do the analysis, you have to be kind of into those interviews. And so,
the hard thing is is that, this is more of a generalized topic like wines.
I don’t know which topic we picked.

Ervin: So, right now, it’s going to be laptop bags for women and wine.

Bob: And so, it’s topics that we kind of know about. But from a business
perspective, you don’t know all the ins and outs of what kind of business
lens you’re putting out. Am I retailer, am I a grower? Am I a maker of the
bag?

Chris: Part of it, I think, will be actually setting it up in a way
where we’re going to set the scene. So, we have the marketing team. We have
the product development team. We have this sort of business.

Bob: The role, right.

Chris: And then we’ll have roles. So, it’s important to point out,
Bob. What you said into the interview. So, typically when we do this
analysis and people listening will find this important. We tend to do a
handful of interviews, 5-10 interviews. And then, the next day, we’re going
into analysis. So, the stories are fresh in our minds. Around the table,
we’ve got two, three, sometimes five or six people who have witnessed the
interviews. And we can all say “Okay, let’s talk about Jenny. Let’s talk
about her story. What’s unique about it”? And we have different methods
that we’re going to use to analyze the data, but it pours out of everyone
real quickly. And we’ve got recordings and everything if we need to go back
and listen. So, it’s like you’re immersed, right?

Bob: Right. And it’s much faster. So, the thing is we’re going to try to
teach. We’re probably going to have people do it and then, try to teach
them the process for doing it.

Chris: Exactly.

Bob: And so, the hard part is that, I’ll say, there’s a generalized
version of the process. But there are given situations where you’re going
to change it and modify it. So, we’re going to give, I’ll say, the
framework of how to analyze. And then, we’re going to talk about two
specific kinds of situations. But the reality of it is that it’s like,
okay. We haven’t really analyzed the same thing, ever. And the whole thing
is it’s getting back into how’s your judgment play in these things? So, as
I always say, it’s about, you know. It’s half art, half science.

Chris: Yeah. And the good thing is, I think the audience for this is
good at that. So, it’s like the interview technique. We can’t give you the
script and say “Go after these questions and you’ll get the outcome.” So, I
think if you’ve been through the Switch workshop, you’re used to it and
you’re probably good at it. You’re dynamic and you’re able to adapt to the
topic.

Bob: That’s right. And the notion is is that it’s better than what you
were doing before. And so the notion is we’re not trying to design some
ideal process of “Okay, what’s the best way to analyze these interviews”?
It’s like, at some point, it’s the continuous improvement approach, it’s
progress. So, I’m excited to see, you know, it’s kind of like when we went
to the University of Illinois. We tried to teach students who have no real
experience in the business world. We weren’t sure how that was going to
turn out. It turned out awesome. I think this is going to be the same kind
of thing. I think I have some apprehensions because I think it’s going to
be more challenging. But it might turn out to be not. It might be easier.

Chris: So, only time will tell. But, the good thing is is that,
everyone that we’ve heard from that has requested this is like, “Look. I’m
sitting on a pile of interviews.” So, I think the good thing is, it’s like
the Switch workshop. People are going to be open about “Hey you’re doing
this, but I’m in this industry. And I heard this. How would you analyze
this case?” So, honestly, I think it’s going to be a ton of fun. I think
being there is going to be super valuable for everyone. Because they’re
going to hear other attendees talk about B to B, B to C, it’s like you’re
going to get a whole ton of experience from being there.

Bob: The people who will be there will all be pulled into
interviews. It will be talking about what progress looks like and what did
I do before or how different it is or whatever. So, it will be fun.

Chris: So, we should point that out to you. So, the prerequisite to
the advanced course is that you’ve attended the Switch workshop, you’ve
done interviews. Or that there are people out there who know how to
interview that haven’t been to the Switch. So, if you can demonstrate
“Look, I understand the intro, the technique, the timing. I get the tools
and I know how to interview. Let’s talk and you can get admittance into
this advanced class.” But I think that’s important is that there’s a
baseline of understanding of the interview technique and how to get to the
jobs.

Bob: That second day. So, you can go to the first day or second day and
make it. But the thing is, it’s kind of like when people go get their
MBA’s. It’s always better to go get a couple years of experience and go
right out of school. So, I think it’s the same kind of notion.

Chris: Yeah. So, if you’re at that point where you’ve done a bunch of
interviews. I think most people are at the point where they’ve done a lot
of interviews and they’ve acted on them. The people that we’ve talked to
are like, we don’t have a formalized analysis process, but we’ve taken the
stories from the interviews. We’ve made product changes, we’ve made
advertising changes, we’re acting on them. I think this is the next step of
kind of formalizing the after-interview process. So, look for that
announcement on jobstobedone.org.

Bob: And what’s interesting to me, again, we’ve taken the completely
opposite direction of where I say I think I went early on in this whole
thing. I went deeper and deeper into how to analyze and the math. And this
is again, trying to take, how do we simply the interview process? How do we
simplify the analysis process? So, the whole purpose here is just to do
some basic analysis to these interviews that have, again, very large
impacts. So, this is isn’t about math and the [quant] studies. There’s all
that stuff still to come, if you will. But this is around, it’s Analysis
101. It’s not Analysis 400.

Chris: It’s not stats and all that.

Bob: Not yet. I hope to get there someday.

Chris: Yeah. I don’t think it’s far off, but you’re right. I think
this is talking about the stories and talking about analyzing and use the
stories in different functions.

Bob: Well, to be honest, it’s how to analyze qualitative data. It’s the
quantitative/qualitative that we talk about. So, that’d be very cool.

Chris: So, the other thing we want to touch on is the online version
of the “Jobs-To-Be-Done” course. We’re getting very close to launching
that. I’d say we did a private launch over the last couple of days. So, we
have people that are close to the jobstobedone.org site. Getting into it
and starting to use it. Bob, you brought up an interesting point. So, as
much it’s online and it’s going to be a couple of hundred bucks to take.
It’ll be, I’d say, similar to the Switch workshop? You don’t have that in-
person experience, which I think is really valuable. But our intention for
this is really, obviously, we’re trying to spread the word of Jobs-to-Be-
Done and get the framework into people’s hands that can really use it. So,
we know there are people that can’t hit the dates when we’re having the
Switch workshop. They can’t, maybe, travel from countries to get to where
we’re at. So, this is really our effort to say “Learn the interview
technique. Do it at your own pace. Do it online and get up to speed.” I
guess the caveat, which we were talking about before we started the show,
it’s like not everyone’s going to get in. And we want to talk about kind of
how we’re going to structure that.

Bob: I think the notion is is that, we did some Beta, right? We had some
different people take it. And what was very interesting is, the people who
valued it the most, were the people who basically said “I have a project, I
just did some interviews. I need to do more interviews next week.” They’re
in. And they’re in a project and they need it. And those are the people who
signed up and they went through it in like a day to two days. And they’re
like “Oh, my God. This was awesome.” And they talk about how they applied
it. Versus the people who were like “Yeah, I’ve heard about this stuff. I’m
not too sure what it is.”

Chris: “We’ve got some extra budget.”

Bob: “Got some extra budget,” or they wanted to. And they’re like “Oh,
I’ll take some time to do this.” And we’d do students. They’d be like “Oh,
this is boring.” The whole thing is that we’re use the “It is possible”
notion here of just basically saying, asking you some questions about
what’s your intent? What are you trying to accomplish by taking this
course? And then based on that, we’re basically going to say “You know
what? This course is not for you.” Or “You know what? You’re ready to take
this course.” Because value is based on your context, not on ours. And so,
the thing is I’d much rather have fewer people who take it and love it,
than more people who take it and don’t love it.

Chris: Yeah. People who take it and actually use it…

Bob: Will refer it. And so, the notion is to actually use the job’s
framework to say “You’ve got to have a job to take the course.” Because if
you don’t have a job, to be done, it’s kind of like “I just want to know
about it…”

Chris: You’ll be extremely underwhelmed.

Bob: You’ll be underwhelmed. But it’s really about the tactics and the
details of doing this stuff. As opposed to a lot of that theory behind it.

Chris: The other thing is, if you don’t have a topic to interview on
or if you don’t have a project that you are incredibly curious about, like
you want to find the answers to. You need to find the answers to. Doing
this stuff is a lot of hard work. I’ve got to find people to interview. If
this is just a hobby, it’s going to be hard.

Ervin: I have to tell you, for those of you listening, this was not
my favorite thing to hear. Because, we spent so much time pointing to this
course. And then, Chris and Bob come to me and say “You know, Ervin,
listen. We really want to make sure we qualify people hard to make sure
that this course is going to be of the most value to them.” And I’m like,
my head’s exploding, I’m like “What do you mean? I want to teach everybody.
I want everybody to have it. We should sing it from the rooftops.” But
after a while, I kind of get the spirit of it. I’d rather you be ecstatic
using someone else’s product than miserable using mine. So, if this is what
it takes for us to get there, it’s one extra hurdle. But I believe that
people who go through the process of making sure this course is for them,
will reap the most benefit from it.

Bob: And to be honest, again, value isn’t in the moment. And if they’re
not ready, they’re not ready. And so the thing is, if they actually try to
take the course when they’re not ready for it, they’re going to be
underwhelmed by it and never think of it as a solution. So, it’s kind of
like the housing business. When we did houses in the “It is Possible”
thing, it was “Are you ready to move”? We had that whole question we were
doing. Why do you need to move? Why can’t you move? What’s your life going
to be like when you’re in this new house? And what you found is that if
people couldn’t answer those questions, they weren’t ready to talk to us.
If they had those questions down, I could close. They were ready. But if
not, it was like they would waste my time. So, the thing is, it’s more
about I don’t want to waste their time. And so, this is really about trying
to create value for them. This isn’t about the sale. This is about
consumption. How do we make sure people actually consume what we have out
there? So, we might be able to sell a thousand of these. But if I only get
20 percent to consume, that’s horrible value.

Chris: Yeah, so I think you said it the best. So, I do want to append
what I said earlier. It’s not about keeping people out. It’s about making
sure that we let the people in that are going to make very good use of
their own time. And that we’re not selling this to a bunch of people who
are going to waste. What are we up to, nine hours? Nine hours of probably
content, and then you’ve got to do some interviews to practice and keep up
with the course. It’s not grueling, it’s not a college course. But you’re
going to dedicate time after work, time during work. There’s going to be a
time commitment here. And if we haven’t set the expectation correctly and
made sure that you have something in your life that you can use this on,
you’re going to hate us at the end for spending the money and you’re going
to hate yourself for wasting your time. So, I think this is the spirit of
Jobs-to-Be-Done, I’ll say, is making sure that the value matches the
situation. That’s really what we’re out to do.

Bob: That’s right. And again, “No” doesn’t mean no forever. “No” means
“No for now.” And it’s like, you’re just not ready.

Chris: “No” means that you need to shape the job up.

Bob: You shape the job up of what you want to accomplish. So, exactly
right. We’re just drinking our own Kool Aid on that one. My thing is, you
guys did kind of the bulk of the lifting on the course. Tell me about the
process. Was it fun? Was it hard? Ervin’s got the big grin on his face,
like “Oh, my God.”

Ervin: Hold out your hand because I’m about to drop a name. Ryan
Singer, when Chris had a discussion about it. He said when you’re creating
something new, there’s this preconceived idea that’s everybody’s just like
“Oh, we’re coming out with the new greatest thing. We’re kind of floating
through the halls. Oh, look it’s so beautiful” and everybody loves it and
everybody’s having a great time the whole time. But we kind of realize is
that when you’re creating something new, it’s hard.

Bob: You don’t know what you’re doing.

Ervin: You don’t know what you’re doing. Like we talk about all the
time. We’re making some of the most important decisions, we have the least
amount of information. And so, you’re going there. There’s no one to test
it against. So, every day, you’re going in and working on faith. Like,
okay, I think I’m doing the best thing possible. Then you go back and redo
it and re-fight it and re-tweak it and go back again. So, it was a lot of
fun. But so much of your heart goes into it. The entire time, like I hope
this is the greatest thing that’s ever been here before.

Chris: Ryan always tells the story of like, I get the feeling that
people come up to him and say, like “What was it like when you were
launching base camp”? Like it must have been popping champagne and
strippers and so much fun. And it’s like, no. Every night, my stomach is in
knots. I wake up thinking that these decisions are so critical. Because
they are, you’re making product decisions. And it’s like, I haven’t slept
for weeks. I don’t know if we’re not going down the completely wrong path.
Is anybody even going to buy this? But the glory that comes afterward,
everyone associates to the process. Like you guys must have been having a
blast with this. Ervin and I are sitting here every day. We’re like “Are we
teaching the right thing? Are they going to learn it? Are they going to be
able to apply it”? It’s just when you ask how it was, it’s fun. Like,
creating something new is fun. It’s also very difficult making trade-offs
and making decisions.

Bob: Well, and it gets back to Jason [inaudible 17:26] book. There are no
oversight successes. The thing is, you built a prototype. You did a round
of testing. You basically did some more feedback on it. You now have
another round of testing. You’ve got good signals. But the thing is, it’s
rounds of prototyping. It’s all about prototyping, right? And so the thing
is, at some point, again, it’s listening to the customer, listening to the
context. When is it adding value, when is it not adding value? What do we
need to add? When don’t we need to add? Again, as soon as we do this,
they’re going to say “Oh, you need to add this and this.” But the reality
is that they’re only asking for that because they went through it. It’s not
the people who aren’t going through it who want that. So, you have to
realize what’s the right combination of things to add? So, it’s the fun
part of product development. That’s why I love it. It’s very cool. I
remember coming in this morning, you guys said “Did you see the website. We
sent the letter out. Did you see everybody check that”? There’s all that
buzz, right, but, you know, it’s one of those things where it’s like, it’s
still going to fit into people’s lives. It’s the middle of summer. You just
offer them something that’s really kind of cool, but it’s nine hours. It’s
like “Okay, I’ve got vacation coming up.” One is to say, there must be some
kind of interest because everybody did something with that e-mail or a high
percentage of people had interest with it. But the notion is, it might not
be the right time. They might be able to do it until August or later. So,
don’t, that’s the nots. “Why aren’t they buying it? Why aren’t they doing
it”? It’s very interesting.

Chris: Yeah. I don’t think so, at least for me personally just to
reflect on product development. I don’t think the nots are nearly as much
around people buying or not buying. It’s leading up, it’s making the
decision. So, it’s making harder decisions. “When do I stop? When is it
good enough? When do I keep refining, adding more, taking stuff”? Those
product level decisions, I think, it’s the difficult part. And I think it’s
what every manager, every product developer. Everyone kind of faces it.
It’s like “When are you done? When are you happy with it”? That’s the
difficult aspect of it.

Bob: Early and often, that all I’d say. It’s never good enough, so you
just put it out there. Everything’s a draft and it’s like “How do I just
get the feedback and know when it’s there”? The question gets back to the
investment, right? It’s really about how many dollars, how much time. A
tweak here or a tweak there is a big investment. It’s like “When do I have
to revamp the whole thing” or “When do I have to add a whole new section”
or whatever.

Chris: So, what you’re going to see, we’re doing our rounds of
testing. We did our initial beta. We’re doing a small, internal round,
here. And then, you’ll see a launch within the next couple of weeks. So,
we’re excited about that. What you will see on the website over the next
few days is a signup page. So, if you want to get notified when the course
is available to the public, it’s going to be quick. Put your e-mail there,
let us know that you’re interested, we’ll get you on the list. We’ll notify
you when it’s ready and you can go sign up there. So, that’ll be up soon.
So, next, let’s talk about the habit of the present. So, we’re at the
bottom-left quadrant of the forces here. I guess I’ll recap. If you’re
listening to this and you haven’t listened to the previous ones, we have
one episode where we fully explain the forces diagram. And then, we’ve done
previous episodes on push/pull on anxiety. And now, we’re doing the habit
of the present. So, if you need to stop this and go back and listen to
those other ones, get yourself up to speed. We’ll link the forces diagram
so you can see it, as well. But Ervin is going to talk about this last,
sometimes elusive progress-making.

Bob: What has happened to the present? What does that mean?

Ervin: All right, so what happened to the present. And I’m glad I’m
speaking on this one, because it’s my favorite one. Like, I know you guys
love the anxiety because if you can nail anxiety and lower anxiety in the
buying process, then you can expect explosive growth. But I like what
happened to the present because number one, it’s what everybody kind of
overlooks. Now, if you want to talk about strict definition of what
happened to the present, it’s basically, it’s the way I’ve always done
things. So, a new opportunity to do something different shows up. But when
it shows up, I still have a way of everything I’ve always done. I’ve always
used Tide. I’ve always used my certain type of blender. I’ve always bought
the same type of wine. You only do something different. But if you don’t
speak to my habit, if you don’t speak to what I’m already doing, you’re
going to lose. Because the forces aren’t going to line up for you. Because,
let’s take a smoker. If you’re a smoker and you wake up one day and say
“Okay, I’m going to stop smoking,” what you have to realize is your entire
environment is committed to you being a smoker.

Bob: What do you mean? I don’t understand.

Ervin: You have smoker stuff. You have ashtrays, you have moments in
your life that you smoke. You have friends that smoke with you. No one else
got the memo.

Bob: Nobody else got the memo that you’re quitting. So, when you say
I got to quit smoking, I’ve gotta quit my friends. I’ve gotta quit my car
because it smells like smoke. I’ve got all these other things that remind
me. And so, the habit of the present is really that notion of every time
I smell smoke, that’s pushing me back. I’ve gotta go smoke.

Ervin: Exactly.

Bob: So, it’s that force that’s pulling you back to what you used to do.

Ervin: Exactly. And so, if the product doesn’t speak to that and
doesn’t offer some other solution, what are you going to do? Like, if
you’re talking about switching insurance salesmen. Like, you’ve been with
your insurance guy, he’s your uncle. And I’m trying to sell you my
insurance plan. If I don’t walk you through the process, though, what it’s
going to be like to sit down with your Uncle Tom and tell him that he’s no
longer your insurance guy. Are you ready for that conversation? If you’re
not speaking to those things, then you’re just leaving this person out
there, hoping that they can work it out.

Bob: And it’s related to anxiety because, again, it’s underneath the
surface of things. But it’s those things that you need to be able to call
out. Because if you don’t call them out, they come out anyways. They’re
there. They’re not there externally, but they’re internally, the friction
that’s holding people back.

Chris: So, we had a great story or interview from the last Switch
workshop in Chicago that I think we should talk through. Because this is
one of the best examples habit of the present. And this was one of
those cool, I always talk about it 45 minutes in. Like, you have the
conversation and it’s like, I kind of get the story. And in the 45-minute
mark, it just blows wide open. So, the gentleman had bought the Roomba
electric vacuum cleaner.

Bob: He had a lot of anxiety about buying that Roomba.

Chris: He did. So, just to give the kind of forces over to you,
there’s push around this. His wife doesn’t like doing the vacuuming, he
does the vacuuming. They have their chores divvied up. Very amicable sort
of thing. You can feel like everything’s great there. They go to Japan,
they visit friends. The wife is super hot on the Roomba and he’s the gadget
guy. So, it’s like “Okay, I can see spending some money on this. The
thing’s driving around it. The kids love it.” All that sort of thing. He’s
got anxiety about whether it’s going to clean or not. And he actually talks
about, like, “I’m up. The kids go to bed. It’s midnight. I’m on my laptop,
my wife’s on my laptop, I do the research.” So, he goes about 12 months
without buying it. What we eventually uncover is the love for the Dyson.
That, he’s like the closet Dyson lover. He talks about, like, “I got the
Roomba. I’ve had the Roomba for six months. But a week ago, my wife left
town. And you know what? Saturday morning, I actually pulled the Dyson
out.” It’s like, where did that come from? You have it automatically. Why
would you pull it out of the closet and use the Dyson? So, I think it
speaks to Ervin’s point perfectly. He uses it. He likes to do it. He’s not
going to verbalize to his wife like “Hey, I like the idea of the Roomba.
But I actually like vacuuming.” Because it sounds so ridiculous. But in
reality, it kept him from 12 months. It’s like “I’m not going to be able to
do this anymore.”

Bob: And the real reason the wife wanted the Roomba was it forced
the kids, because the kids liked it so much, to pick up the whole room. So,
it’s not that the Roomba did a great job vacuuming. It forced to kids to
clean up. And so, the whole thing is that the Roomba did something
completely different. He’s picking out like “Well, it doesn’t get into the
corners.” He’s just trying to pick out all these things. “It doesn’t have
the same suction power as the Dyson.” And it was just these whole things
and it was like they were two completely different jobs. So, you realize,
at the end of the day, the best was when he realized. He goes “Guess what?
I don’t think I bought the Roomba. I just wore out on the energy for my
wife to basically….”

Chris: The greatest part, it was one good instance of a story where I
could see the other three forces really coalesce. I could feel push, I
could feel pull. I could feel him deal with the anxiety. Like, I’m
researching. It looks like it does a decent job cleaning. I’m not that
worried about the cleaning. Why didn’t you buy? And this is that cigarette
smoker, vacuum cleaner habit of the present. Until he kind of reconciled,
maybe I could pull it out. And he wasn’t hiding it from her. But it’s like
“When she’s not home, I’ll pull it out.”

Bob: I think the question we asked was “So, when’s the last time you
pulled out the Dyson”? “It was Saturday.” “Was your wife around”? “No, my
wife wasn’t around.” I’m like, “What’s up with that.” The best was his
declaration. “Okay, I love my Dyson.” And it was like the whole room
roared. Cause it’s like “You’re in love with your Dyson”? He goes “The
Roomba’s okay, but it just doesn’t do everything my Dyson does.”

Chris: So, my thing is, they design those Dysons. It’s the sound.
It’s seeing the dirt that’s sucked up.

Bob: It’s emptying, it’s a wonderful device.

Chris: He’s got the experience that that habit, he can’t fulfill
anymore because the Roomba’s doing it automatically for him. So, I felt
like that was a great example.

Ervin: So, let’s talk about the dark side of the habit, though. Let’s
say you’re the incumbent. Everybody wants to be the disrupter. But if
you’re the incumbent now, like I already have the client base. Then for
you, understanding the habit is important as well. Because you need to amp
it up. Apple, all my songs are in iTunes.

Bob: The switch is so big.

Ervin: The switch to something else is so big. Like, are you kidding?
I’m not going to have iTunes anymore? That’s crazy?

Chris: How do you anchor people?

Ervin: Exactly. So, how do you anchor people, how do you build up? And
true enough, certain companies out stand up and say “Listen, if you want to
use someone else’s product, take all your stuff and go.” That’s very
honorable. But if you’re the incumbent and you’re not to that level of
progression and you’re thinking of how can I trap people into my product?
Then you need to understand the habit. What are they trying to do to stay
in their habit? And to help them not switch.

Bob: There’s a delicate line that you’re going to walk. As many as Apple
is the closed system and this gets back to his conversations between Jobs
and Christensen and everything. But Apple is the closed system. But they
made it closed and then they were able to add value year over year. So, as
iTunes is the hub of the spoke, you’re okay with me keeping your music
prisoner because I’m providing you with all these new, nifty devices. But,
if you’re literally just going to close the gates and say “I have your data
and you can’t leave,” then it gets back to Bob’s consumption thing. You’ll
get a revolt. People will just come out and say…so you can rely on habit
if you’re doing everything else right. I can build habit but I can’t use it
as a stick.

Ervin: You’re exactly right, but let’s talk about the contrast to
that. When I was with my switch from Windows to Mac, I loved Windows 7. I
was a huge Windows 7 fanatic.

Bob: Yes, you were.

Ervin: But when Windows 8 came out and everybody started migrating
over, I’m like “All right. I know how Microsoft does. Sooner or later,
they’re not going to support Windows 7. All the new software is going to be
about Windows 8.” So, I went out and bought a Windows 8 laptop.
Touchscreen, it was silver, it was beautiful.

Bob: It was gorgeous.

Ervin: It was gorgeous, but it was so hard to use. So, I was like
“Shoot. I have nothing left, now. I’m a man without a country. I can’t use
Windows 8 because it’s too hard.”

Bob: And everybody else here was using a Mac.

Ervin: Everybody else here was using a Mac. But at this point though,
because the habit was going for me, I’d no longer have Windows 7 to go back
to.

Bob: Now, it actually opened up a whole window.

Ervin: I’ll try something different now. So, now, I’m on a Mac.

Chris: Wow. So, it’s not to hate on Windows and love on Apple, that
type of thing. So, you’re talking about, there’s literally one moment at
which you were unhooked from that habit. Where it’s like, things have
gotten bad enough where I just need to come to realization, that, I can’t,
what are the words? I can’t support this habit or this habit will not allow
me to make any progress. Because all I can do is go back. You weren’t going
back to Windows 7 because that’s awkward.

Ervin: It was awkward, I couldn’t use it. And I knew that there was no
future in it. They gave me no way to support my habit. So, at this point,
for the worst metaphor ever, I’m looking for a new dealer. And so, at this
point, I’m at Mac’s door. And it’s like “Sure. You know what? I can’t go
home. I guess we’ll give you a try now.”

Bob: I can’t go backwards. Because you know what? They’re not going to
support me. Eventually, they’re not going to be able to support me. So, I
was just thinking about it. The thing that’s interesting is, I’m a big
iTunes user and that kind of stuff. And I used to buy CD’s, I downloaded
them all, I’ve got 10,000 songs in my iTunes now, because, I forget what
it’s called, Match. So, there’s no CD stores left anymore, so I go to
iTunes. But what I’m finding is, over the last six months, I haven’t bought
music. And what I’ve been doing is, been switching over to Pandora. It went
from the notion of “Do I need to own the music”? to “I just want to listen
to the music.” And so, what happens is, I probably have 200 stations on
Pandora. Because I have very different eclectic music tastes. But the
notion is that, where before, it’s actually harder for me to find music in
iTunes than it is for me to find on Pandora by picking the Pandora thing.
So, this whole notion of “I always want to own my music. This is my music.”
And now, it’s to the point of “No, I owe my moods around what music I want
to listen to.” And to be honest, it’s stopped my habit of buying iTunes
music. The thing is, I do buy TV shows and some other things, still. But
the notion is that, you could say I was a music addict. I was buying 6, 10,
15 albums a month. The thing that was interesting is I could never find
myself buying a song. My habit was buying a CD. And when you’d bought a CD,
you’d buy a CD to buy a song. And somewhere in that CD, you’d find three
other songs you liked but you never knew. So, it’s like “You know what?
I’ll buy the whole CD.” Now, it’s to the point where I let Pandora help me
shop. It helps shape up what I want to do. And so, there are certain songs
that I’ll hear where it’s like “This is a good gear-up song. This is a good
song when I’m working out.” And I actually buy it on iTunes. And I’ve
probably bought a song or two on iTunes because I want to put the song in a
situation. But for my general listening purposes, I’ve literally probably
abandoned iTunes for Pandora.

Chris: It’s interesting you say that. So, we’re wrapping down, not to
totally digress, but we’re wrapping down the wine project right now which I
know has been a huge success. So, tons of good feedback from, almost
everybody that’s done interviews.

Bob: That was crazy, by the way.

Chris: Which is fantastic. We’re going to pick the next topic. We’re
going to pick multiple topics. We’re kind of up in the air. But I think the
music space may be very interesting. Because I think the delivery and the
fact that we have these web radio alternatives. So, I’m similar to you.
I’ve gone totally to streaming Internet radio like Pandora. And I will
literally, if I have an itch to hear a song, I will pay the 99 cents. Like
getting in my car on the drive home from the office today. If I feel like,
not that I’m spending thousands of dollars of month, but I’ll buy the song
to play right now. And it’s not the fact that I’ll own it for later. But
it’s like “I really want to hear this song right now and 99 cents is not
that big of a deal. It’s 99 cents, I’ll spend $5 in gas on the way home.”
But it’s not the ownership, it’s just the access.

Bob: But I think, in the beginning. Because it was coming from records to
CD’s to “Hey, you own a CD and it’s physical.” So, I think it gets to the
progression of how jobs change. And so, the notion is, because now, it’s
virtual and of course, you own it. The thing is is that you don’t own
anything physical. And so, the notion of now, you couldn’t have taken the
leap from CD’s to Pandora. That’s where everybody else went. They went to a
subscription-type service. But iTunes actually has enabled it to make the
subscription service. So, literally, I’ve gotten rid of my satellite radio.
There’s a whole bunch of thing that I’ve fired, basically, because I’ve got
Pandora. To be honest, music for me is about my mood. It’s about helping me
either get into a mood or get out of a mood and it’s the transition. So,
consumption of music is a really interesting thing.

Chris: So, we might the do the project. The other thing about it, I’m
working on a couple of other projects. As much as we say we don’t like to
segment using demographic information, the fact of the matter is it applies
to situations. So, one of these things and I’m stating the obvious for
people that follow media and this whole movement. But it’s like, we’re
going to come upon a generation very quickly. Your kids, who have never
physically owned media. Everything exists on the device, everything’s on
the cloud, why would I buy a song when it streams all the time? Because
I’ve never held a record, held a CD, held a tape.

Bob: They’ve never had the idea of ownership. Because at the end of the
day, they’re using my account. So, my kids have no concept of ownership.

Chris: So, they’ll end up buying a song on their own credit card at
one point. What differences in ownership, as opposed to just paying a
subscription to an Internet radio. It comes down to access and timing and
that sort of thing. So, I think that will change.

Bob: So, the imagery that comes to mind, then. It’s very interesting. It’s
like I’m dating myself. But it’s the notion of having a physical, vinyl
album. And having to treat it with such care. Because if you scratched it
and it skipped. When you owned a record and you scratched it or broke, my
one album is the original Boston album. I remember scratching it and having
to literally ride my bike to go get…so that’s the notion of me of owning
music.

Chris: You possess it.

Bob: It’s part of me. And when it goes away, it’s like “Oh, my God. I’ve
gotta have it.” And so, the notion is like “Yeah, you can just buy
another.” It’s this disposability that just changes. So, it’s clearly
generational. I don’t think it’s demographic data. I think it’s the fact
that if you just look at the accumulation of experiences, the kids today
are coming from a different perspective. That they have no notion of what
it’s like to scratch an album and ruin something and have it be precious.
So, it’s not that it’s demographic data. It’s that they don’t have those
experiences.

Chris: The reason that I reason that I caveated to demographic data
is that people will go into it and say “People who are in their sixties and
seventies will buy tapes and young kids will buy iTunes songs.” When I
divide start to divide by age, I don’t want people to grouping consumers
that way. I just want them to think about the impact that, never having
owned physical media might have on future consumption.

Bob: But that’s where it gets back to. That demographics like age might
make the segment. But it’s not the real meaning. The real meaning is they
didn’t have these experiences. And so, it happens to capture it, but they
don’t why it’s captured in it. And so, it’s the causality that’s really
important.

Ervin: So, if you were setting up the screener, you wouldn’t set it up
“Give me your age.” You would ask the question “Have you ever owned
physical media”?

Bob: No, I wouldn’t put in physical media, but a reel to reel, or an 8-
track.

Chris: So, part of it around the screener. Within 100 or within 20,
how many CD’s do you own? How many records do you own? If I was going to
screen, I want to get a feel for, did you live in that era? You’re in
Germany. Somewhere, there, are boxes of albums with jazz. And I want to get
a feel for, how can I bucket you? Were you a collector? Were you an avid CD
buyer? Were you in that tape thing? So, I was born in the late seventies,
everything is a tape. If I’m going to screen, I want to get those buckets.
Or I’ve never bought a CD. It’s like, all right, how do I kind of talk to a
swath of people? So, I’ll say, Ervin, great. The smoker analogy is
fantastic. I think that’s something people can use when they think of how
to describe the energy that goes on in the consumer when they’re affected
by that habit of the present. I think that was really helpful. I think
the Roomba one is another good one. Especially for everyone at the Switch
workshop that can reflect on that. We’ll be back next week. We’ll finally
have Amrita [SP] on the show. Scheduling has been, mostly on our side, it’s
been difficult. But we’re excited to hear what she’s been doing since the
Switch workshop at 37 signals.

Ervin: And also, if you’re interested in being interviewed on one of
these episodes or you’ve come to a Switch workshop and kind of just want
to talk through what your experience has been, reach out to me either via
Twitter or e-mail. And let’s discuss it and see if we can work if we can
work you in.

Bob: What’s your Twitter?

Ervin: Twitter is @ervinfowlkes. E-R-V-I-N F-O-W-L-K-E-S. I need to
shorten that.

Chris: Yep. So, you can hit him up. You can follow me @chriscbs and
bob@bmoesta. M-O-E-S-T-A. We’ll see you in a week.

  • http://justinjackson.ca/ Justin

    Talking about the idea of “owning” digital content: in my business I’ve seen many people *like* the idea of owning digital goods, but only as long as they can download them and store them on their own hard drive.

    Examples:
    PDF eBooks vs blog posts
    MP3s vs podcasts/streaming radio

    • chriscbs

      The download aspect is a really interesting one, and it will be interesting to see how it changes over time. I think ubiquity of internet access will have a huge impact on this.

      Personally, I still download tv shows and movies because I tend to watch them on long flights. Streaming doesn’t work for me.

      Also, do you think the download “feature” mostly impacts the Anxiety quadrant of the forces diagram? “If I buy this, will I have access to it when I need it?”

      It would be interesting to do some interviews and see if it’s primarily a concern around access and timing (Anxiety), or whether it’s more of a deep-seeded need around ownership and self-identity (the magnetism of the new solution isn’t there unless I can download it because if I can’t download it I can’t actually feel like I posses it or that it’s a part of me.).

      • http://justinjackson.ca/ Justin

        There was just a really interesting exchange on Twitter on this subject:

        Hunter Walk: “I pause before buying $5 app I use everyday. Throw down same amount for coffee without hesitation. Weird.”

        Paul Graham (of Ycombinator) replied: “People overvalue physical things. (It’s actually a huge opportunity.)”

        I think this “downloading and storing” of digital files is similar. They feel like if they download a PDF, and store it on their hard drive, that they “own it”. They can use it, print it, retrieve whenever they want.

        I know for myself, I store my “digital products” in a folder like this:
        http://d.pr/i/Siwe

        There’s some “pride” in having this digital library (even though I haven’t read or consumed all of the content in them).