This morning I was in a rush to get the train to work and I also wanted to grab breakfast on the way. So I stopped by a local cafe next to the train station. I ordered a bagel with cream cheese. I thought that it came with cream cheese already and they could put it in a bag and give it to me. Instead I had to wait a few mins for it to be heated and then I discovered I had to spread it myself. I kept checking the clock, but still made the train and ate my bagel too while waiting.
This situation reminded me of Clay Christensen’s Job To Be Done (JTBD) theory. The reason people bought milkshakes for breakfast was because it was easy to drink on the go while driving to work. it also wasn’t messy like a bagel which you need to spread the cream cheese. Importantly, it also helped pass the time when you’re stuck in traffic. The customer could suck on the straw slowly while the thick milkshake melted. These are the reasons people buy the milkshake.
Once you deeply understand the job (why people buy a milkshake), then the product will flow from that. Once the business understood why people bought the milkshake, they didn’t change the product or the menu. They made it faster to dispense milkshakes from a self service machine. Thus enabling people to get their drink and quickly go to work. So you can have your milkshake and slurp it too.
If you want to know more about JTBD, read my blog post here.
I’m out like spreading cream cheese on bagels,