Businesses that are data-driven will lose to those that are model-driven

On the Revealed blog, I wrote an essay on why growth should be model-driven, not data driven. It boils down to:

  1. Data-driven decision making means you’re always behind the market, and slow to respond
  2. Model-driven decision making, being quick to respond to the market, and rapid iteration of growth concepts will enable you to get ahead of the market
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The first version of this article referenced desires as “unmet desires”

After more work and feedback from model consumers and the community, we’ve opted to remove the “unmet” qualifier.


Initially, we worded “Desires” as “Desires”; however, we noticed that model users were getting confused. They were inputting many desirable aspects of the future state associated with the Job to be Done. This led to false conclusions.

To fix this, we decided to add the qualifier “unmet” to make it explicit that the desire was not being satisfied.

However, now we’ve adjusted our Demand Profile (the tool we use to gather…

A way to communicate, quantify, validate, and design for a Job to be Done

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Figure 1. The JTBD Data Model shows a process of how new market behavior is created. In this case, it shows how a JTBD is created and how it results in someone hiring solution(s) for it.

After countless consumer interviews, years of research, and trying different models, my answer to How should I communicate, quantify, validate, and design for a Job to be Done? is this:

The best way to communicate, quantify, validate, and design for a Job to be Done is use data that describe A) how a Job to be Done is created and B) how consumers will behave when they have that Job to be Done.

The data we use in this model are Unmet Goals, Constraints, Catalysts, and Choice Set.

How Linkedin Uses Progress to Segment Markets and Product Offerings

After using the free version of LinkedIn for quite a while, I was curious about what the paid version was like. Upon clicking “try premium”, I saw this:

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Figure 1. LinkedIn asks me what my Job to be Done is

Right away I knew this was gonna be good. Why? Because all these options weren’t describing the product, they were describing progress — i.e. how I could improve because of the product. In other words, these are Jobs to be Done.

One Product / Offering per Job to be Done

Not using. Not buying…and consuming is only part of the story

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Figure 1. Using, buying, consuming, and hiring are different concepts

Even though I use the word “hire” about 15 times in my book When Coffee and Kale Compete, I never explained what it meant, and how it relates to Jobs to be Done theory.

Clay’s book, Competing Against Luck, uses hire a whopping 231 times! But again…he neither defines it nor explains why it’s used.

Both Clay and I made a mistake. The result? People say hire without knowing what it means. This exacerbates the confusion around Jobs to be Done. Sometimes people make fun of it (figure 2).

Figure 2. I haven’t done a good job of explaining what…

The product does the work, while the consumer enjoys the benefits

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Figure 1. An employer has a Job to be Done, so they hire something/someone to do the job for it. The employee does the work (right), while the employer enjoys the benefits (left)

The phrase “jobs to be done” carries a lot of meaning with it. The three most important parts are:

  1. Job. Just as an employer hires and fires employees to improve itself, consumers hire and fire products to help them achieve progress. Also like the employer/employee relationship, the product does the work, while the consumer enjoys the benefits of that work.
  2. to be. When something doesn’t exist yet, we can say it is to be. A Job to be Done, then, is to create a life-situation that doesn’t exist yet.
  3. Done. When I hire a product and make the progress I…

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Me giving the presentation

I was invited to speak at Elevate 2018 in Toronto. I was asked to talk about how I use JTBD to create a growth strategy. I also used my two favorite examples of Jobs theory applied: Weber and DeWalt.


Watch the video!


You can catch the deck here on Slideshare. Or see the keynote presentation below (if it embedded correctly)

Using JTBD to create a sustainable growth strategy

Want to make progress with learning and applying JTBD theory?

An overview of a new JTBD white paper

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On September 12, the Christensen Institute released a white paper summarizing research around four Jobs teachers are trying to get done. This article is a summary of those Jobs. After readings this summary, I recommend reading the orignal white paper.

We all have Jobs to be Done in our lives — the progress that we are trying to make in a particular circumstance. The choice of the word “progress” is intentional. It represents movement, or a process, toward a goal or aspiration. A Job is rarely a discrete event. …

What do we mean by “progress”? How is it different than goals? How does Progress thinking help us?

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Figure 1. Progress is more than goal achievement. It describes a series of goals which build upon each other, and how fast people move through those goals. Progress is similar to the concept of velocity — the time it takes to move in a specific direction.

Key Concepts and Takeaways

  1. Progress is the core of Jobs to be Done theory
  2. Progress is the process of making changes in a positive direction
  3. Understanding dynamics and relationships is what makes progress different from goals
  4. Knowing what business are you in, anticipating (predicting) what people will want next, and creating growth-related metrics are the greatest benefits of progress thinking

Common mistakes to avoid and some takeaways to remember

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Charles Revon’s quote forms the core of JTBD thinking. JTBD isn’t about doing things, it’s about making a positive change — i.e. to make progress.

1. Thinking of it as a framework, method, lens, or methodology

Does it make sense to say “we’re using gravity” or “we’re getting started with gravity”? Of course not!

Why? Because gravity is a theory. You don’t do theories, you learn them.

The point of theory is help you:

  1. Understand how things happened the past
  2. Make predictions about the future

For example:

  1. Plate Tectonics helps us understand how the earth’s crust has changed, and helps us predict how it might change in the future
  2. Evolution helps us understand how we ended up with so many different species of life, and helps us predict how new species will be created
  3. Cumulative prospect…

Alan Klement

I help businesses become great at making and selling products that people will buy. Contact me:

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