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Applying JTBD to a Product Like Spotify – Amrita Chandra on JTBD Radio

Chris Spiek

amrita-chandraAmrita Chandra from the startup marketing company RocketScope joins us this week on Jobs-to-be-Done Radio.

Tune in to hear Amrita talk about applying JTBD research to the development and marketing of a Spotify-like product.  She also shares some super-helpful tips that she’s picked up since learning how to conduct jobs-to-be-done interviews (like why you don’t want to schedule 8 interviews in one day!).

If you’re a fan of Jobs-to-be-Done Radio, be sure to vote for our panel at SxSW! The panel will feature Kyra Aylsworth (from Teehan+Lax), Amrita Chandra, Bob Moesta, and Chris Spiek on the topic of Why Your Customers Switch To Your Competitors.

Show Notes & Links

Here is a list of items referenced in this episode:

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Episode Transcript

Announcer: Welcome to the latest addition 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: Okay, so, welcome to the latest addition of Jobs to be Done
radio, I’m Chris Spieck and as always, I’m joined by Bob Moesta and Ervin
Fowlkes, hey guys.

Bob: Hey Chris, how are you?

Chris: And today we also have a very special guest, we’re joined by
Amrita Chandra, from Rocket Scope in Toronto, Canada. Amrita joined us at a
switch workshop at 37 signals a couple months ago over the summer here, and
we’re really, really excited to have her on to learn about the ways that
she’s been applying Jobs to be Done since coming to the workshop and
learning the interview technique, and learning the basics. So welcome

Amrita: Thanks, nice to be here.

Chris: Great. So, Ervin, I know you guys have been talking a lot since
the switch workshop, why don’t you kick us off and get the background.
Let’s hear what’s been going on.

Ervin: Well, sure! For those of you that have been to a switch
workshop, and you’ve [inaudible 0:01:10], once aspect of this whole thing;
How many interviews have people done? Well, a couple people respond back,
but Amrita responded back with 22 interviews. That blew my mind, like,
okay, I have to talk to this interviewing machine, I have to find out
what’s going on to take that many interviews. So, Amrita, if you can just
give us a little background about you, and tell us about Rocket Scope, what
you do, just so we can have somewhere to start.

Amrita: Sure! So, I’ve worked in marketing for about 20 years, kind of
a life long marketer. I started out, actually, at Nestle, in the consumer
packaging space, but I realized quickly that I’m not a big company person,
so for probably about 15 years I’ve been working in the tech industry,
mostly with smaller type companies,

Six or eight months ago I started a company with my business partner,
Eva Bumford, and we were both experienced marketers and we were seeing
first hand that a lot of start ups struggle with marketing, and especially
around customer addition and retention, but they weren’t necessarily at the
point where it made sense for them to hire a VP of marketing.

So we started this company to help them in a way that’s a little
different from other traditional [inaudible 0:02:23]. We really wanted
companies to build marketing expertise inside their organization. Similar
to how you guys are really helping companies, or people, build expertise
around jobs to be done inside their companies or on their own.

So that’s essentially how we work with the start ups we work with. We
offer our services in a bit of a novel way; we allow our clients to sign up
for a monthly subscription, so they use us as much or as little as they
like, and we’re kind of embedded inside their organizations working with
their teams to get them to be better at marketing. That’s my long intro

Ervin: That is awesome. So what is your [inaudible 0:03:06] to
interviews, I didn’t ask my favorite question. So, tell me about the time
you had to first talk about Jobs to be Done, how did you get introduced to

Amrita: Well, it’s kind of a funny thing, because I actually didn’t
know anything about Jobs to be Done, I must have been living under a rock
for the last few years. I have been a Base Camp customer on and off for a
few years now, and I remember seeing a tweet from – I think it was just
from the main 37 Signals Twitter account, saying something about this
switch workshop. And I remember really loving the question that they asked.
It asked something about, how do you get from what you were doing before to
where you are today, something like that, like, what made you switch?

And so, I was like, oh, this is kind of interesting, Chicago’s not
that far away, and I showed up in Chicago and I’m like, oh! Chris and Bob
and Roy! And, all these people that I hadn’t really been introduced to
before, and so it was kind of nice, because I think there were a lot of
people in the room that day who were really familiar with you, so it was
kind of interesting for me to, literally with fresh eyes, not knowing
anything about your frame work, to come in and sign up for this workshop.

Ervin: Since you’re relatively indoctrinated into the Jobs to be Done,
I can talk to you like we both know jobs. So, tell me about the push, what
was going on that made you like, ugh, okay, there’s a better way? What was
going on for you?

Amrita: Well, I think some of it was more of a general, I would say, if
you want to be in the passively looking phase for probably forever, in that
I’m always looking for ways to be better at what I do. So even though I
feel really good about my skills as a marketer, I know that I don’t know
everything. The minute stop learning the minute you start [inaudible
0:05:02] so, I just like the idea of seeing what else is out there that I
can learn to become better at understanding our customers, so that’s the
push. I just felt like, what I was doing to date was fine, but I didn’t
feel like it completely crystallized the insight I was trying to get, so
that’s probably how I would describe the push.

Bob: Hey Ervin, let me hijack and jump in with one question and then you
can get on with the rest of them. Amrita, do you remember what you expected
it to be similar to when you signed up? Or, did you have that thought at
all, like this switch thing sounds similar to something else I already know
or something else I heard about, or did this feel like it was kind of out
on its own?

Amrita: I felt like it was really very different, because it asked, and
sort of answered, I guess, a really fundamental question, and I felt like
even the way you phrased the question in terms of what were people doing
before and what made them switch to what they were doing now. It seems like
kind of an obvious question, but it isn’t an obvious question, and I think
that a lot of people don’t think of things that way, because it really
comes back to what the person is doing and what their context is and not
what the company is doing. So I think that really drew me. It was like, wow
these guys are asking a really fundamental question that is so important to
anybody running a company. And that drew me, and of course I would say a
kind of, I’m not one of the core, 37 Signals fanbase, but I’ve certainly
read Jason Creek. I occasionally read something that they publish and so I
thought, “Oh, okay, these guys are smart guys and they seem to have really
thought that this methodology was helpful, so that was definitely something
that helped pull me towards them.

Bob: Yeah, yeah, great.

Ervin: Tell me you do Jobs to be Done. So, you left the switchboard
show, what was your next step to that?

Amrita: So, I left the switch workshop and you know, when I like
something, I tend to be a little obsessive about going after it. So I was
like, this is awesome! I learned a bunch of good stuff, I liked that there
was this hands on session in the workshop where we got to actually try it
out ourselves.

I could tell that I really liked doing it, but I could tell that I
needed a lot of practice and so the first thing I did was, you know, the
best thing you can do is try and practice it right away and not have a
really long time pass. So, I had friends visiting that weekend and I had
them all do interviews with me, anybody I could talk to, didn’t matter what
they were talking about, but I did probably about then practice interviews
within the first couple of weeks. I think I did a handful that weekend, and
then did a handful practice ones within the next week. Again, just because
I wanted to make sure I was remembering what I learned and practicing that.

Interestingly enough, one of my clients in particular, I work with a
handful of companies, but one of them had a real obvious gap around
understanding their customers, and in general I have to say I think one of
the reasons why your work is so important, is because I think that most
companies, they think they know their customers but they actually don’t,

So this company, that I’ve been working really closely with, they had
a bunch of data, they have some third party market research, but even
before I went to the workshop I remember thinking, these guys really need
to get deeper into understanding the heart of why their customers choose
them, and so after the switch workshop, I decided to actually do a bunch on
interviews on behalf of the client, normally we don’t go off and do this
work, but it was just something I was excited to do and they were really
interested in having me help with it. So we ended up recruiting a bunch of
customers and I probably did about a dozen interviews right away, and I’m
happy to tell you a little bit more of what happened in those interviews,
and then I probably did another ten. So I’ve done about ten practice ones
and about 22 ones with actual customers, so I’m at about 30 now.

Chris: Do you find them fun?

Amrita: I do! I love talking to people, so for me, it’s definitely fun,
it’s definitely work though. I think it’s a lot harder than it looks and I
think you guys make it look really easy because you guys are really good at
it! And when you actually start to do it, even I think I’m pretty good at
talking to people and I really like understanding people, but when you’re
doing it, in that kind of context, you’re still trying to make sure that
you gather up the right kind of information, so it is work. I had one day
where I made the mistake, in hindsight, of scheduling like, eight
interviews in one day. I was fried by the end of that day.

Bob: It takes a lot of mind space to do those, that’s for sure.

Chris: I’m actually glad you said that, though, because I don’t think
at any point during the switch workshop do we caveat that. Ervin and I, and
Bob, would all say, like, if a client would ever ask us to do more than
five or six in a day, it’s like you don’t know what you’re getting yourself
into, so I think we need to start telling people that. So it’s a huge
compliment to hear that we make it look easy or that we look good at it,
but I’d say that it might get a little bit easier and more natural as you
practice, but from an energy perspective, you’re always exhausted.

Bob: Five is probably the limit, the sixth one is usually when you’re
phoning it in. There’s not enough energy left in the body.

Amrita: I totally agree with you. And again, I think, like with
anything, you kind of learn when you do it, and I wouldn’t have known it if
I hadn’t done that, and now that I’ve done it, I’m never going to do it

Bob: Even if we would have said only five, there would be people going,
“Oh no, no, we can do six or seven,” and you’re like, “Okay, you go for it,
just do me a favor, text me how you feel when you’re at the end of that
seventh one.”

Amrita: Yeah, you sort of feel like when you’re eating this big,
beautiful meal and you need to have some sorbet in between each plate, to
cleanse your pallet. That’s sort of how I felt at the end of that day.

Bob: So I have to ask, so you’ve done 22, so when you do the ten practice
ones, they’re usually not on the same thing, so you don’t see patterns. On
the 22 customer ones, when did you start to see patterns?

Amrita: I can say pretty early on. Like, within, even as soon as five
interviews. One of the things that was interesting was that we were
originally looking at all the customers in one bucket, and when we started
to do the interviews, definitely by the time I got to maybe seven or eight,
it was very obvious that there were actually two distinct types of
customers, really depending on which type of subscription these guys had
signed up for.

So this company makes a product kind of like Spotify, it’s not
Spotify, but that’s the closest thing I can compare it to. You pay monthly
to listen to a bunch of stuff. One of the things we found out pretty early
on was actually, we had two kinds of primary customer segments, like the
people I would call “light users” [inaudible 0:12:25] a light plan, and
then “heavy users” and they had some very distinct answers. We realized
after the first ten or so that we wanted to go back and interview another
group of them and specifically choose people from each of these two
separate groups, because we felt like we were going to get different
insights from them, so that’s definitely what we found.

Bob: So then within the heavy users, you found different kinds of heavy
users and different light users?

Amrita: We didn’t [inaudible 0:13:27], you could probably split them
into another segment, but I think there was enough distinctness about the
heavy users, but one of the things we realized when we were doing these
interviews was that the heavy users had already formed a habit around
consuming this type of service. For them it was mostly about feeding the
beast, it was giving them enough variety of things to listen to, whereas
the light users were easier to lose as a customer, because they might try
it out and if they hadn’t been in the habit of listening to this service in
different situations, it would be very easy for them to cancel their
service because they weren’t in the habit, so we found that they were
comparing this company to very different categories of things when we talk
about the pull of the product, it’s very different for these two.

Bob: It’s almost like, how do I get the light user to become the heavy
user, and what were the tips I had to offer to get them there?

Amrita: Exactly. When it came to the heavy user, it was mostly about,
how do you make sure that you have enough variety so they feel like they’re
getting enough of what they think they signed up for. One of the things
that’s really interesting about which interviews, which I would say applies
even to the practice ones I was doing, is that people never are comparing
you to who you think they’re comparing you to. Most companies think that
your customers are comparing you head to head with another competitor in
that same category, but in most cases you’re not. So in the case of this
company, they weren’t comparing us to their competitors, the heavy users
were comparing us with other things that relieve boredom. So, listening to
network radio, subscribing to satellite radio, watching TV, reading a book,
so that was what they were comparing us to, versus what we thought, this is
all about convincing them that we’re better than this other company, when
it really wasn’t the case at all. You just wanted them to feel like you
will never have to be bored again if you sign up for this service.

Chris: Yeah, yeah. That’s usually one of the first big ‘ah-has’ that
people get, is that it’s not a rational extension of you. So, the thing is,
when customers are actually comparing, they’re wrapping everything else
around it, so it’s how a Snickers bar competes with a Coke, or, to be
honest, how a scotch and a run compete with each other around how to end
your day.

Amrita: Uh-huh.

Chris: And how no one would think that the two compete, but the fact
is, depending on the situation, they’d hire one or the other to help them
unwind from the day.

Amrita: That’s so interesting, I’d never think to have rum at the end
of the day.

Chris: But that’s what I’m saying, it’s just like what you said, it’s
not what you think it is.

Bob: Oh, you said a run, like a jog.

Chris: A run.

Amrita: Oh, you said a run!

Bob: Yeah, I thought you said a rum too.

Chris: Yeah, it was like a jog or a run, or a scotch. So it’s between
are you healthy or not healthy, and that’s just not relevant, it’s one of
those things like, how was your day, and if the day was bad enough, the
scotch actually wins.

Amrita: Yeah.

Bob: So one of the things, I don’t know how much we get into this, I think
we do it differently every switch workshop, so the one you were at, I’m not
sure, but we talk about the big hire and the little hire. So, the big one
is the switch, when they actually purchase something new, and we have these
little hire moments of when are you actually consuming the product or
service that you bought.

I’m always fascinated by these, and I don’t know exactly what the
company is and you don’t need to disclose it, but the streaming media
services, what do they compete with, and when are people actually turning
them on? Is it drive time, is it relaxation, is it learning, without
disclosing everything, were you able to get into those kind of details of
consumption when your service was winning and when it was set to the side
for something else?

Amrita: Yeah, I think one of the things we learned by doing these
interviews was that, with the heavy users, they were using in a variety of
different environments. So driving was a big one, they were bored with
listening to the radio, and they liked the option of their streaming
service, so driving was a big one. What surprised me was that the heavy
users were using the service in any context where they had a big chunk of
time coming up, either at one time or repeatedly, where they were going to
be by themselves. So I had this one interview, which is kind of funny, with
this lady, about how she just got her baby and she was out walking her
baby, and so she’s listening to this thing while she’s with her baby. So I
was sort of asking her at the end to talk about her baby, and it turns out
it was actually a dog, it wasn’t a child. So that was kind of interesting
because all of a sudden she had these chunks of time where she’s walking
her dog by herself, so that didn’t exist before she had her dog, and I
don’t think the company would ever have thought about looking into groups
of people who are getting dogs.

So there are definitely certain commonalities in terms of the heavy
users, because they were in the habit. I think with the light users, one of
the hardest challenges is that they’re not in the habit and so, they only
maybe associate, when I’m sitting down at my desk and working I’m going to
listen to this thing, and so if they haven’t sat down at their desk, then
they’re not going to be using this service. How can we make them aware that
they can listen, while you’re doing your housework, or you can listen to it
while you’re out at the gym, and so part of it was more of an education
around context, whereas with the heavy users, they were hiring it before,
the big job was that primary thing, maybe they’re commuting, and then the
little hire sort of then more about relieving boredom, but in different

Bob: That’s where I think this is really powerful, is that, if you think
about it, the heavy users have already innovated. They’ve figured out how
to put it into really different places in their lives. The growth comes
from being able to say, now that I know that this is where people can go,
how do I get the light user to become the heavy user, in that aspect?
Because they think about it here but they don’t think about it there. If
they can go back and look at the data and look at consumption, you can find
out, is there day part issues. I’m not sure if everybody starts as a heavy
user, but it might be the fact that as they grow, it’s like, “Okay, this
person seems to be using it a lot in the evening, maybe we should highlight
some opportunities in the morning for them. Or these people are using it
really in the morning or the 5:00 range, is there a way to highlight?” and
so you can actually build adaptive marketing to say, hey, how do we
actually enable these people to do something different?

Amrita: Exactly, and I think we find that people who are light users,
because they’ve never listened to this type of thing before, you really
want their first few days with the product to be, I mean you want that for
everyone, but they’re not going to stick it out because they don’t have a
habit, so you need to make sure that, one of the insights we got, we want
to kind of guide their initial experience in a particular way to make it
easy for them to have their first few listens and make it fool proof. So,
again, we have lots of data we can pull in terms of product usage, so again
what I like is that it just gave us a lot more context that added a lot
more color to stuff that we were wondering about, because a lot of
companies now, everyone is talking about data and marketers have to be
really data driven, and I think data can be really good, but there’s a lot
that data doesn’t tell you, you can make some really bad conclusions by
just looking at numbers and not necessarily doing this sort of qualitative
stuff as well.

Bob: So we’ve been working with Clay quite a bit on the whole notion of
big data, but the reality is that, with more data comes more noise, and
what this does is help you start to build theory of how things are
happening that then allow you to go mine the data with an intent in mind.

So trying to find patterns in the data without an understanding of
how it works is very time consuming and very rarely would you ever get to
the kinds of insights that you have. If you do a limited set of interviews,
like you said, by seven or eight, you’re getting repeat, by 15 you’ve got
the bulk of it there. How do I now translate that back into the data set to
see this kind of story versus that kind of story, or how do I see this kind
of user versus that kind user, now it’s the signal to the signal to noise,
it’s the thing of what’s the intent of what they’re trying to do. You’re
never going to be able to use the math, because math can correlate, but
math can’t tall you causality.

Amrita: I was just going to say that, the data tells you the what, and
many of the companies that I work with, they’re fast products, software and
services, so they have tons of data that they can pull, and so the data is
really good at telling what happened but it’s not really good at telling
you why it happened, and so that’s where I find the Jobs to be Done
framework has been really helpful. It really works together with the data,
and I really don’t think you want to have one or the other, I think you
want to use them both together.

Chris: In base camp, we were able to dive into some of that data, and
you can just see the fact is that there are some people who think about it
as, just let me think this through, versus, I want to hold people
accountable, and you can just tell by the first two days of usage how
they’re going.

Amrita: Right.

Chris: Now that you understand that there are those different kinds of
cover your ass kind of people, or help me think it through people, I think
the notion is that you can actually then help them do that faster or be
more successful with it.

Amrita: Right, and one of the things that I wanted to make sure when I
did the Jobs to be Done interview, was that I don’t want this to be
something where I get all these insights and I’m like, “Well that’s great,
now I’m more informed.”

It was really important to me that I sort of thought about, “Okay,
how is this going to change what my client does as a company, how are we
going to change, to market to customers,” because then you can run some
experiments and validate the things that you gathered in the interview.
That’s what we’re in the process of doing now, is taking some of what we
learned and changing the way we communicate; we have different streams of
communication for light users and heavy users, and we’re doing some test
ads as well. We’re going to see whether or not we can convert people based
on the situational context and not just people who are searching for this
kind of service, but people who are kind of predisposed to being good
candidates for the service, because they’re doing these other activities
where they’re having long stretches of time by themselves.

It’ll be interesting to run the ads and we’re doing a bunch of other
stuff around it, which is why I think this is really great. You’re not
just taking a bunch of insights and going, okay great, now I’m smarter and
I think I know things better about my customers, we’re taking the next step
to validating what we learned.

Chris: Yep. That’s the big thing, what can you change to do the job
better, that’s the whole aspect of it. You’ve got to make sure you have the
second half of being practical about it and experimenting, that’s

Bob: So Amrita, we’re always curious, we’re constantly experimenting with
different analysis methods, for lack of a better term, and that goes to
both how we set up a project or a set of interviews, to say, this is the
question we’re really out to answer. Let’s always get back to this question
after each interview and really focus on it. All the way to, when we’re
done, how do we compare and contrast and group everything together, how did
that aspect go for you? Did the stories group pretty naturally or did you
guys have a white board process that you went through or anything like
that, or was it pretty ad hoc?

Amrita: I think it was, I was learning as I went along, so when I was
doing these interviews, one of the things I did was, during the interview
itself, I wasn’t really thinking about analysis, I was just gathering
information, and so I started off just hand scribbling some notes and then
I would type these notes into my laptop and what I would do is print them
out and look at them, and highlight things in different colors that seemed
to group around passively looking, actively looking, switching consumption,
so I did that for the first handful because I was learning and trying to
figure out how to take this fire hose of information and find some nuggets
that actually really meaningful and need to be grouped together. I think
the next set that I did, because all of these interviews, I should mention,
this is also something interesting, they were all done over the phone, and
I actually think that made it a lot harder, I would have preferred to have
done them in person, but our customers were spread out to the point that it
just wasn’t feasible at the time, to do face to face interviews in
different cities, so, since I was on the phone, I could type into a laptop,
because wasn’t really intrusive in the conversation, so then I just started
typing stuff into the computer, and again you start to see, I think it’s
mostly just practice. You start to see certain phrases come up or just
certain turning points and I don’t really think I have a great methodology.
I think it’s mostly typing it into the computer, printing it off, and
[inaudible 0:29:02] finding some of those commonalities.

Chris: Yeah, got it, got it, that’s great.

Bob: Cool.

Ervin: I’m curious about one thing; now, once you’re done with that
interviewing process in your toolbelt, did anyone get fired? Now that you
have this way of doing things, you don’t do it another way?

Amrita: In terms of marketing, I think we’ve realized, for this company
that I was doing all the interviews for; we don’t really have to talk a
lot about our competitors. Why put the competitors in that person’s mind,
when they aren’t necessarily thinking about it themselves? So that was a
huge insight that we weren’t really competing with the people that we
thought we were competing with. It was really more about focusing the
communication from whether it’s an ad or you land on the website and what
copy are we writing on the website.

There were actually a couple things that we thought were great
product features that would entice somebody into using this product, and it
turns out that this did not come up in a single one of these interviews.
And that made us realize, like, wow, this is totally irrelevant to people,
so we don’t really need to be talking about it, instead we should be
talking about this other thing.

Which, actually this is another really interesting thing, there was
another product feature, which most people didn’t think the product did
this, so many of them, even in the conversation, were like, “Well, I’m
thinking about maybe even cancelling because it doesn’t do this thing,” and
I’d be on the phone saying, oh my God, it totally does this thing. But
then I realized, we don’t really talk about this anywhere, we assume that
people will figure this out by using the product, and so that was a big
light bulb moment too. In fact, we had one lady I talked to who had
actually gone ahead and cancelled her subscription, and she was really nice
when we were talking, and I told her we actually do the thing, she said,
oh, I like your company so much better, I’ll switch back, because I didn’t
know you did this thing, and that’s why I left. So that’s another thing we
want to test, we think it will help with customer retention, because we
suspect that she’s not the only person who left because she thought we
didn’t do this thing.

Chris: So what we’re saying here at this point is that it’s always
useful to do people who not only hire you but also who fire you, to have a
portfolio of the two is a really important piece of this, because, again,
you spend all this time to get them, but at the point of them leaving you,
if you don’t understand what it is, the thing is that it could be small
little things you can do that keep the retention that much higher.

Amrita: Absolutely. In fact, the next group of interviews I’m doing is
specifically with people who have cancelled. The first round was mostly
people who were customers, but there was one that slipped in, I guess she
cancelled in between the time I scheduled the interview and the time she
actually did the interview. So around August I’ll do another dozen or so
with people who have cancelled.

Chris: So, can I ask some logistics questions? Because this is what
people ask us a lot about; which are things like, how did you find the
list, how did you schedule the time, did you pay them, stuff like that.

Amrita: Sure! So, the list was really easy, because this company has
tons of customers. They have tens of thousands of customers. We pulled a
list of, I forget how many, I think initially we might have emailed about
300 people, because I had no idea how many would respond, and I think we
were getting about a 6 percent response, and so we ended up doing an email
to people who had signed up within the last four to six weeks. I think we
wanted them to have had one real cycle, because this product bills every
month, so I think most of them were at the six week mark, and we sent them
a pretty simple email. I think one of the things that’s important in the
email, and I see people do this the wrong way, in my opinion, which is,
don’t tell them you’re just calling to get some feedback, like, be really
honest about why you want to even have this conversation, be honest that
it’s going to take a bunch of time, because what people hate is when you
tell them you only need 15 minutes and then you keep them on the phone for
45, or you tell them you’re just from customer service and you’re calling
to get feedback, but really you’re kind of drilling them.

Being really clear in the email about why you want to talk to them,
and also, who I was. I didn’t want them to think that I was from customer
service or I was in a sales role, it was sort of like, literally all I’m
interested in understanding more about what led you to choose the product,
and we’re going to need about this much of your time, so that’s what I did
in the email. And we did pay people, we offered them compensation that was
equal to about two months of using the product. Then we scheduled the

This is also interesting, it tells you why I have to do this and
learn what works and doesn’t work. So, the first time, I thought, I want to
make this super simple, lets tell people literally just reply to the email
and then we’ll set it up, and then I realized, that was a bad way to do it
because then you’re going back and forth by email saying, does this day
work, but then I went to using, I think you guys have used the service for
your interview, called Time Trade, so I set up a Time Trade account and
this way it was really easy for people to just look at the time themselves,
and I found that getting them to make the booking made them more likely to
show up, because the 1st round I did, I was getting a bunch of no-show, and
I think it was also because there was no meeting invite or even if I sent
them an invite, they didn’t necessarily, like a lot of people were using a
personal email and they weren’t putting it into their calenders. Using Time
Trade, everybody basically showed up for the interview, so that was really

Chris: After setting it up, once I found Time Trade, it made it so
much easier, like you said. You actually got better people to show up
because they set it, as opposed to going back and forth in your inbox,
blowing up with a 1,000 emails.

Amrita: I know, and of course I made a really silly mistake when I
first used Time Trade. I thought I had set my calender up properly, and
then I was wondering why everyone had chosen to do their interview on a
Saturday. So I was like, okay, whatever, and that’s the day I booked the
eight, so not only was it eight back to back interviews, I had to give up a
Saturday to do them. A beautiful, sunny day, and then I realized that I had
put my settings in wrong and that’s the only option I gave people!

Bob: That is dedication.

Chris: That is awesome. So what piece of advice do you have for people
who are newbies to Jobs to be Done and, you’re on the other side looking
back, what is some advice you’d give them?

Amrita: Well, definitely, the main advice is just go out and do the
interviews, there’s no way to just learn this in your head. You have to go
out and practice and the sooner you do, the better, because I think, like
with anything, you’re either going to retain most of what you learned
within the first few days after the work shop, and so you have to just get
into the habit right away, so that is definitely one thing I’m glad I did.

The other thing that was interesting, was that you have to let people
talk, and I think it can be uncomfortable to experience in a conversation,
especially over the phone. But you have to be okay with that. You have to
learn to get used to there being these periods of silence, because you want
to give people a chance to collect and really be themselves, and it’s so
tempting to try to put words in their mouth, get them to talk. You have to
be really careful about that. I caught myself doing that in some of the
early ones, where I just wanted them to get to the answer, and then I
realized that’s not really how it works. Your job is to ask the right
questions that will get them to talk and then just sit back and shut up.

Bob: It’s one of those things where it feels weird doing it a couple
times, but once you realize it works, then you get more comfortable doing
it. At least for me, when I was learning it, I felt like kind of a weirdo
just sitting on the phone, and now it’s like a quirky thing to have to just
shut up and feel that dead air on the phone, but 99 percent of the time, it

Amrita: Yeah, yeah. I actually worked with a super smart sales guy in
the past, and that was one of the things he always told me, like when
you’re selling something, is just be quiet, let the other person talk. So
as someone who likes to talk I had to reel myself back and let the other
person talk, and I definitely would prefer to do more face to face
interviews, that’s something I’d love to get more practice doing. One of
the things I loved about the workshop and one of the ah-ha moments for me
was how much you can learn about somebody by their body language and not
just the words that they’re saying, and that’s a lot harder to do over the

Chris: But it still works over the phone, it’s not like you have to do
face to face.

Amrita: Totally, yeah. I think the phone is definitely convenient for
people as well, you’re not asking them to take as much time out of their
day, so like I said, I still found that we got some amazing insights by
doing them over the phone. So if you can’t do them face to face, then the
phone is certainly a great alternative.

Ervin: So, do we have anything else for Amrita?

Bob: If people want to follow you, what’s your Twitter?

Amrita: My Twitter is my name, amritachandra.

Chris: If anybody wants to get a hold of you, just do it through that,
or do you have any other way you want people to get a hold of you?

Amrita: Yeah, Twitter is great, or you can go to my company’s website,

Bob: Okay, well thank you so much for your time, it was very, very
helpful, in terms of the experience. Seems like it’s a short time, but so
many interviews so quickly, it doesn’t take long.

Chris: You’re setting the bar for everyone else, so keep it up!

Amrita: Well, I had a great time, that workshop was worth every penny,
I hope you guys will do a follow up one, I think that it might be
interesting to get a group of people who’ve done a bunch of interviews. In
fact I’m in Chicago today and I’m having lunch with a guy I met at the
workshop, Belmont, who has a bunch of tools as well. So, yeah, I think it’s
interesting to talk to other people who have done the interviews, kind of
trade notes.

Chris: Yeah, this is old hat for Ross, he’s been around for a long

Bob: Yeah, Ross is a great guy.

Chris: Enjoy that, and keep in touch, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Thanks for taking the time to come on.

Amrita: Sounds great, thanks for inviting me.

Bob: Thank you.


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