This episode of Jobs-to-be-Done radio kicks off with the introduction of an exciting new project that everyone can be involved in: Uncovering the Wine Jobs-to-be-Done.
We also talk about a project that we’re doing for AlesyaBags.com to understand the job-dimensions that surround the purchase of high-end women’s’ laptop bag.
Finally we introduce Forces Friday, a new regular segment that we’ll feature during the first Friday of the next four months. During each segment, we’ll break down one of the Four Forces of Progress (Push, Pull, Anxiety of the New Solution, and Habit of the Present).
Show Notes & Links
Here is a list of items referenced in this episode:
Intro: 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: Welcome back. We’re here for our latest edition. We’ve got a lot to
talk about. I’m here, as always, with my partner, Bob Moesta.
Bob: Hey! What’s up?
Chris: And I’m also joined today by Ervin Fowlkes, a new addition to the Re-
Ervin: Hey, guys.
Chris: So let’s dive right in. I want to start by talking about something
that I’m really excited about. We’re starting a project around the Jobs-To-
Be-Done that wine is hired to do. As you know, if you’ve been following the
radio show we always have a problem with confidentiality.
We get hired as consultants to go in, and do projects for corporations, and
it’s hard for us to talk about. So that leads to a lot of challenges around
training people for Jobs-To-Be-Done and talking about case studies and that
sort of thing.
So we turned the whole thing on its head, and essentially what we’re doing
is, we’ve been tweeting recently, we’ve been putting things on our LinkedIn
group and on Cora and really pushing the word out to get people who buy and
drink wine to take a survey online.
Essentially, what we’re doing is we’re building up a database of wine
consumers that we can conduct Jobs-To-Be-Done interviews with. So what’s
going to happen is we have a decent-sized database of consumers right now.
We’re going to go through and pick out some good ones.
We’re going to do a couple interviews and we’re going to invite listeners
of this show, people that have attended the Switch workshop, anybody that’s
really in this Jobs-To-Be-Done space with us, to conduct some consumer
interviews to practice with people around wine.
Bob: To practice.
Chris: I think the reason that I’m so excited about it and the reason it’s
so cool is that it’s typically outside of people’s normal space. So if you
work for a software company, and you’re getting used to doing this, jump
over and talk to people about wine. It’ll be so different than the stories
that you normally hear and you can really hone your craft.
Bob: Right, and to be honest, be interviewed. So even if you’re in part of
the group or whatever and you drink wine, learn from each other. So the
whole thing is we’re trying to build a forum in which – where people can
practice and people can be interviewed, and see what it’s like to be on the
other side of the table. It’s just trying to build more interaction,
collaboration, engagement with the community, and then we’re going to
publish a report of some sort, I believe, for it. Is that correct?
Bob: Just to show how we’d summarize it and that kind of stuff.
Chris: So we think that that’s going to have value on a couple of different
aspects. One is, obviously, if you’re in the wine industry that’s going to
be valuable to you, because you’re going to see essentially, a full-blown
analysis of why people are shopping and buying wine. On the other side if
you’re a Jobs-To-Be-Done practitioner, if you’ve been to the Switch
workshop or something like that, you can actually see how it might not be
the perfect way, but it’s how we generate reports, and say this is how we
talk about findings that come out of Jobs-To-Be-Done research.
Bob: The third, if you’re a wine drinker basically you can actually relate
to the different segments that we’ll talk about. That’ll come out of it to
say, “Hey, am I given this as a gift? Well, here’s a way to think about it,
and help you actually make better decisions.” So ultimately, I’ve always
had the wish to take Jobs-To-Be-Done to help consumers be better consumers,
so maybe we can get there.
Ervin: So if they want to sign up what do they do?
Chris: Yeah, so if you go to Jobs-To-Be-Done.org right now, the first thing
you’ll see there on the homepage is a quick summary and a link to our page
that describes this project. If you’re a Jobs-To-Be-Done practitioner, I’d
say kind of no matter what you’re skill level is, if you have a basic
understanding of how we conduct interviews, you can sign up by preordering
the final report.
So we’ve got it set as a $99 price point for the preorder. I’m thinking the
final report will be somewhere around $399-499. It’s a good deal. The basis
of this is we’ve got costs going into this. So anybody that gets
interviewed is going to get basically a book, which is the simple guide to
the world of wine and we’re fronting the cost on that.
We’re kind of setting this whole thing up, so we need to at least be able
to cover the cost of orchestrating this thing, so your $99 goes to cover
that. And in exchange for that, we’ll set up four consumer interviews for,
so we’ll match you up with four wine drinkers that you can actually talk
If you’re a consumer or you’re in the wine industry, take the survey
yourself. So, on that same page you’ll see a link to the survey, and then
also pass that around. If you’re a sommelier or you’re in the wine industry
send that survey link around. If 10 people fill out the survey and say that
you referred them, well we’ll get you the final report at the preordered
price, which is obviously going to be valuable to you.
Ervin: Yeah, very cool.
Chris: Great, so that’s super exciting. That’s the first thing I wanted to
talk about. The second thing is that we’re doing some research for this
fantastic company out of South Carolina called Alesya Bags. It’s a weird
spelling. It’s www.alesyabags.com. The way this came about is I’ve actually
known Alesya for a long time. She was Director of Marketing at a company in
We worked together a long time back. She left that job and started a
business of her own, essentially making high-end laptop bags for female
executives. So you can picture a bag that fits your laptop and also acts as
a purse, and is kind of that all-in-one bag, so she’s filling that void.
So we approached her and basically presented the same problem to her and
said, “We need stories that we can talk about. Why don’t you let us do some
interviews with your consumers? You’ll get a wealth of information about
how they buy, and we’ll have some stories to talk about.”
So you can expect to hear us refer to some of those interviews in upcoming
episodes. It’s been really exciting. There’s a ton of emotion when it comes
to buying these bags and switching, as we say.
Bob: Well, and the notion here is that we can have a case study, that we
can have something to talk about, so the way we’ve negotiated is to help on
the training side of things.
Chris: We can share it.
Bob: We can share it, so that’s the real thing, is that there are certain
markets that we haven’t been in that we can, at least go do some
interviews, and get some content, because again we’ve got more and more
demand for people to say, “Boy, can I do an interview? Can I listen to an
So that’s what we’re trying to make sure we get, so we’re recording them
all and kind of incorporating them into the unit-made course that we’re
working on and some other things. It’s very exciting.
Ervin: I have to say, doing these interviews has been amazing. It just
completely blows my mind the tradeoffs people will make to bring a product
into their life. I guess it’s the thing I really love about Jobs-To-Be-Done
is when you actually sit down and talk to a consumer about why they bought
something, all the stuff they want to give you, just completely overwhelms
you. It’s just amazing. I love the entire process of that part.
Bob: It gets back to, it’s what happens. So you’re not trying to ask them
what they want to happen. It’s what really happened. The second thing is
the tradeoffs is that we never really, in the research world it seems, that
nobody ever goes for the tradeoffs and the thing is as a developer, being
in the nitty-gritty of everything it’s like, “OK, do I upgrade the zippers?
Do I add another pocket?” All those little tradeoffs, and you realize that
when you hear the interviews, you know how to make those tradeoffs, because
the consumer actually tells you, “Yeah, I was willing to go with this
because… and even though it didn’t have this, this and this.” So it’s
those tradeoffs that become the ultimate value mechanisms that are really,
really important, especially when you’re talking about new line extensions,
new products, etc.
Chris: So we’ll tell you a quick story around one of the interviews we did.
This woman had a, I don’t give away the whole story, she had a trip coming
up, where she was going on a long trip and she saw this trip coming a
couple months away, and she told us the story of buying bags online and
And then finally she got to this moment where she was like, “I had a month
to go to my trip and I looked at the calendar, and two of the weekends were
occupied, like we had things going on. So I literally had two weekends,
between now and the time that I was leaving, to get this bag locked,” and
you could see the clock just ticking in her head.
She goes through the process of going to the store and buying this bag with
a pink liner. She was so explicit with us like, “I didn’t know what to do.
I never liked pink.” I’d say she was a fashionista. I mean she’s very up on
fashion. She’s shopping with her best friend, they’re constantly comparing,
and not one-upping, but there’s this game that goes on.
And it’s like, “Never thought about pink, never liked pink, no pink in my
wardrobe.” Then she’s reflecting on this and she’s like, “I kind of like
pink now,” because it was like all the push of this trip got her to the
moment of like, “Yeah, it’s the inside of the bag. I can make the
And she actually talked about, “I’m standing there in the store. Nobody’s
going to see the inside.” She’s like rationalizing it all. Then she went
back and tells this story, “I like green. I was looking for a bag with a
green inside color.” But it’s that tradeoff in the moment, where she had so
much anxiety around having to go on the trip, without making a decision
that it was like the internal bag color was the first thing to go, and she
just worked the whole thing out in her head.
Bob: Right, and so if you would have asked her going into it, “Oh, there’s
no way, I would have picked pink. There’s no way.” And all of a sudden it’s
like, “Yeah, gave up on that, gave up on this.” To me, those are the
tradeoffs where, as developers you end up agonizing over trying to make
some of those decisions, and the reality is when you understand when
they’re willing to make those tradeoffs, we don’t need to spend so much
money making 15 different bag interiors, right?
Bob: So that’s really one of those things where it’s like. . .
Chris: And you don’t want to make the decision off of one interview. We
Bob: Of course not.
Chris: You want to do the analysis, but it was a great tradeoff story,
because she was so articulate around it. So we’re having a lot of fun with
that. Today, we want to introduce a new concept for Jobs-To-Be-Done Radio,
which is something that we’re going to call Forces Fridays. So for the next
four Fridays, if we’re diligent enough, we’re going to outline one force
each Friday and really do a deep dive into it.
Then at the end of this on the fifth Friday, we’re going to dive in and
basically, pull the whole thing together and just talk about how they
interrelate. So for this first Forces Friday we’re going to talk about the
force of push.
I think the way that we’ll tee this up is talking about another interview
that we did for Alesya Bags and essentially, talk about the moment that led
up to her starting to think about her current situation, and how she
articulated this force of push. Essentially, what we had was a woman who
had been selected out of a large group to go and receive leadership
training in her organization.
And she could talk about how receiving the leadership training was like a
path to the top. Not only was it important for her to be picked out of a
group of 200 or 600 or whatever it was, but it was like people that go to
this, essentially are fast-tracked, so it was this huge moment.
What we heard was it was like she was called into her boss’ office. He gave
her the news, she had all this excitement, and then not only did the clock
start ticking, but she started thinking about packing for it. It was a lot,
it was like three weeks. “So I’m going to be out of town for three weeks.
First of all, I’ve got to figure out how do I pack all this stuff for a
three week trip? And second, do I have to carry a purse, a laptop bag, a
It was like she could start to think about, not only the tradeoffs she
would have to make, but the progress that she was going to have to make in
purchasing this bag, so she could start to outline that.
Ervin: So before we jump into it though, can you guys give me for anybody
else that’s new like I am, even though I’ve been here for a minute, but the
idea of can I get the master spec, unabridged dictionary version of what
Bob: So again, the notion of the forces is really just kind of come
together, as a simplified way of looking at what causes people to tip,
right? The push notion is literally, the gesture I make is I put my hands
close to me, and like somebody’s pushing me off the end of a diving board
So to me, you can see people being pushed down a path, and that there’s
something around them that’s pushing them to say, “I need to do better.” So
the whole notion is that it gets back to progress, and that we’re all
trying to make progress at some point in time, and that what we choose to
make progress on, kind of changes daily, hourly and minute by minute. Like,
“I need to make more progress on this work. I need a better way to pack
when I’m going on a trip.”
So at some point we’re switching, because we want to do better. But the
push is really what I always say is about 80/20%, I’m a done in guy, and so
it gets back to 80/20%. Eighty percent of the push is negative. It’s
frustration. It’s something about the compelling part of the moment that
says, “This is not going to work anymore.” So to me, that push is really of
a nature, of I’m being pushed or I’m, not usually pulled on, I’m being
pushed down a path, and so to me it’s frustration and anxiety.
Chris: It always works in conjunction, so push, pull, anxiety of the new
solution, and habit of the present are all kind of working at the same
time, so it’s not that you will see a completely negative, emotional moment
in the consumer’s story. It won’t be like, “Ah, frustration,” but this one
force, the push force tends to be of that negative nature.
Bob: That’s right and the thing is it can be ignited by something positive.
So in the story we talked about earlier where the girl basically got a
promotion, and she was going off to a new place and the aspect is that,
boy, she went and bought a new bag. But the reality is like …
Chris: She was set in motion by something extremely positive.
Bob: But the reality is that what she actually bought it for was the fact
that she didn’t feel she played the role, until the negative part is “I
need to step up my game. I need to look like the role or the part.”
Ervin: All right, so which one’s the push? Is it the thing that kicked her
off or is the, “I need to look better for the part”?
Bob: It’s both.
Chris: Well, the better for the part could also be the travel. There’s
anxiety around, “I have to take these steps. I have to go on this trip, and
what I have right now, my current bag my current system of traveling is not
going to work in this.” So there’s fear around that future state.
Bob: Right, and so it gets back to the notion there is no root push. It’s a
nesting of a whole bunch of things, so I think of a cause and effect
diagram, and there’s all these different things kind of contributing along
the way that’s saying, “Yeah, I got the promotion. That kind of pushes me a
little like, ‘Hey, I’ve got to do better.'”
And then all of a sudden it’s like “Yeah, I’ve got these trips. Oh my, gosh
that’s pushing me a little bit farther.” So to me, there’s things that are
all these little forces add up into maybe one big force that kind of pushes
them over the edge, but what you’re trying to do is get the roots of it,
kind of the smaller things that are literally what are timing-based. Again,
I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t have the promotion. So if I have the
promotion, that’s one of the triggers that causes the anxiety to start, for
So part of this is digging deep into this situational context, of what was
going on that said, “I needed to change today,” or, “I needed to change
something,” and when did you have that first thought.
It’s about understanding, the moments and the cues and the triggers that
literally keep building, and the way we think about it is it’s almost like
a summation of things. It’s like the building up in your chest of like,
“I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to do this,” and at some point, “All right,
we’ve got to just go.”
So it’s finding all the little nuances, and again, you’re never going to
find all of them, but you want to find the bigger triggers or the bigger
forces that kind of push people along that way to make progress. The thing
to be clear about though, is that without a new solution in mind, all
people do is get frustrated.
So it’s like yeah, the Earth is getting warmer, and we need to all
conserve, and we need to recycle, but the thing is, if you don’t tell me
what to do, all I do is get anxiety about, “This is happening and I don’t
know what to do.”
Chris: “I can’t fix it.”
Bob: And I can’t fix it, so all a push with no pull or no solution, creates
even more anxiety. So to be honest as we’re getting these stories, we’re
working through that timeline, but we’re always trying to understand kind
of almost like it’s a summation, of all the little pushes along the way
that got them to say, “Yep, I’m buying today.”
So it could be like in the housing business, the pushes might start six
months, and so it might be six month accumulation of little things that
have happened that kind of say, “We’ve got to move. We’ve got to move.
We’ve got to move. Holy crap, we’re moving today.”
So when we talk about push, it’s about really pushes, what are the
different little pushes that you’re getting along the way to say, “I’ve got
to do better.”
Chris: So talk about the mattress interview. Because there’s also, I’m a
big fan of kind of mapping things over time, because we always work against
this timeline of shopping and purchase, right? I feel like there’s a – we
can dissect that mattress interview, and there will be spikes.
It’s like waking up in the middle of the night and going down and sitting
at the kitchen table. So there’s this ongoing, “Yeah, my back’s getting
worse. We need to shop.” Then there will be these huge spikes and push of
just like, “This situation is terrible.” There’s pull, because he knows
that there’s a solution out there. He doesn’t know what it is, so it’s just
tons of frustration.
Bob: He doesn’t even know how to decide.
Chris: So part of it is, is that the push actually drives you to shape the
job better. The push is basically taking you down the path to say, “Well,
how do I decide on the different mattresses? I’ve got to do research on
it.” The thing is that usually what you find there are peaks and valleys,
and the pushes, there’s physical pushes, there’s things that actual events
that happen, but usually the things that cause people to buy most often is
It’s an event that’s going to happen, so it’s like if I separate fear and
pain, where fear is really pain in the future, it’s the fact that pain
might be this, where I’ve got this, and then all of the sudden something
happens where it’s like, oh my gosh, it multiplies that fear.
So what you find is most purchases happen on a fear base like, “Oh my God,
this is going to happen. If I don’t do this now . . .” Part of its
rationalizing, part of its these other things, but it’s looking at and
trying to find the emotion tied in those two, that’s really where I look
at; I look at pain and fear here. You also look at fear, in terms of the
anxiety of the new solution, when we talk about that one. But this is pain
and fear of, “If I keep doing what I’m doing, it’s not going to work.”
Bob: So it’s interesting, we want to focus on push here, but I think a lot
of times we see consumption, based around the push kind of starts them off,
and then consumption occurs when anxiety around the new solution goes away
and is minimized. So they’ll talk about, “Yeah, I can return it. I’ve got a
coupon,” or they break that habit of the present, and they’re able to move
on. I don’t want to give people a cheat and say that that always happens,
but a lot of times you see push start them down a path, you see some pull
come in when they figure out this is something that I need to learn more
about, because it’s a solution, and then when you see those negative forces
go away it’s like, “Okay, everything falls into place and I can switch.”
Chris: Right, and again the push usually has nothing to do with the
product, it only has things to do with them.
Chris: Your current situation.
Bob: And your current situation and you and what you believe is, either
going to happen or is happening. It has to do about the current solution or
the current product that they’re using.
Chris: How often do you see time, as a factor related to push?
Bob: To me, I look at in the math world I look at push as a summation. It’s
a lot of little things that kind of accumulate, and so it’s this buildup of
pressure. It’s almost like the pressure is building up and building up, and
building up and then it’s like “Okay, as soon as I find the solution, boom,
I’m there.” But all of the sudden I’ll have a little bit of anxiety about
it, and so it’s that constant building.
What you can find is that you can have a buildup of pressure and if the
pressure gets released, then people don’t end up switching. So there’s a
case of non-consumption where you can find it. So it’s trying to find those
struggling moments where people are like, “Boy, I’ve really got to do
something about this,” and sometimes they don’t. So what you want to do is
figure out what are the things that are relieving the pressure, about the
current solution that maybe you can attack.
Chris: Fantastic. Is there anything more to add?
Bob: I think the thing is that it’s hard to talk about these in isolation.
Chris: Separately, yeah.
Bob: Because it’s almost like I try take the forces diagram and take it
through the timeline, so it’s like push is getting bigger, pull is getting
a little bigger, anxiety goes up and I’m trying to map, so that as we’re
going through the questioning, the push is always one of those things where
I’m trying to make sure I can accumulate all the words, that somebody says
in the interview to kind of say, “Here are the five things that kind of
triggered them, to kind of get to that breaking point.” Because to be
honest, no push, no switch.
Ervin: Yep, okay.
Bob: My belief is that, at some point in time it’s very rare do you find a
situation, now again, people might say it in a positive context, but the
notion is that it’s usually a negative context and it’s usually a push. My
thinking is, as much as people might say, “Oh, I love this product. Oh,
this is a great product,” if there’s no push behind it, they’re not going
to switch. It’s just not going to happen. That’s the other side. Anything
else you want to add?
Chris: Got it. I think that’s fantastic. So I think before we wrap up, you
had something that you wanted to talk about, maybe get some user
involvement or listener involvement?
Bob: Yeah, so you know, I’m always thinking.
Chris: Stop that.
Bob: So one of the topics that I’m really kind of fascinated with right now
is the moment of choice in a switch, sets the expectations for performance
and satisfaction. Anything prior to that it’s like it’s playing around, but
once you put the money down and you say, “I’m buying it for this,” you’ve
made the tradeoffs. “I’m willing to give up the pink lining, because I know
it’s going to fit me this way.” You still expect the lining to last.
Chris: To function, yeah.
Bob: But the reality is that I’m not going to complain about the pink
Chris: And I know at that point, I’m not buying it to show off the inside.
I’ve changed that expectation.
Bob: Exactly, and so it’s taking that expectation and then mapping it
against consumption, so we can actually have true metrics of satisfaction,
and then relate it back to the Kano model. So it gets back to performance
quality, excitement quality, basic quality, and be able to understand how
well things, the tradeoffs that people are trying to make.
Because the real power of Jobs-To-Be-Done is that gets back to in the
development side of the world, when I have to make tradeoffs between speed
and functionality for example or like in the mobile app side do I have to
have it do everything that the other one is. And if I understand the jobs I
can actually say, “You know what? I don’t need to have these other
functionality, because speed is more important in the moment, than it is
for having full functionality in the moment.”
So to me, it gets back to being able to understand those expectations,
translate them into functional requirements and tradeoffs to make explicit,
and so I’m in the midst of kind of framing that out and using things like
QFD and Kano model, and mechanisms of value and really trying to think
through some of the math, to help make tradeoffs more explicit by the
interviews that we do.
Chris: In order to do that, you essentially need complete linked datasets,
around purchase and that expectation of value and then long-term
Bob: Initial consumption, and then basically repeat consumption, and then
if they switch, they switch, so I want to be able to map it over time to be
able to understand how the job expectation changes. So think of the
interview we did today where she didn’t anticipate the weight issue around
the bag, and then all of the sudden the weight issue said, “Oh, I love the
bag. It does all these things, but it’s just too heavy, so I’m now going to
use it for this, and I’ll only use this for travel.”
So those things about being able to help people understand, because again
that was something she didn’t even anticipate, and so part of it is being
able to understand what are the right levels of tradeoffs we need to be
able to make to increase long-term consumption.
For example one solution you could do to that is make it two bags instead
of one, where I can have one that has everything in it, and one that
basically when I travel, I can put it in each other and I can do something
with it. So it makes it a two-bag system as opposed to a one-bag system,
because it was too heavy when it has everything in it.
Chris: I think we could have some good conversations around this, because
the system gets incredibly complex when you look at it. I mean if you’re
selling CRM, and you’ve got multiple users and multiple buy, I mean you can
have some highly complex systems around it.
Bob: Well again, what we’ve been working on is this whole notion of tiny
tools, and so how do we actually not make it more complicated, but make it
simpler by addressing the right kind of question, at the right moment, so
we can actually help make these tradeoffs more explicit?
Bob: So I’m working on those things, and so anybody who wants to start
working on that with me, tweet to me about it @bmoesta. I’m going to start,
either some kind of closed group around it to do some research around it,
but I want to get down to the math, and like conjoin analysis and different
ways in which to once we know the job, can we actually have people make
tradeoffs or at least map those tradeoffs, so we can understand maybe
different value segments that fit within those jobs.
Chris: So I think the Lincoln Group is probably another great place to
start those conversations.
Bob: Yep, but I just wanted to kind of bring that up. Ryan Singer and I
have, and I think you, have been kind of exchanging things on that space.
We did some analysis on what do you call it, initial trial data, so that we
could look at some of that.
Chris: The Free-mium model.
Bob: The Free-mium model. So I want to be able to do some of that. So my
thing is I really am looking for people to that this wouldn’t be public
kind of stuff, it’s more about kind of advanced research, that eventually
will figure out a way to do kind of a list of bags, or a wine thing around.
Chris: A bigger study, yeah.
Bob: A bigger study to make it more public, but I’m in the midst of trying
to make it. Because the stuff I’ve been doing for a long time is just
really complicated, and I need to simplify it to increase consumption.
Ervin: So is that open to everybody or do certain skill sets need to apply?
Bob: My thing is I say if you hear this and this sounds like a place where
you want to participate, my thing is I’ll probably figure out a way to do
something online, so we can have an open forum conversation about it.
Be a little bit more explicit about what I’m looking for and then just
gather experience from the field, because you guys out there listening or
you people out there listening are just, you wrestle with this stuff
everyday so to me, that’s what I want to make sure that we’re kind of
collaborating at that level.
So I’m trying to figure out almost like a topic a month, on how to kind of
where to go, and I think that’s one of the places where I think making
those tradeoffs and helping to make the tradeoffs more explicit is going to
help a lot of people not over-engineer things. So if we can come up with a
simple, easier way to take the jobs work, and make those tradeoffs
explicit, it will help development, it’ll help marketing; it’ll help
Chris: Fantastic and I think that’s dead on, so I love it. So we’re
wrapping up today. We’ll be back next week with another episode. Be sure to
go on www.jobstobedone.org and take that wine survey and share it around.