Discussed the Christensen’s book “The innovators solution” on CJ’s blog, and how important it is to think about less of your product and more of how the product will be applied and used. I we move the analogy out of the tech industry into something such as the tobacco industry that actually do sell products that will kill you albeit more or less slowly, it becomes more evident.

The “job” of the cigarette is the whole situation where a cigarette is consumed, and the tobacco industry really understands this.

If cigarettes were sold as many tech companies sell their products; they would sell it as “Our product cures you nicotine craving much quicker and more effective”, but the customer is probably going for “looking sexy”, feeling sexy, relaxed, feeling cool etc.

By using the “job” analogy approach you move away from the specs of the product and look at the customer and how your product might change or be part of a specific scenario.

The Henry Ford quote still applies; “If you asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse”, you need to address needs not wants, the customer want is created out of a their perception of a solution of their need (which very often do not fulfill their actual need), and sometimes customer do not even know what they need. This is the tricky part… Many companies have failed listening to the customers and giving them what they say they want (brings us to Christensen’s first book, the innovators dilemma, his books are really a must read!).

2 replies
  1. Christian Rudolf
    Christian Rudolf says:

    Deep understanding of your customers are difficult. Many entreprenours start companys from their own technical perspective.

    In the old days, up probably started your company because u understood that specific market, since u were working in it.

    This is both good and bad. Bad for reasons u are stating but good because the technology is so new and it has to be done by these techies, without the specific market experince!

    I know, I am in that siutation, trying desperetly to understand the market!

    Reply
  2. Nicolai Wadstrom
    Nicolai Wadstrom says:

    Yes, and I think you are right in doing so, you need to experiment and you need to guess, even the multi-billion dollar enterprises do this, at least the successful ones.

    But, you can apply strategies to how you explore new areas, and doing so, you will increase your likelihood of success. You will still make mistakes, but improve your learning process and more quickly move in a direction that works.

    Reply

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