Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice

“A job is the progress that an individual seeks in a given circumstance.”
“It’s important to note that we don’t “create” jobs, we discover them. Jobs themselves are enduring and persistent, but the way we solve them can change dramatically over time.”
“As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is fond of quoting, “Perspective is worth 80 I.Q. points.”
“Thomas Kuhn, the influential philosopher and scientific historian explores this phenomenon in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. These breakthrough moments, he concludes, represent a “paradigm shift” where “Scientists see new and different things when looking with familiar instruments in places they have looked before.”
“They go to extraordinary lengths, including no-hassle refunds or replacements, rather than risk a bad review from a top reviewer who will, certainly, influence how many people hire that product for their Job to Be Done.”
“Sure, seeing an item with a bunch of four-out-of-five-star ratings helps, but what I really need to know is what do reviewers who were hiring for the same job as me have to say? There might be lots of toaster oven reviews about whether it browns the toast evenly (there are, apparently, a lot of people who care about that stuff!), but I really want to know whether it will help me heat a frozen pizza when I don’t want to crank up our conventional oven. I’m sure many people care about the pixels and zoom on a digital camera, but I just want to know that it is easy to set up and use. In other words, Amazon allows me to shop unfamiliar categories with total confidence because I can find folks who share my job and gauge the performance that matters most to me from those reviews.”
“The moments of struggle, nagging tradeoffs, imperfect experiences, and frustrations in peoples’ lives—those are the what you’re looking for. You’re looking for recurring episodes in which consumers seek progress but are thwarted by the limitations of available solutions. You’re looking for surprises, unexpected behaviors, compensating habits, and unusual product uses. The how—and this is a place where many marketers trip up—are ground-level, granular, extended narratives with a sample size of one. Remember, the insights that lead to successful new products look more like a story than a statistic. They’re rich and complex. Ultimately, you want to cluster together stories to see if there are similar patterns, rather than break down individual interviews into categories.”
“W. Edwards Deming, father of the quality movement, may have put it best: “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, then you don’t know what you are doing.”
“There is a second very important lesson in the Amazon story: there is a degree of ambidextrousness that enables processes to be both highly efficient and flexible. Jobs are not flexible—they have existed for years and years, even centuries. But how we solve for jobs varies over time. The important thing is to be attached to the job, but not the way we solve it today. Processes must flex over time when a better understanding of customer jobs calls for a revised orientation.”
KT: Jobs remain stable over time, but how we solve for those jobs will change consistently
“Here is the fundamental problem: the masses and masses of data that companies accumulate are not organized in a way that enables them to reliably predict which ideas will succeed. Instead the data is along the lines of “this customer looks like that one,” “this product has similar performance attributes as that one,” and “these people behaved the same way in the past,” or “68 percent of customers say they prefer version A over version B.” None of that data, however, actually tells you why customers make the choices that they do.”
“If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.”
“The foundation of our thinking is the Theory of Jobs to Be Done, which focuses on deeply understanding your customers’ struggle for progress and then creating the right solution and attendant set of experiences to ensure you solve your customers’ jobs well, every time.”
“Understanding jobs is about clustering insights into a coherent picture, rather than segmenting down to finer and finer slices.”
“It’s important to note that we don’t “create” jobs, we discover them. Jobs themselves are enduring and persistent, but the way we solve them can change dramatically over time.”
“As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is fond of quoting, “Perspective is worth 80 I.Q. points.”
“Thomas Kuhn, the influential philosopher and scientific historian explores this phenomenon in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. These breakthrough moments, he concludes, represent a “paradigm shift” where “Scientists see new and different things when looking with familiar instruments in places they have looked before.”
“The moments of struggle, nagging tradeoffs, imperfect experiences, and frustrations in peoples’ lives—those are the what you’re looking for. You’re looking for recurring episodes in which consumers seek progress but are thwarted by the limitations of available solutions. You’re looking for surprises, unexpected behaviors, compensating habits, and unusual product uses. The how—and this is a place where many marketers trip up—are ground-level, granular, extended narratives with a sample size of one. Remember, the insights that lead to successful new products look more like a story than a statistic. They’re rich and complex. Ultimately, you want to cluster together stories to see if there are similar patterns, rather than break down individual interviews into categories.”
“Sure, seeing an item with a bunch of four-out-of-five-star ratings helps, but what I really need to know is what do reviewers who were hiring for the same job as me have to say? There might be lots of toaster oven reviews about whether it browns the toast evenly (there are, apparently, a lot of people who care about that stuff!), but I really want to know whether it will help me heat a frozen pizza when I don’t want to crank up our conventional oven. I’m sure many people care about the pixels and zoom on a digital camera, but I just want to know that it is easy to set up and use. In other words, Amazon allows me to shop unfamiliar categories with total confidence because I can find folks who share my job and gauge the performance that matters most to me from those reviews.”
“W. Edwards Deming, father of the quality movement, may have put it best: “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, then you don’t know what you are doing.”
“There is a second very important lesson in the Amazon story: there is a degree of ambidextrousness that enables processes to be both highly efficient and flexible. Jobs are not flexible—they have existed for years and years, even centuries. But how we solve for jobs varies over time. The important thing is to be attached to the job, but not the way we solve it today. Processes must flex over time when a better understanding of customer jobs calls for a revised orientation.”
“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole. Customers don’t want products, they want solutions to their problems.”