Jobs to be done. To Build or Buy - that is not the question.

Instead of asking if we should build something, we now ask: what jobs to be done.
Jobs to be done. To Build or Buy - that is not the question.


There is no other thing in the world that does the job that Goggles do. Goggles do one job. You wear them under water to see a little better and keep the water out of your eyes. Goggles don't do any other job that I am aware of. 

And with that, the story begins...and it has nothing to do with Goggles.

A week ago, an investor and I saw Jack Dorsey speak at the British Library. He was there promoting Square. Square's market cap has now surpassed Twitter and it is no wonder he was there NOT talking about Twitter.

In the conversation, he mentioned Jobs To Be Done based on Clayton Christensen's ideas; the author of The Innovators Dilemma. (This HBR Article sums it up well). 

Square's job, Dorsey said, was to help small businesses grow. At first, the Job To Be Done (JTBD) was to help merchants accept payment faster/easier. 

Then it evolved. 

Square focused on what jobs needed doing. 

Square built a multi-billion dollar FinTech company but decided not to compete head-to-head with the Banks. Dorsey went on to say the job the Banks were doing was not something Square wanted to do. 

Banks have a job. That job is being a trusted broker of capital. 

That made sense to me. Square has a job. Banks have a job.

Dorsey was pretty inspiring, in a quiet-confident sort of way. What struck me was how he simplified Square so easily with JTBD.    

At Zapnito, we build a lot of stuff. A lot of code gets shipped everyday. New features, new optimisation capabilities and new dashboards. But we don't build everything. 

When we build something new, we try to ask ourselves, "does this fit in the vision". 

Building a platform dedicated to connecting, showcasing and sharing expert-knowledge in a world of noise and old community and CMS technologies isn't the easiest thing to prioritise against. But knowing the vision and the JTBD lets us do that. 

We are constantly trying to evolve the lens we look through. And Jobs To Be Done is one of them. The job that Zapnito does, is to help trusted brands create new sources of revenue or value for their clients/stakeholders. As Karl says, it is to help our clients "bring the experts home".

There are a lot of software companies that do jobs we need doing. Amazon Web Services, GoSquared, MixPanel, and Salesforce (Heroku) are just some of the tools we use to help us to the one job we are trying to do. We are both a software company and an integrator of software products.

Many times in my career I've heard the question of Build vs. Buy? I have even asked that question in the past more times than I care to admit. 

Little did I know, it was the wrong question. 

If I hear about a non-software company wanting to build software, I wonder why. Does a consulting company need to build a new powerpoint tool for their reports? Does a media company need to build their own knowledge platform? It all depends on the Goggles you look through:) 

So we try to create a marriage between our vision and JTBD. What is your organisation's JTBD?   

For a practical article on JTBD, here you go!

Photo by Adam Birkett on Unsplash