JTBD Melbourne First Meetup


The phone buzzed, I wrapped up my client thoughts and rushed to Coles collecting cheese, crackers, chips, dips and headed to ThoughtWorks. Tracy from World Vision was already waiting for me, a tad early and offered her help, thank you Tracy. Andy let me know the office band was going to rehearse tonight, right next to our meeting room, ah well some background music never hurt.We grabbed a Pinot Noir from Red Hill, a few plates and spread them across the room with snacks. I sat down poured some wine for Tracy,  and a nip for myself.

A little anxious I double checked my watch, checked my iPhone, checked my watch again. Six people should be showing up according the RSVP. Shit! I realised the building entrance and lifts don't work without a pass at this time, I better go down stairs, Tracy waited in the room. I rode the lift down to the foyer, the phone rings, it's Steve "We're stuck, can't get to level 23, where are you?", "Just come back down to ground, I'm here, I'll take you up!" The lift opened, it was the rest of the RSVP crew, a great feeling to see Steve, Frankie, Nadia, Ben and James. We grabbed a drink and surprised Tracy, I asked permission to record the night for others whilst showing off my ZOOM mic, generous nods of approval and we got started.

Steve kicked off the night with his story, a long history in the mobile space, currently working for Telstra. Interestingly he spent time at Nokia and was very aware in the pre-iPhone days of Clay's Christensen work on disruption theory, Nokia culture made it required reading, we had a little chuckle at Nokia’s expense.

Frankie is partner in a startup grocery service and worked with me at ThoughtWorks. We did a bunch of interviews on ThoughtWorkers buying houses and shared our discoveries [note: should write about this] with the group. I was impressed, Frankie has done many interviews for his start-up since and I’ll be keen to learn more.

Ben, a UX Designer from Thirst Studios, had only recently discovered JTBD via a tweet from a friend. He wants to dig a little deeper and understand why people use products to do particular tasks. He has noticed gaps in some of his work, perhaps there is a bigger picture to look at and JTBD might be of help.

James from PageUp People had only found out, through Nadia, yesterday and watched the milkshake video at 5:00pm today. He described himself as someone who tends to have roles intersecting with technology and a client problem. “I give data back to clients, try and add some value, they do something with it, but we don’t know much about what they do with it”.

Nadia a product manager, also from PageUp People, who looks after the recruitment part of their software learnt from my presentation at product camp. Some recent changes have prompted her to reconnect with JTBD and wants to help her team have better methods of talking to customers.

Tracy is a Team Manager at World Vision, we did some interviews together last year and has been influenced by JTBD thinking. How can it help with the work she does with the Marketing team? And talked about the positive and negative organisational forces JTBD has revealed to her.

Why meet-up?
I felt the need to talk about motivations, nothing prepared. At the time I was trying to convey the thought that I learn best when knowledge is shared, when you practise you learn and when you teach you learn what you don’t know. The conversation flowed onto "What CustomersWant", distinguishing between needs and wants. Frankie reminded us how good Homer Simpson was at designing cars and Tracy reflected on doggie throwers-a plastic stick that picks up a ball and allows you to throw it, most people would think this product was an efficient thrower, but we suspect it's more popular because you don’t have bend down and pick up a slimy slobbery ball!

Deeper Discussion
We entered into a frictionless conversation about what we have been thinking and what has influenced us. We circled around method while I recycled the story of how it led to meeting Chris, Bob, Ervin and the research projects I have been doing. I figure these projects might be the best way for us to learn. Christian is also looking to kick off a JTBD group in Sydney and we hope to find a way to cross pollinate via video or in person as some of us travel.

Next Step
Most had heard of the switch interview technique, Frankie suggested we do a live interview, the rest take notes, timelines, capture forces and then share back at the end. We know other groups have done this and we might flavour it with a mission, help one of us out with a project of sorts, the group was happy to see what works. I need to set up a reading list, we’ll meet once a month and stick to a CBD location for now. Everything in Melbourne is done over espresso, some of us will catch up in between meet-ups for deeper learnings.

Our first meet-up went for over 2 hours and was a memorable night personally and received similar feedback the next day. It was nervous getting to this point, but we’re on the bus rolling forward, looking towards our next meet-up.