This week we continue to explore how Jobs-to-be-Done and the Lean Startup movement are intertwined. We’re joined by Martin Siniawski, the co-founder of Streema as well as one of our beloved jobs-to-be-done experts, Amrita Chandra from Shape and Sound.
Martin talks about the struggles he is encountering as he works to improve the web and mobile experiences for Streema users. “It’s a big problem.”
He dives into his efforts to prioritize features by looking through the lens of Jobs-to-be-Done: “The solution space is infinite. There are so many possible solutions and things that we could try out, and we needed some way to make sense of it all and start prioritizing them and generating hypothesis.”
The next time you’re listening to radio or music, give some thought to the context. What are you hiring it to do? How would you describe the job that you’re hiring it to do? What else (outside of the audio/media category) could you hire to do the same job?
Show Notes & Links
- Listen to Live Internet Radio on Streema
- Shape & Sound
- Follow Martin on Twitter
- Follow Amrita on Twitter
See the Episode Transcript
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.
Here are your hosts.
Chris: All right, welcome to another edition of Jobs-to-be-Done
Radio. I’m Chris Spiek
and, as always, I’m joined by Bob Moesta and Ervin Fowlkes.
What’s up guys?
Bob: Hey Chris.
Ervin: Hey Chris.
Chris: So, today we’ve got a couple very special guests. We’ve
got Martin Siniawski
Martin: Hey guys.
Chris: What’s up Martin?
Bob: Hey, Martin, man.
Chris: So, traveling all the way from Argentina to learn about
we’re going to talk a little bit about his experience up to date
and what he’s thinking about applying in his internet radio
And we’re also joined by Amrita Chandra, just because we love
Amrita and we get her on as often as we can. And she has some
experience in the streaming audio and internet radio space as
well, so we thought, “Let’s get both you guys on here together
and have a little conversation about Jobs. So welcome, Amrita.
Amrita: Thank you. Nice to be back.
Chris: Martin, give us a little background. I always like to
start, just, how did you
come to find Jobs-to-be-Done and what brought you, I guess, up
to this point?
Martin: So, I’m pretty sure it all started watching, or reading,
something by the guys at
37signals. And then eventually discovering the milkshake, famous
video, which really sparked my attention, got me interested.
That led me on a treasure hunt for as much Jobs-to-be-Done
material that I could find online. I think it pretty much
started maybe four or five months ago. I started digging up all
the articles, listening to all the podcasts, so it feels kind of
surreal to be here now.
Chris: Yes, that’s fantastic. So, why were you looking? Tell us a
little bit about
Streema and what got you to actually start hunting for something
Martin: I’m one of the founders of Streema and I’m currently
spearheading all our
product efforts. Streema is a service that allows you to listen
to all your favorite stations, AM and FM, on air from all over
the world. We have over 60,000 stations and currently working on
improving our product, both on our desktop and mobile offerings.
We’ve done a lot of Lean Startup over the past few, past year
and a half. It’s helped us a lot, but we felt, I still felt
personally that we had something missing. Something missing to
better understand, which were the problems that are users were
having. And it’s like a big problem, right?
We have a lot of users right now, but we were missing a
framework to understand them and to start prioritizing all the
experiments we could be doing. Lean Startup gave us a great way
to prototype, to measure, to iterate, but we were missing the
right tool to start framing the problem and start creating
possible solutions and testing them out.
Chris: So you have a testing methodology, but now it’s like,
“What do we test? How do
we even start to get the insights around the users to figure out
what to setup and what to test?”
Martin: Exactly. It’s like the solution space is infinite. There
are so many possible
solutions and things we could try out, right? And we needed some
way to make sense of it all and start prioritizing them and
generating hypotheses, basically, to use with the Lean Startup
methodologies that we already know to test them out.
Chris: Yes. The brings back, always, that quote that I love from
Clay about, “A
problem creates the space in the brain for a solution to fall
into.” You don’t have a problem, you can look at a bunch of
solutions, you’re not going to figure it out. But you’ve got to
be able to really well define the problem space to figure out
what the right solutions are. So, that’s awesome.
Martin: We’ve gotten to a point where we have a product that has a
really nice amount of
different stations from all over the world that you can listen
to, a really diverse offering. And that works pretty well, when
you want to listen to a station, it generally works.
We support a lot of different platforms. So we’ve gotten to that
point where those basic needs are satisfied and we try to
understand what’s the next step for us, right
There’s a lot of ideas that we have, but we need a good
framework to start understanding our users, and that’s where
Jobs-to-be-Done really sparked my attention because that was the
big problem that I had on my mind.
Chris: You’ve actually met Amrita before. How did you two
connect? Through Twitter
Martin: I listened to her podcast here with you guys. It was crazy
because I had been, I
think I had started listening to the podcasts the past few weeks
before that episode and then that episode came and I was, it
said something like, “Spotify, music, internet radio.” And I was
like, “Oh my God, I’m not alone.”
Amrita: Yes, you guys were the matchmakers. You’re the ones that
introduced us and so
we’ve had a conversation since then. I told Martin that he
should really come up and get the training himself because I
think I’ve obviously gotten a lot out of it myself. So, yes, you
guys should get the credit for actually putting us together.
Chris: And we met your partner.
Chris: Richard, over at Business of Software. He was there and he
actually took the
Jobs-to-be-Done, kind of, mini-session over there and he was
very excited and he was like, “I wish he could have stayed, but
he had to go back.” And so, it’s good to have you here so you
both are going to now have that as a core to help you, kind of,
figure this out. That’s awesome.
Martin: Yes. We’re evangelizing and hopefully with Richard we’ll
lead the process.
Chris: Yes. So, it’s interesting to hear this story because it’s
like I hear it over and over
again, but there’s this sweet spot of people that come to the
workshop and it resonates because it’s always like, “We had some
success, we nailed the basics. We have this functional need that
we’re obviously meeting. Millions of people are using it.
“Now, it’s like I’m in a position as a founder or CEO where I
have a limited number of resources, I’ve got a wheel that’s kind
of turning, but where the hell do I go next? And how do I figure
out if I’m going to invest in something and really go down a
path? How do I make sure that that’s the right path and kind of
check all of that?”
It sounds like you’ve been successful at applying some of the
Lean methodologies. How do you, can you give any advice on how
you think this is going to link up and kind of fuel the Lean
Martin: We think Lean and Lean Startup and all that, it’s like a
great methodology for a,
basically, validating hypotheses and minimizing waste, right?
It’s a great framework for that. And we’ve got, we’ve developed
tools and we got tools into place that help us try ideas,
measure them, and go through the whole learning loop pretty
Where we were needing was a way to generate, the reason with
some, to start narrowing it down, the ideas that seem to make
more sense to test out and to try out, that naturally makes
sense because of the problem s that our users have, right?
I think it’s going to link up really well in defining, in better
defining the problem. And, after having the problem define, or
different problems, that’s outward thinking, right? There are
probably different problems because listening to radio AM and FM
means different things for different people, right? Depending on
the content you listen to.
Maybe we can get more into detail after that. But, so basically
I think Jobs-to-be-Done would really help us to understand which
are the problems, different problems our users have.
We’ll use our existing Lean Startup tools to test solutions for
those problems, or even to test if those problems exist, as
Chris: That’s right, that’s right. I mean, Lean is all about
doing efficiently and
minimizing waste and all those kinds of things, so to me Jobs is
kind of at that core of helping to define what value is and
being able to say, “Here’s what’s important and not important.”
So you can really, kind of, strip back all those other things.
And without it, you end up, to me it gets you down to the core.
Martin: Exactly. And also, the Lean Startup movement, they also
get into detailing in
regards to defining the problem and making sure you understand
it. But it’s, I mean, at least we’ve found it really hard to
adapt that, which is, most of the case studies you see are for
SaaS, for maybe B2B.
So it’s hard to find Lean examples for consumer sides, [??
08:56] like ours which already provide value even if you don’t
sign up for the service, right?
Chris: I guess that’s another interesting aspect of this is that
I think it’s going to be a
great case study for Jobs going forward because you’re applying
and there are lots of situations where it’s been applied to
retail consumer goods and even business to business sales.
But now you’re entering into a space where you need to start by
defining consumption in some meaningful way.
It’s not the completion of a checkout where there’s actually
money transferred, it’s, “How do I get people who are in a
situation and need some type of content to consume in a repeat
fashion over time so that we can actually call them, a user, and
say, ‘We’ve delivered on this job and we can find ways to do it
better, we can find other jobs,’ that sort of thing.”
It feels a bit more nebulous, but it doesn’t make the framework
any less powerful. I think it’s just a great new area to apply
Martin: Right. Well, and again, I kind of look at back as when
money’s not transacting,
it’s really back to the main essence of value, it’s back to
time. When you look at the students or when we did the stuff in
the education market, kids don’t buy lessons, but it’s base on
the time that they actually invest in it and the intensity of
So to me it’s going to allow you to now look at your data in a
really different way by not looking at averages, but trying to
build patterns in that data to say, “Oh, these people listen
this way and this pattern and this frequency.”
They’re doing a job maybe differently than somebody else, and so
it gets back to almost, I’ve been doing a lot of pattern
recognition stuff lately and it’s about, almost like music. They
have different songs that literally you can see those patterns
of how it plays out. It’s pretty cool.
Amrita: I think, also, that there are a lot of parallels between what
Martin is sort of
addressing with Streema and what publishers are dealing with now
where, again, they’ve got their users who are their readers who
are not necessarily paying for the service, but they’re paying
with their time.
And then they’re supporting the business through advertisers or
sponsorships and so I think it’ll be a good case study for other
industries as well, but have more of an ad supported model.
Chris: Yes, yes. I’m excited to dig into it.
Martin: Yes, yes. I’m excited too. I mean, and I personally
struggled and we at
Streema as a company I think we’ve struggles a lot using Lean
and trying to adapt it to our company. And it was kind of
frustrating sometimes in defining the problem space.
One of the famous cries from Lean is get out of the building,
right? Talk to your users. And we tried to do that, but it was
hard to understand what exactly we were looking for, right? And
how to do it and what’s the exact outputs that you’re needing to
Chris: So, what did you try? Can you tell us about those
conversations? Because it s
sounds like you had some talks. Like, how did you go down that
Martin: So, what we tried to do was understanding how were they
using Streema, what
were they using it for, kind of how it fit into their lives. But
I’m not sure we looked hard enough.
Chris: What does that mean? “Looked hard enough?”
Martin: So, we understood , I think we kind of understood what
they used Streema for,
but we didn’t understand that radio at that point was many
different things for the people, right? Maybe it was music,
maybe it was listening to a program that you like in particular,
maybe it’s listening to a sports event, like a soccer match or
So, and those are really different things that fit into lives of
people in a really different way, right? So, maybe would
understand that they were using it in some context or in another
context, but we didn’t quite understand, for example, how they
listened to music, right?
In which context do they listen to music? And understand that we
are competing with other things in that space, right? And not
only with radio stations, for example, or other radio station
listening services. And at the same time we would also do
So it was kind of a weird interview, in some sense, in which we
were getting interesting outputs out of them, but it was like
mixing this course, I guess. So I think know we have a much more
structured approach into what to ask, what to look for, and
what’s the expected outcome of the interviews.
Chris: So we did interviews here yesterday kind of as you were
going through and
learning the framework around the beard trimmer, the sprinkler
system, and the motorcycle helmet, which I guess all very
What was your, give me kind of the most eye opening moment or
biggest takeaway of yesterday. What was the one thing that you
were like, “Wow, I can’t believe that happened?”
Man: You learned all that stuff before, but it’s like what got
cemented for you?
Martin: The amount of emotion that’s present in buying seemingly
mundane things, it’s
pretty impressive. And I include myself, right? I was the beard
trimmer guy, guilty as charged. And it was really impressive to
see my emotions, the emotions of other people when they were
buying other things. And I think it’s something that even if you
listen to it, and I have listened to other interviews on the
podcasts, but when you see it in person and when you see all the
body movements and facial expressions, right? And not only the
voice. It really hits home. And also, being interviewed, it’s
also pretty impressive just understanding helps the process,
right? Of being on the other side, of having to remember things
and recall things and trying to relive the experiences. So that
was pretty impressive. And finally, trying to do an interview
myself and seeing how complicated it is, right? I guess it’s a
matter of practice, but you get to appreciate the, I mean, you
make it look easy, right? But when I was doing it.
Amrita: They do.
Martin: Yes. It’s amazing. But when I was doing it, the amount of
information that you
need to be processing, taking into account, and understanding
where to dig deeper, what’s important, what’s not important.
Chris: Amrita, you’re one of the case studies that we always
throw out, so I’m going to
throw it over to you. How many interviews did you have to do
before you were like, “All right, I got this down or at least
I’m totally comfortable and I know what to expect?”
Amrita: I think probably, I don’t even feel like I’m there, especially
when I watch you
guys. I’m like, “Man, I still have so much more to learn.” But I
would say it was really when I started doing sort of the “real
ones.” I did about ten practice ones with just friends and it’s
always different because you’re with your friends and so you’re
feeling a bit more relaxed.
I would say I probably had to do, it wasn’t that many, but I
would say after the next eight or ten sort of real ones I did
with real customers, then I started to at least become more
comfortable. I was doing mine over the phone, which I know is
kind of a substitute for, it’s sort of a best case substitute
for having to just do it in person, which I always prefer. But,
yes, I would say it probably took me about eight or ten.
Again, it just, it’s one of these things I think you have to
keep doing them. It’s like any other muscle, just keep doing
them to stay comfortable.
Ervin: Amrita, when we were in Business of Software, I think
Kathy Sierra [SP] said
that, “In order to have great practice, you need to start with
one tiny thing.” So, what’s the one tiny thing you think you
think the person should start with? And just do that over and
over and over again so that becomes routine and then start to
build your other skills on top of it.
Amrita: That’s a really hard question.
Chris: We’ll come back to that, We’ll come back to that.
Amrita: I don’t know if it’s, I think part of it is actually learning
to listen and then sort of
think of your, there’s a few questions you can start asking to
prompt people to start talking and I think kind of figuring out
that technique that there are certain sort of two or three kinds
of questions that you can ask that will just get people talking.
I think once you get people talking, then it’s usually easy to
kind of keep them talking, but kind of the first five minutes of
your conversation, it can be a little tricky to figure out where
you start from. And so, once you get those two or three
questions down, I think it makes things easier.
Ervin: I’ve been mentioning this for a long time, but people,
there aren’t many people
who’ve picked up on it so I’m going to just get on the soap box
for a second. There’s this ting I have called the ‘three-foot
rule’ and it drives everybody who works with me crazy.
With the three-foot rule, it means if you come within three feet
of me, I’m allowed to talk to you. And so this notion of
interviewing, the practice that I’ve had is literally, I’ll be
standing in line somewhere and I always start with, “Hello,” or,
“How’s your day going?”
And the next thing you know, it’s like, “Boy, those are nice
shoes. How did you get those shoes?” And the next thing I know I
can do an interview in line in 15 minutes.
So, to me it’s, and it’s this notion that everybody’s like,
“Yes, that’s not me, that’s not me.” You have to realize, it’s
not necessarily me either, it’ me just practicing the craft. And
so this notion of the three-foot rule is just, it’s a slice of
time that I can just get better at what I’m doing.
To me, trying to figure out that three-foot rule, and it’s the
tiniest little thing, but it’s like you said, Amrita. When you
talk with your friends. there’s this level of comfort, but
talking to somebody standing in line at the checkout line. How
do you get an interview in that fast?
You just learn all these little things and so it’s like when we
go to Walmart, I go to the isles and just look. And it’s like
watching somebody like, “I don’t know which one of these to
They tell me about everything they do about why they pick
whatever they pick and it’s like I find the opportunity to
Amrita: Of I see a blog post about that weird guy in Walmart.
Ervin: Yes, sometimes that’s me because it’s like I’m like, and
it’s pretty easy to do
because you just say, “I don’t know how to choose. How do I
choose?” Go to the toothpaste isle and stand there, and you just
wait for somebody to say, and finally somebody will say, “Can I
And it’s like, “I don’t know how to pick this.” And they’re
like, “What do you mean you don’t know how to pick it?” And I’m
like, “I don’t know which one of these to use,” and like, “Which
one do you use?” “Oh I use.” “Well, why do you use that one?”
And you’re done, you got it.
It’s that thing where you just got to be comfortable standing
there and waiting. It’s kind of, it’s almost like it could be a
little TV show just to say how do you do interviews in the
supermarket. It’s kind of fun. So, anyway.
Amrita: You said something that actually, I think is actually a really
important point for
those of us who are still sort of new and kind of getting
practice. And you said that you do a 15 minute interview and I
think one of the things that felt a bit intimidating and can be
intimidating is this idea that all the interviews, to get any
value out of them, you have to do an hour long interview.
I think that what you’re saying is even getting 15 minutes with
somebody is getting you into the practice of asking certain
questions and then if you have time, obviously, it’s great to be
able to do a longer one. But you can still get a lot out of 15
Ervin: Right. And you can start to see little patterns of how to
get things through and so
it’s, again I won’t deny that it’s, there’s an art to it, but at
the same time there’s just these little things that I’m actually
not that conscious of but people pick up and say, “Why are you
doing that?” I’m like, “Oh, because I’m practicing.”
I just think the notion of practice, practice, practice. And
it’s like, my kids will come to me and say they want something
and then they’ll look at me and, “Okay, I don’t want to be
interviewed, dad.” I’m like, “Yes, but I just need to understand
how you chose this.” You know? And so, it’s practice. So, I try
not to be too annoying.
Chris: I’m actually glad you brought that up, Amrita, because I
don’t think that’s ever
been said before. And I think we may have inadvertently focused
on the idea of like, you need 45 minutes to an hour.
But take the time that you need. And the other thing is that if
you’re doing an interview and the story’s just over, don’t feel
like you need to fill the next 45 minutes with kind of nonsense.
It’s just like, “All right, that was a great story.” And move on
to the next thing you’re doing.
Ervin: The other thing is people have that anxiety of that hour,
like, “I can’t talk to
anybody for an hour, I have no idea how to fill the hour.” And
the best is when you look at the time and like, “Yes, we’ve got
one more question.” And you’re like, “Is it up already? Really?”
Most people don’t think they can talk that long or that you can
ask questions that long and I think we’ve had them go as long
as, some people I’ve had two hours. And you’d say there’s
fatigue, but to be honest they’re still pulling memories out and
they’re still connecting dots and that’s like, “Okay.”
Chris: I think that gets back to Martin’s kind of original point,
is that the fact that there’s
so much emotion and so much detail involved even in the smallest
purchases. It just shows that there, I guess, A. that there is
hope for this products, right? If you look at media as a whole,
reading newspapers, listening to the radio, there’s just no
energy in it. How do you innovate off it?
But when you start talking to people and say, “Tell me the last
time you were really frustrated because you couldn’t find what
you wanted to find. Just give me an example of something.” Just
start probing on those, you’ll find areas where the media means
something to them and that’s just a great area to innovate into,
right? There are struggles.
Ervin: What were you most surprised with, Martin?
Martin: Just being in the shoes of the person being interviewed,
that was amazing. The
way you’re able to pull those memories back, right? By asking
the right questions and even asking questions that I wasn’t
expecting, even at the moment. It’s like an interesting
perspective to have when you’re going to be interviewing people,
I think. Being in those shoes, also to understand how it feels,
Ervin: Yes, yes. So we’ve modified some of the way we teach it
now because we
think that actually being interviewed has a lot of value because
at some point some people think it’s about the questions and at
some point when you sit in that chair and you get interviewed,
it’s like, “Okay, I got to remember.”
The important thing is to learn to just shut-up and be quiet
because they’ll be like, you ask a question, I personally have
this problem, and it’s like, “Well, I got to let them think.”
But the thing is sometimes I ask them another question while
they’re still thinking of the other one.
It’s like, “No, I can’t do that.” So, it’s know when silence is
okay. It’s not that they don’t have an answer, it’s like they’re
just connecting the dots. That’s kind of cool.
Amrita: One of the things, too, is just figuring out where to start.
Again, it took me a
little practice and you guys I think did cover this in your
session, but I probably forgot, is just starting with the
purchase, is a great sort of place to start. And then you kind
of work backwards and you might move forwards a little bit, but
it was, it took me a few tries to remember or sort of figure out
where do you start to get that conversation going.
Chris: Yes, and that’s a great, so, for me it’s like if I ask
that question, no matter what
their answer is, I’ll have 20 more questions. If they tell me
they walked into a store, “Did somebody help you? Could you
touch the product? Was it behind glass? What time of day was it?
Were you coming home from work?” I mean, it’s like, you just,
and then it’s like, “No, I actually bought it online.” “Okay,
were you at your kitchen table? Were you at your office?”
You can, no matter what the answer, so I feel like if there’s
one trick, if you just get that question out and then start to
think in your mind, “All right, can I picture them doing, going
through this exercise?” It’s like, no. I have a lot more detail
I have to fill in, right?
Ervin: And it’s classic rules of improv, right? Ask the question,
don’t think of the next
question, listen to the answer, and let the answer drive the
next question. So it’s people are trying to cheat by saying,
“All right, now I got five questions.” It’s like, “What’s the
right one to ask? I’m going to ask this one, okay?”
Stop and listen, now form the next question because at some
point you have all these questions in your head, but the notion
is you want to ask the right question that helps pull the story
It’s not about asking all the questions. It’s asking, to be
honest, the least amount of questions to get the most amount of
Amrita: It makes me think of talk show hosts. You know, talk show, like
Ervin: Like Chris, Chris is a great talk show host. He’s the
host, the host with the most.
Amrita: You have your cue cards just in case you need them, but you
usually you end up
just, and again this kind of contradicts what I said maybe 15
minutes ago because I did feel at the beginning that I needed to
not just get too lost in listening to what they were saying
because I have to remember to find where in the story to get
them to kind of talk more.
After a while I think it does become a lot more intuitive. You
don’t, like I don’t write questions down now, I just kind of
listen and it goes from there.
Martin: Getting back to the whole interviewing and getting
interviewed, I think that’s an
interesting, maybe, takeaway. Like, make sure that the people
who are going to be doing interviews for a product, at least
they get interviewed themselves on a product they got, right?
That’s something interesting to have in their belt as an
experience. They probably do their job more effectively if they
Ervin: Yes. I think it’s important because a couple things.
They’ll say why they bought
it and then all the sudden they’ll hear the same story and they
go, “Yes, that’s not really why you bought it. To be honest, I’m
not sure I bought it. I think my wife bought it. And I just got
conned into buying in.”
So it’s one of those things where I think it’s really good to be
able to help them understand what they’re trying to get to.
Great point, great point.
Chris: So it’s one of the things that we’ve, so we’re always
changing up the workshop
and kind of trying to innovate, right? So one of the things we
did in the last few workshops that we held was instead of doing
the group practice at the end of the day, we’re doing one on
ones and we’re breaking our rules around having two people
interview and one person tell the story.
We’re breaking them into pairs, having one person interview and
then having that person get interviewed. And the feedback we’ve
gotten is tremendous because as much as people feel like they
have to practice the interview technique, what most people come
away talking about is like, “Man, getting interviewed is just a
Ervin: They enjoy it. The thing is they think that they would
hate it, but once you do it
it’s actually kind of fun.
Martin: Yes, you don’t want it to end.
Chris: Just keep talking about beard trimmers. All day, all day.
Ervin: The best about your interview was the fact is that he
bought it and is like,
“Okay.” And it has all this things and then the best was the,
“So they give me these different blades and they have 12
millimeters, 10 millimeter. What does that mean? What am I
supposed to do? How does that translate? I just want the full
beard. I don’t, at 12 millimeters, what does that mean?”
Chris: I don’t know what a 12 millimeter whisker looks like.
Ervin: Whether it’s going to make me look the way I want it to
do. I I start to low I can’t
go back, it’s all this level of confusion and anxiety of you
finally say I want it and you get it and then I don’t know how
to work it. It was just awesome.
Chris: I guess, Martin, you’re a software engineer, you’re
running the technology set.
What are you going to go do? Because I feel like some people
that learn this are like, “This is for other people. Other
people need to talk to the consumer. Other people need to bring
me the insight.” What’s the next step? What do you envision kind
of going and doing?
Martin: I’m going to go home and drive everyone crazy, basically.
So, we’ve been talking
about Jobs-to-be-Done for a while now, I’m trying to share what
I’ve been reading, what I’ve been learning.
I think after this it’s just time to start interviewing, That’s
the next step and that’s the next milestone for us. So, get on
the phone or if we can do it in person even better, but it might
be hard, with at least ten of our users and start talking to
them and see what happens.
I think that’s the next milestone and we’ll probably get some
enlightening things out of that and I think we’ll take it from
Chris: I know you can’t share the output, Amrita, or the
confidential stuff, but
do you have any tips for him on the media side of things that we
haven’t already touched on?
Amrita: I think probably one of the hardest things is figuring out, if
you have millions of
users, is how do you choose the right ones to talk to? And so
one of the things that we learned sort of, again, the hard way I
think, I went to do a bunch of interviews, maybe 10 or 12.
We didn’t really segment, we just took a slice of our customer
database and went and talked to those people and very quickly we
realized that there were two distinct groups. And so we went
back and kind of dove deeper into each of those groups.
I would say given your product, you have lots of users. Doing
some planning ahead of time to think about who are the right
ones or who are the right groups? And maybe if you can’t figure
that out, you might be able to through usage statistics or other
I found that really helpful, is, again, looking backwards
thinking, “Oh yes, I probably, we probably couldn’t have done
that.” We didn’t get that far before we figured that out.
Ervin: I’m going to be the counter-point to that because I think
the fact of just taking the
ten people and not knowing, but just getting the stories and
interviews out, you learn enough to kind of say, “All right,
Now there’s at least two groups here.”
I mean, I think is sometimes pre-thinking it too much, you end
up skewing it a little bit and so you can do it either way. But
for me I always liked to at least have two or three practice, or
four, practice interviews with just anybody about the topic.
Bob: Do you think, Amrita, do you think that there would have been
an actual way
you could have gotten to those segments before you did the ten
interviews? Like, if you put yourself back in time before you
did the first recruit, was there something that you could have
done, or is it only in hindsight that those groups break apart?
Amrita: We did have different plans. So that would have been the most
natural place for
us to start. I love that Bob is actually telling me I wasn’t
wrong, so I’m going to go back and say, “Okay, maybe I did it
right the first time.” We didn’t assume that people were going
to different based on price plan. We just went and interviewed
10 or 12 people.
We did find out later that there were some differences. And even
within one plan we found there were a couple of different
segments. But I guess it just comes back to, do you find that
out through your first set of interviews or do you hone in on a
particular group ahead of time.
Bob: Yes, that’s why I’m a big fan of, “Let’s do four, five, ten
interviews, take a step
back, take some learning, figure out what we do. And all right,
who’s the next five or ten?”
My thing is most people don’t realize in the end you’re going to
have to constantly be interviewing people, there’s not like,
“Okay, I’m going to stop.” And most people say they think of
them as big projects, “All right, I’m going to interview 50
people, and then I’m going to look.”
My thing is in interview ten people a time, learn some stuff, go
prototype, do another ten interviews, and just continuously
design it into the way you learn. When we were at the Home
Builder, we interviewed three people every week who moved into
one of our houses.
It was either me, or Greg, and it would be one other person from
the company, and we’d just go. And by the end of the year we had
150 interviews of all this data to be able to look at and cut,
it helped us innovate so much better and I think the biggest
advantage is it helped us understand how the market changed from
when we started doing it to the end of the business.
It was very different value systems because the economy had
tanked and people were doing a lot of different things and it
kept us so up to speed on what was going on.
I think doing some and taking back, the Lean thing, right? Doing
small things, getting them efficient, doing the next thing. Just
keep them small as opposed to trying to do a lot of interviews
Martin: That’s really great advice from all of you for our next
Chris: Awesome. Amrita, give us just like two minutes on what
you’re up to. I know
you’re launching the Toronto Meetup Group and you’ve got some
other new stuff going on. What’s new in Toronto?
Amrita: Yes, so I’m really, we found out through Twitter that there was
a bunch of us
here who follow Jobs-to-be-Done, a bunch of us have gone to the
Switch Workshops and it just felt, it was just kind of this
organic thing that happened. I think you introduced me,
actually, to the guy in New York, Dave, who runs the New York
Jobs-to-be-Done Group and works at Meet-ups.
We’re having our first meet-up on November 20th and you can go
to meetup.com and find us through the Toronto Jobs-to-be-Done
Meet-up Group. So, looking forward to that because some of us,
there are some people who are looking for more ways to do
There are a couple of us that have projects coming up where
we’re happy to kind of be guinea pig and sort of lift the covers
a bit to show people what we’re doing from start to finish.
We’re going to use ourselves as a case study with the group.
Otherwise I’m helping start-ups with two big things, getting
more customers and keeping their customers, and they’re
obviously interrelated. I’m excited to be working with some
great companies, both in Toronto as well as in the States.
Bob: What’s the name of the new company? Your company?
Amrita: I’m a one-woman shop, it’s called Shape and Sound, so shape and
I’m also starting like a monthly Google Hangout, there are a lot
of start-up marketers who I think just need a little bit of
advice, they need a peer group to talk to.
I was getting so many similar questions, I said, “Why don’t we
all just do a call together once a month.” So, I’m going to put
that together shortly, trying to do one before the holidays.
Chris: Fantastic. So, I guess a couple of things. If you’re
listening to this and you’re in
Toronto, if you miss the November meetup, get to the next one,
overcome your anxiety. There’s no excuse not to go and do some
practice interviews because that’s the key to everything. And
then also one of our, kind of, tasks going forward is to try to
get some of these meetup groups started in other major cities.
Martin, we’re sending back to Buenos Aires with a task of
talking to other people that have an interest in Jobs-to-be-Done
and Lean and that sort of thing, to try to get the meetup
started down there. If you’re in another city and you’re
thinking about getting a group together, send us a tweet or
reach out and we’ll do everything we can to kind of help you
fuel that and send people your way.
Bob: I can see us kind of morphing how we do the Switch Workshops,
where we’ll go
to Toronto and they’ll either have a meetup and then we’ll do
the workshop or we’ll do the workshop and then do the meetup and
so we can kind of do a traveling roadshow to kind of support the
different meetups that are going on. I think it’ll make it, I
think, easier for us and also build that support network locally
for people. So I think it’s a really great thing.
Amrita: Yes, we’re excited.
Chris: Yes, cool.
Martin: Yes, I’m really looking forward to getting the ball
rolling in Buenos Aires. I
think this is really useful material and, at least for example
in the consumer space, I felt that this was like the missing
piece of the puzzle for us.
I’ve been sharing it with people that I know, other start-ups,
and just because I’m excited about it and I found it really
useful. So, I’m pretty excited to see if we can get some people
in BA talking about it.
Chris: What we’d like to do is basically as you do some
interviews, maybe have you
come back on and tell us kind of what you’re learning and then
do some stuff and some more interviews and maybe we can just
kind of have almost a case study of you and kind of the
progression of, “Hey, I kind of knew about it. I got trained.”
We can see your progression.
Martin: That’d be great.
Chris: Fantastic. So, thanks for being on. You can follow both of
these guys on Twitter.
Martin is msinia and Amrita Chandra, @amaritachandra, A-M-R-I-T-
A-C-H-A-N-D-R-A. Follow the #JTBD for more information and we’ll
talk to you soon.