Bob Moesta & April Dunford: Strategy and Making Progress

BoS Online Fall 2021 started with a conversation on Jobs to be Done and marketing with April Dunford and Bob Moesta. A super interesting session that two of the smartest people in their fields go deep into the difference between vision, strategy and positioning and why you should not confuse them!

We also discuss how JTBD can help you understand the progress your customers want to make so you can position your product effectively at every stage of the evolution of the product.

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Transcript

Mark Littlewood
Introduce each other.

April Dunford
No way, that’s too hard!

Bob Moesta
I like that.

Mark Littlewood
Bob, introduce April.

Bob Moesta
April is one of the best positioning people in the world that I know. She’s had a background in both sales and in marketing, but she knows how to dismantle a management team and help them to be able to see the true value proposition they’re bringing to the to the market as opposed to what they want, and being able to have it resonate with the market. So she’s written the book Obviously Awesome. But every time I get in a conversation with April, we have like 10 minutes, but we take two hours. It’s one of those things where we were almost like the notion of cold fusion, where we just end up vibrating every time we talk. So, I’m so excited to have the opportunity to spend some time with you.

April Dunford
Oh my God, that’s so nice. You folks know Bob – at least most of you do. Bob is one of the fathers of and deep thinkers around Jobs to be Done. And so anybody that has any interest in that, Bob’s the go to guy. We met each other a few years ago. And, you know, for me personally, it’s been really good being able to talk to Bob for a couple reasons. One is that jobs to be done stuff really changed my thinking on positioning, like, there’s a lot of cross sectional points there. And so I think the jobs to be done stuff is one of these kind of foundational things you got to figure out before you go figure out a lot of other downstream things. So that’s pretty cool. And then yeah, Bob’s written a book, too. He’s got this book called Demand Side Sales. I bet Mark’s got a copy. He’s gonna hold it up. There it is.

Mark Littlewood
I have both copies! And Choose Your College.

April Dunford
Oh yeah. Choose your College too.

Mark Littlewood
The great danger of having two people like you on is…

April Dunford
Blabby?

Mark Littlewood
Yeah, well not blabby. But it’s gonna go all over the place. So, I’m going to start by asking you one big question each. And these are things that have come out of conversations that we’ve had. And I’m going to start with April. So April gets a chance to talk and then you can butt-in Bob. And then I’m going to ask you a question. So April, you’ve been talking about confusion between positioning and strategy. And it obviously, really, really riles you. Seeing you riled is very entertaining. I have to say. What do you mean by this? And why is it bad?

April Dunford
All right. So this started, you know, maybe about a year ago. I started getting clients come to me, saying, “look, what we want to do is a strategy session.” And I was like, “I don’t do strategy, I do positioning,” and they’re like, “Hey, yes, same thing.” And I’m like, “No, it’s not the same thing. It’s not the same thing at all.”

There are a couple of consultants in Silicon Valley, that are kind of talking about this. Your story is your strategy, and you come up with a story. And it works for VCs, and it works in a sales situation, and it works for attracting employees into your company. And it’s just, you know, you have the story. And you figure that story out and everything magically happens.

So I disagree with this a lot. And so here’s the way I think about how vision, strategy and positioning all come together. Typically, what we have in a startup in particular, is we’ve got this vision of where we think the company is going to be in like 5-10 years. And generally that thing is based on where we think the product is going to be and how we think the market is going to be at that point. And it incorporates a lot of stuff that we don’t actually do today. But we will get there. If you give us 5-10 years, we’ll get there. And so if you’re pitching to a VC and you’re trying to raise money, the pitch for venture capitalists often is really oriented around this future state. ‘Here’s what we’re we’re gonna be, this is why we’re a good investment because 10 years from now we’ll be doing this thing. It’s amazing, it’s disruptive.’ But then you go talk to a customer. And often, this vision pitch is a terrible, terrible way to describe to a customer what you do right now. Because you don’t do it it’s a lie! You don’t actually do any of that stuff yet, right? Your product doesn’t do that stuff. And so instead, if you’re pitching too much of this vision stuff, what happens is the customer kind of leans back and says, “That sounds awesome. That thing you’re talking about? When should I start worrying about that? What, five years from now? Maybe six years from now? You come back here and pitch me that thing when you’ve got it.” Or the vision is just scary. They’re like, “No, I don’t believe in that. That’s not what I’m investing in right now. That’s not what I want to do right now.”

So actually, what you have is: you’ve got this vision. You’ve got a strategy to get there that says ‘We’re gonna build these things first. And that’ll get us to here, then we’ll build these other things. That’ll get us to here. And then eventually, we’ll do this stuff. And eventually we’ll get to the vision.’ And for each step in that journey, you’ve got positioning. Positioning is the is the story of: why should a customer purchase my stuff right now? So it describes the value you can deliver right now. And that changes over time, we don’t just carve that in stone and leave it there forever. It actually evolves over time, because our product is changing, what we compete with this changing, our market itself is changing, the attitudes of customers are changing.

So I can give you a couple examples of this. One was, I worked at this company called Tulpi Retail. And our vision was that we were going to be this omni channel back end for retailers. So didn’t matter whether you were doing stuff online or in the store, it all works seamlessly. Order something online, bring it back into store, go in the store, we don’t have your size, no problem, we’ll order it for you and send it to your house. And so we had this vision and we were going to enable this in the backend. We take it to the VCs and they love it. Raise a big pile of money and the VCs are like “We love it, we love it, disruption, we’re going to disrupt everything on the back end, retail, fantastic. We see dollar signs great!” And then we go take it to the retailers and the retailers are like, “Hmmm.” So we go to the online side of the business, and they’re like, “You don’t understand how this works April. Online has taken over everything. We don’t care about what happens in the store. By the way, all our E commerce stuff is brand new, we’re not ripping that out. See ya.” And then we go to the in-store side of the business, and they’re like, “Oh, this sounds pretty good. But you know, all our stuff is separate from online. And so you should probably talk to them about that. I don’t know how we’re gonna get this done.”

There was no person to sell it to. And it was not clear which side we were actually providing value for. And so instead, we retooled the pitch. And so we looked at both, and it was harder to sell to the online guys, because all their stuff was new. So we looked at the in store folks, and we said, “Hey, what could we enable in store with the technology that we have? Forget the vision.” And we say, “Well, you know, the biggest problem the in store folks had was they’re trying to compete with Amazon. And so how do we make the in store experience relevant?”

So we ended up positioning this thing as a mobility solution for sales associates. And what it did was kind of superpower your sales associate; they could bring up different products and compare them on a tablet with the customer there in the store. They could do price comparisons and do price matching. If you didn’t want to take it home with you today, we just order it and send it to your house. And so this was actually super easy to sell even though it was a different story from what we sold the VCs, a completely different story. But then when we went back to the VCs, we’re like, “Look, we’ll do the sales associate tablet thing. Then after that, we’ll start doing clienteling and we’ll do order online and endless aisle and a bunch of other things. And eventually what happens is our stuff is in there. It’s creeping around the back end and eventually it becomes this vision of the omni channel back end.”

So anyway, that’s me babbling on. But, I’ve probably spent more time talking about that in the last six months than I have anything else. People are really confused about that.

Bob Moesta
I think about the vision as the direction and the magnitude of where you want to go, right? So I had the pleasure of being able to work at NASA back in the early 90s. And one of the things they had you do is actually study how they got to the moon. Right. And there were three really different programmes: there was the what they call The Mercury, then The Gemini and The Apollo programmes. And the whole aspect here is though they declare they were gonna go to the moon, I think in 1961, they had already started with some of the back end stuff of just: “can we get a rocket in the air? Can we do these different things?” And I think the aspect here is, what I advise startups and companies to do is to think that they have an altimeter like in an aeroplane. Like, where’s the time horizon that the person you’re talking to is thinking? The customer is not thinking 10 years out, but the investor is. And so that pitch has to be different than the customer who’s worried about tomorrow, or next month or next quarter? And so part of it is to realise what’s the time horizon that you’re really looking at? And understand what progress do they want to make relative to that time horizon.

When you fly to Hawaii, you’re actually 90% of the time off target, on your way to Hawaii, you’re never flying directly. And so part of this is to realise as a startup, or as a software company we’re planning when we know the least. And so part of this is to realise we can have a vision, but it’s all about the corrections and all about the tweaks that we make along the way. And what I would say is I leave the vision to a small group of people, but I don’t feel like having to explain the vision to the customer too early. To be honest, it actually scares them and makes them feel more vulnerable, versus the things and problems we can solve for them today. And so part of this is being able to figure out what they’re struggling with and what progress they want to make. And then from there, adjust the pitch to the to the time horizon that they actually are looking at.

April Dunford
Yeah, and I’ll use this other example because I think it’s really cool right now. So I don’t know if you’ve been watching this Metaverse stuff.

Bob Moesta
What is that?

April Dunford
Oh, this is like everybody’s talking about this now. People are really excited about the metaverse

Mark Littlewood
Raise your hand if you know about this stuff.

April Dunford
So Facebook recently did a little demo. People describe it as, if you’ve read that book or seen the movie Ready Player One. The book that the metaverse people all cite is this book called Snow Crash. And it’s funny because both these books are like totally dystopian, the world is terrible. But there’s this, you know, virtual world that is actually like an interconnected set of virtual worlds and this sort of blurring between physical reality and a virtual world. And so this concept of the metaverse is a steam right now. And so one of the folks talking about this is CEO of Epic Games, he’s a really neat guy. And so he’s been talking about the metaverse and, you know how we’re kind of heading towards that. And if you think about Epic Games as a game company, you’re not really getting it, like what we are is we’re the company who’s going to take you to the metaverse.

And so here’s the problem, right. So the problem is: that’s really compelling to a certain group of people. It’s compelling for the investors. It’s compelling for techy people. But if you look at who they sell to, they sell the big brands that are trying to do digital stuff. And so I walk into a meeting with the CMO of coke, and I’m going “Metaverse, Metaverse, metaverse. You know, it’s like Snow Crash.” And the CMO of coke is like, “that’s great. Love it, love that diversity. But how am I gonna sell some pop right now? That’s what I need to do. Because, frankly, I don’t care about anything else.” And so, you know, they have to have a story that says, this Metaverse thing is coming. But you got to give me some compelling reasons to do something about it right now. And there’s got to be some value in it for me right now. Otherwise, I’m gonna say “You know what, it sounds cool. But it also sounds like it’s way in the future. So come talk to me next year, maybe the year after.”

Bob Moesta
A lot of times, especially when you think about a technology or what you can do versus what the market can accept, you need to create half steps or quarter steps, so people can get there. And again, sometimes they want to know where they’re going, sometimes they just want to make the half step. Right. And so part of this is to realise like, again, where are they coming from and being able to understand those kinds of aspects to it. And so, to me, again, if you’re truly innovating, there’s so many unknowns around it, you’d have to think about being able to create the metaverse vision But realise that there’s so many things which we don’t know what to do that we should make sure we step it back a few steps so we can actually understand the migration path to get to the metaverse.

And so part of this is that, once we see it, we want to – especially as entrepreneurs – once we see that vision, we want to tell everybody. What I’ve had to hang myself on is “Right, okay, I’m gonna leave that vision to a smaller group and realise what’s the half step or the quarter step that then I can actually rally everybody around to know that that’s where we’re going. But if I tell them how far I want to go, they all either get scared, or they tell me it’s impossible. They tell me all these other things.” And so part of it is to realise that that’s why I think you bring up the point that there’s positioning and then there’s strategy. And strategy is about that long term thinking to figure out the direction and the magnitude. And in a lot of cases, to be honest, I’ve helped companies actually define strategy by eliminating what they don’t want to do, not finding what they want. But it’s more about narrowing it into this area. And we’re going to go this way, right. And so part of this is being able to realise that strategic discussions are different, right? And again, if you think about investors, there are long term strategic partners to help you get to that vision. So that’s why that makes sense. But when you talk to people who need your help, and who are going to pay you dollars today, you got to be able to focus how your vision or how parts of your vision is going to help them make progress tomorrow.

April Dunford
Yeah, yeah. Totally agree with that. I drew this little thing for these guys I was working with last week, but I don’t know. See, look at how high tech this is.

Bob Moesta
I love it. I just have this. I have this version of it.

April Dunford
Yeah, that’s right. You got the high tech version of that. I got that. Let’s roll the whiteboard over here. I love it.

Bob Moesta
I love it.

April Dunford
Here’s your vision up here. Your strategy for: this is how we’re going to get from here today, up to here. But you’ve got these steps along the way, right? Like, first we’re going to be this, then we’re going to be this, then we’re gonna be this. And each one of those needs positioning. Like each one of those has a sales pitch that goes with it that you say, “here’s what we’re selling now. Here’s the value we can deliver.” Then we get here. We’re like, “Oh, here’s what we’re selling now on the value we can deliver.” Then we get here. “Here’s what we’re selling now in the best we can deliver.” Which is different.

So if I took this Metaverse thing as an example. If you look at what Epic Games is doing, there’s all this cool shit. So like, they have this thing they announced with Ferrari. And so they made a super realistic Ferrari car, and you can drive it around inside fortnite. and it’s like a Ferrari, it goes way faster than any other car in fortnite and all this stuff. It’s super cool. But they also use that same representation of that car, in their builder online. Like when you buy a Ferrari, you get to customise it. So the in the product builder online, it’s the same car, the same digital asset. And then they also use the same digital asset when they went to build a commercial for the car for the launch. And so that’s very Metaverse thinking, having digital assets that span across these different uses in different contexts and things like that.

So there’s some examples here, where you could say, “Well, I’ve got this very high quality representation of my thing that spans across these different virtual places. And then I can move into doing things that are a little bit more complicated where I’ve got like, what they’re doing with Balenciaga. You know, I can sell you the shirt, you can buy the shirt online, you can buy the shirt for your avatar inside fortnite.” And then who even knows what this thing looks like, when we finally get there, we don’t quite know yet. But the important thing is, I can’t sell you this, I can’t sell customers this, I can only sell them this.

Bob Moesta
Right. And that’s the difference between positioning and strategy. Right. That’s the thing is, people think they’re the same thing. But the fact is, they have different time horizons wrapped around it. And I think the fact is, is to realise I need the positioning today to be encompassed to the vision where we want to go, but it doesn’t actually have to articulate the entire vision, because at some point, the vision should actually be way farther out than most people can comprehend.

April Dunford
Exactly.

Bob Moesta
Right. And so you have to separate the two. I think the other thing to me is that what I’ve done is, most people have a vision and then they make it very, very concrete. And what they do is they measure how far they are from that vision. And what I would suggest is that you want to keep the vision very soft in some ways to talk about the progress you’re making, from where you were to where you are. As opposed to working at the distance or the gap analysis of like, how far are we from our vision. Because people end up getting motivated by the progress you make, not necessarily by how far away from the vision they are.

April Dunford
That’s exactly it. That’s very jobs thinking.

Bob Moesta
That’s right.

Mark Littlewood
I think this is a great opportunity for me to crash in and shut this one down and ask another question.

Bob Moesta
Aw! I was getting all ready to draw!

Mark Littlewood
But Bob, this is your question next!

Bob Moesta
No, no. Okay.

Mark Littlewood
So a really great way to kick off. Talking about asking the right questions. Bob, how does jobs help you ask the right questions?

Bob Moesta
I think of jobs as a method, right? But I think the reality is, is this notion of progress has got to be the underlying frame of how you have to think about things in terms of what does progress look like? And what direction and magnitude, how fast do I want to go places? And what you realise is that, from a product perspective, 9 times out of 10, we want to go way farther than the customer does. And so part of this is to be able to actually ask, not only good questions about the fit, but you have to realise that our vision is actually devoid of the context of the future. And so part of this is to realise good questions come from understanding context. And what you’ll realise is that the irrational becomes rational when you actually wrap it in context.

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So good questions come from basically making sure you understand where people are coming from, and where they want to go. Right? And so to me, being curious to make sure you understand their words and what they mean. A lot of times, people will use words and say, “oh, yeah, I know what that means.” And then I’ll go and I’ll pretend like I don’t, and it turns out that their meaning to that word is very different than my meaning. Right? And so part of this is to be able to make sure that you actually understand where you are, where they are, where they want to go, and how do you fit. And ultimately, that, to me is what positioning is about, is being able to communicate to people. One is, most people actually don’t even know where they are. Right? They don’t have the words to talk about the struggles they have, or the problems that they have, or that they’ve hit a milestone where they have to do something different. And so part of positioning has to have that information in it. But then it has to actually talk about the next step. The next outcomes that they’re really trying to seek? And it’s those things that create the value for the positioning.

April Dunford
Yeah, totally agree with that. Yeah, totally agree with that. It’s interesting, that concept of context. Because I talk about that a lot in the companies I work with. Positioning is kind of a hard concept to get your head around. So thinking about it as context setting for products, it makes it a lot easier. But one of the things where I thought the job stuff was really useful in my work too, in addition to that, was this idea that we often make really poor assumptions about the context of how the company is thinking about us in terms of the competitive landscape, like who do we actually compete with? And so we’ll go in assuming we compete with the other products that look like us. So I got to position myself against those other products. But then I go into the customer and the customers like, “My dude, I do this on Excel. Why should I give up Excel?” And in their mind that’s the context. “Is this better than Excel? Why should I get off Excel to do this thing?” And we’re in there talking about all the esoteric little reasons why you should pick us versus XYZ competitor and they don’t even know about them.

Bob Moesta
I worked with a mattress company and one of the things we realised was the greatest competitor to a new mattress was a bottle of Z quill.

April Dunford
Right

Bob Moesta
And the simple ad was: “How many bottles of z equal do you need before you realise you need a new mattress?” 27% increase in sales. Just helping them understand their context and realise, “oh, maybe that’s what’s going on.” Part of this is to realise that their context actually makes it seem that sometimes the competitors are very, very different. And though we have industry competitors, primarily set by – what I call – the church of finance, or how these business models work, but the consumer has no idea about that. And so you start to realise though, we think we compete with Casper and Helix, the consumer reality is, they’re not even at a mattress yet. And so part of this is to realise if we help them understand that they need a matress, they actually don’t shop that much because nobody really wants to look at a thousand different mattresses.

You need to realise, what do you really compete with? Right? I go back to intercom right? Intercom’s first initial positioning was: all your data, cradle to grave, for your customer in one place, right? That was the vision. And it was really about helping small startups run the software side of the customer interface side, right? Well, it turns out though, in one job, it competes with HubSpot, and in another job it competes with Zendesk. And so part of this is to realise that depending on their context, all of a sudden, they actually have different competitors. And so that’s actually the moment where you start to realise you actually might have to price differently, customers might actually come from very different places. And so all of that comes back to being able to understand: where are your customers coming from? What do they struggle with? What does progress really mean? And how does your product fit in? And so all those questions are really at the core of where I start, for anything that I’m helping to develop. It all starts with that, because if there’s no struggling moment, then to be honest, I’ve not been successful just convincing people to buy.

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April Dunford
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. That never works. You know, the other thing that ties into that is this idea that I see a lot in the positioning work I do where we’ve got the cross functional team, right? And so when we get talking about competition, it’s amazing how different parts of the organisation see that competitive landscape really differently. And so a lot of weak positioning that I see in companies comes from this idea that sales is kind of positioning against one kind of competitor. But product folks are thinking about a completely different competitive set when they’re building new features and prioritising stuff. And then marketing’s got their own view of it. And so if you go into sales, and you say “Who do we compete with?” They’ll name the company that they lost the last deal to

Bob Moesta
That’s exactly right.

April Dunford
Right. It’s like “Oh, Oracle. They kick our ass everywhere. Oh my God, every time we see them, we can’t win.” But if you look through their data in the CRM, typically b2b company is losing a third of their deals to no decision.

Bob Moesta
Right. Right.

April Dunford
And what’s no decision?

Bob Moesta
I have that number way higher. Yeah, I have that number in the almost in the 80s. Like it’s a large, large number. And I think part of it is-

April Dunford
And that’s just the ones that got into a deal process. That’s not even counting the ones that dropped out way earlier in the pipeline somewhere because they were like, “You know what, we can’t even figure this out.” And so what’s no decision? It means you lost to the spreadsheet, you lost to the intern, you lost to DayQuill.

Bob Moesta
That’s right. I think part of that gets back to the idea that we don’t actually help people make decisions. In demand side sales, I talked about what I found to work very well is to always give them three alternatives. Because the first thing they’ll do is they’ll eliminate one, right? So it’s like, “Oh, we can start this way. Or we can start that way. Or we can start the third way. Right?” The first thing they’ll do is eliminate the one that they know they can’t do. So one, they made a decision. But the two that are left, what’s so interesting is they don’t compare them to each other. They compare them to the one that’s out. So they actually eliminate and they’re left with one. They don’t actually choose one, they choose by elimination.

So a lot of this stuff has to do with how you actually help. And so my next book is called Learning to Build, and one of the things I bring up is that a skill that really good entrepreneurs and innovators have is they know how to identify and manage trade offs. Right. And ultimately, most of the time why you get no decision is because they can’t make the trade off because the risk is too high. And so part of it is that you have to actually learn how to reframe the solution in terms of: does it make it shorter? Do you actually make them smaller parts? Do you actually combine it with other things? So part of this is those kinds of aspects.

April Dunford
Lately I keep coming back to this book Challenger Sale. I don’t know why I’m like super obsessed with Challenger Sale right now. It’s like this 12 year old book, but I keep coming back to it because I’ve decided everything in there is genius. But one of the things they talk about is, in their research when they looked at when a company failed to decide. So this no decisionsty, right? And then they went back and interviewed the companies were like, “How come you didn’t get to a decision?” They were really focused on complex b2b deals. So it’s b2b, it’s a considered purchase. So there’s kind of a purchase team. There’s not just one person making a decision. There’s five or six people. The reason they went no decision is they couldn’t agree on the approach to the problem.

Bob Moesta
Right?

April Dunford
So it wasn’t even like, “We couldn’t figure out who had the best solution.” It was like, this company has this approach, that company has this approach, this company has this approach. And then we have our own, like, we’re doing spreadsheets, whatever. And so let’s narrow it down to an approach. And then we’ll look what best vendor is to map to that approach.” And they’re like, “we can’t even figure out the approach.” And so in their research, what they showed was, a salesperson that could come in, and paint a picture of the whole market and say, “Look, these guys do it like this. And that’s really good if you’re this kind of company. And these folks take this approach. And that works really well. If you’re small, but you you’re like this, and therefore, here’s some things to think about.” This can help the customer kind of figure out how to get started on this thing and get past this paralysis.

Bob Moesta
I’ve been working with a company out of Detroit here called Autobooks who basically help small business invoice so it goes directly into your account. So you don’t have to go to PayPal or Square or anything like that. To have access to your money faster. And one of the things that we learned is that they kept having the demo. Once they get to a demo, then we got to close? Well, as we interviewed people to understand where they were in their timeline of buying, when they’re in passive looking and they asked for a demo, they don’t know enough to know anything. And so tell me some stories of what’s going on. Versus when they’re an active looking, they want to see all the possibilities and then deciding they actually want you to frame trade offs.

So instead of having one demo, we actually ended up creating three demos, and had people earn the right to the next demo. And we almost have the sales cycle, right? Because the problem was is they had one demo, they were trying to actually shove down everybody’s throat at the same time. And they didn’t realise the context they were in when they got or wanted the demo. And all they were was: demo close, demo close, demo close, everything led up to the demo. And they didn’t actually ask the question of: What’s the job of the demo? Why do people hire the demo?

April Dunford
What is the customer actually doing in the sales meeting? What are they trying to figure out? If it’s a first sales meeting, and it’s a somewhat complicated thing you’re trying to sell, the first sales meeting is often never about, “I’m trying to make a decision between three things and have already made the shortlist.” They might have a shortlist. But you have no idea. Again, you’re trying to figure out this approach. I’m trying to figure out how to think about everything, not just your stuff.

Bob Moesta
And there’s some there’s some great talks coming up on this stuff. So Claire Sullentrop’s doing a whole session on just copywriting and how to ask the questions, understand what the struggling moments are, and then be able to wrap that into a story that people can almost feel like they’re in the middle of, right? How do you do that? And then there’s some people that are talking about using jobs to understand partners, buyers, users, and kind of that stack of things in the b2b side, and how do we put them together? And to realise I got to figure out when I’m talking to buyers – so in Otterbox case, I’m going to talk to the banks – very differently than I talked to the small businesses. And if I don’t actually satisfy both, the model doesn’t work. But I can’t actually say the same positioning to both. Yeah, that is the fallacy. And then we try to build one message for everything. And it literally goes awry. And so part of this is knowing how to separate and when to separate, right?

And then Asia is going to be talking about the go to market strategy and how you use jobs to help frame the go to market strategy. So there’s gonna be a lot of people talking about this in terms of asking those really good questions. But then once you have those answers, how to then package it, to help, you know, kind of both bolster sales, understand product and understand kind of markets that you want to go after. But my thing is, is that ultimately, jobs is about this notion of progress.

Two things I’m doing now, one is my next book, so I have a book coming out in January. But the next one is, I’ve been studying for two years, what causes people to say “Today’s the day they want to leave this company to go to the next company?” So what progress do people make by switching companies? And ultimately realising that employees hire companies more than companies hire employees, and understanding the package. The job descriptions are written like a real estate agent; four bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, 3000 square feet, you know, all these things. But, they don’t tell you how to live in that house. And so we’re actually doing a disjustice. So I feel like the struggling moment of the premise was: how many people actually don’t like their job and want a new job? Well, that number is actually way higher than we think it is. And the fact is, is most people just don’t know how to go look. And so it’s called Your Next Thing, it’s the working title right now. And so, jobs is that aspect of asking very deep questions about: What does progress really look like? And what are the trade offs you’re willing to make? So I’m excited for the next three days, because that’s all we’re gonna be talking about: framing the right questions, right? Because I think Einstein said: “If I have one more hour to spend on anything I’d spend 55 minutes on trying to frame the problem right and ask the right questions. Because once you do that, it’s easy to get the answers.”

Bob Moesta
As you are spending your time here. My ask of you, as a participant, is to actually understand and write down some of the struggling moments you have, and why you hired this conference, to what progress you want to make. Because the more you can be explicit about the progress you want to make, it’s easier to grab the things off the shelf and make the decision of what you want to do. But if you look at that agenda, and you can’t figure out who to go to, you got to ask yourself: why? Why do I want to go to this one? Why do I want to go to that one? How’s it going to help me? What are the things that I think’s going to happen? And how do you actually know how to actually pick? And so the clearer you can be on the progress you want to make, the easier it is for you to digest the agenda.

Mark Littlewood
April, Bob, thank you so much.


Bob Moesta

Bob Moesta

Founder, The ReWired Group

April Dunford on Bob Moesta 

“You folks know, Bob, at least most of you do. Bob’s one of the fathers of and deep thinkers around Jobs to be Done (JTBD). Anybody that has any interest in JTBD, Bob’s the go to guy. We met each other a few years ago thanks to Business of Software and, for me personally, it’s been really good to talk to Bob, like for a couple reasons.  

Jobs to be Done stuff really changed my thinking on positioning, like, there’s a lot of cross sectional points there. And so I think JTBD is one of the foundational things you figure out before you figure out a lot of downstream things. So that’s pretty cool. Bob also published an excellent book recently, too – ‘Demand-Side Sales’. “

April Dunford

April Dunford

Author, Obviously Awesome

Bob Moesta on April Dunford 

“April is one of the best positioning people in the world that I know. She’s had a background in both sales and in marketing, but she knows how to dismantle a management team and help them to be able to see kind of the true value proposition they’re bringing to the to the market as opposed to what they want, and being able to have it resonate with the market. She wrote the book, ‘Obviously Awesome!’ 

Every time I get in a conversation with April, we have like 10 minutes, and we take two hours. It’s one of those things where we were almost like the notion of cold fusion, where we just end up kind of vibrating every time we talk. So I’m so excited to have the opportunity to spend some time with you. “


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