My hypothesis about great products is that they have 3 characteristics:

  1. Nail Job-To-Be-Done: They are a great solution to a problem users care about;
  2. Delight to use: They are well designed; and
  3. Sticky: Makes the customer/user want to come back

The jobs-to-be-done idea is that customers don’t buy specific products or services.

Instead, they hire various solutions at various times to get a wide variety of jobs done.

A job-to-be-done, thus, is about the higher purpose (or “the why”) that causes a customer to buy.

Why do people buy lawnmovers?


Most people would say they buy a lawnmower to “cut the grass,” and this is true.

But if a lawnmower company examines the higher purpose of cutting the grass, say, “keep the grass low and beautiful at all times,” then it might forgo some efforts to make better lawnmowers in lieu of developing a genetically engineered grass seed that never needs to be cut.

Jobs To Be Done = A low and beautiful grass.

So what if we can get a low and beautiful looking grass that doesn’t need to be watered and cut often?

What if we come up with this:


Astro turf lawn. It looks like a lawn, it feels like one, but it doesn’t have to be watered and cut all them time.

Customers want beautiful looking yards that like these ones:



People hire Astro Turf Lawns to have their beautiful yards, they no longer hire lawnmowers.

Instead of defining your market by your product, define your market by the job your product helps people accomplish.

Uber doesn’t help you get a car, they help you get to a destination.

So, how do you test if you really understand jobs-to-be-done?

There are 2 tests:

1. Do you understand why the customer buys this product?

2. Do you know what the customer fires to hire this product?

Both these questions are important. So, let’s dig into them.

1. Do you understand why the customer buys this product?
This is a classic example of a seemingly simple question that is hard to answer. One way to illustrate this is by asking – what are Netflix’s competitors?

The obvious answers are Multichoice, YouTube, Ster-Kinekor and Nu-Metro. But, the answer would be different from from a jobs-to-be-done point of view.

Why do people watch/hire Netflix? Why do people hire Netflix?

A hypothesis could be that they likely hire Netflix to escape from the day-to-day at the end of a day or to help them avoid boredom.

And, if that’s the case, then Netflix’s competitors would actually be the following: television, books, listening to music, watching TV with the family, conversations with friends or family, sleep, cooking / putting together a meal kit, and exercise. And, this is us just getting started.

Of course, some of this is more important than others. But, the list is a lot broader than you think.

2. Do you know what the customer fires to hire this product?
When you understand why customers hire you, it is easier to understand what people fire.

Working with our hypothesis around Netflix, people often likely “fire” reading books, watching television with the family, exercising, among others.

This leads to all sorts of product insights for Netflix. For example,

  • Make sure you have interesting documentary content for people interested to learn [instead of books]
  • Make as many original TV shows as possible so people tune in to you just like they’d tune into television [television]
  • Allow for these TV shows to be binge watched [sleep]
  • Have an endless collection of great recommendations so people are always happy they hired you to avoid boredom [overall]
  • Allow other members of the family have separate accounts so you can all watch Netflix separately if need be and so you nail the right recommendations for the right person [replace family watching TV]

Jobs-to-be-done is a process of discovery and it is not something you necessarily get right when you build your product the first time.

This process of understanding it and nailing it is called “product-market fit.” And, it is a process every great product gets right.

Value proposition of your product and business, should be strongly liked on your understanding of the Jobs-To-Be-Done by your offerings.

What jobs are you trying to get done for your customers?

What answer to that question is the answer to what is your value proposition.

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