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The reasons why people choose to use your product

I’ve just finished reading Intercom on Marketing – and I would strongly suggest you grab yourself a copy. It’s a quick read – but that does not mean it is not packed with useful insights on things that you may already think you had a good grasp on. Always be learning!

One one of the things that stood out for me , was in the second last chapter in the book – Des Traynor – one of the co-founders has taken a look at the topic: How people buy your product. I won’t cover the 4 things he covers (you will need to get the book for that) but in the introduction to the chapter, he brings a great nuance to the Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) methodology.

If you not familiar with the JTBD methodology, you can read more about it here, but he shares the famous quote:

People don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill. They want a quarter inch hole.

Theodore Levitt

So you may have heard that before – or a version of it shared to you at some conference you attended, but Des goes on to share this bit… 

Some people are so familiar with their problem space that they’ve already made up their mind that they want a quarter-inch drill, and they’re actually going to go searching for a quarter-inch drill bit, not “hanging a frame”.

Des Traynor (Intercom on Marketing)

The JTBD method is primarily used in product design to try help you understand what jobs a customer hires your product for – but you can also use it in marketing to help you map out ways your product can possibly be pitched to potential customers.

It’s a subtle shift from the original meaning of JBTD in my opinion, but from a marketing perspective, it’s a great way to start understanding how you need different kinds of marketing based on the road a customer is on which may lead them to try your product.

Like I said, I highly recommend you get this book. It’s well worth it!

Blog Thoughts

Dribbble’s trick to drive revenue?

I am not 100% sure if this was their intent – but I have noticed a change on Dribbble of late – you used to be able to hover over a ‘shot’ and you would then see the description for what it is you were looking at – see the screenshot below:

This is no longer the case – you have to actually click the shot to get a pop up to appear with that information. Of course that pop up has an ad – so increased pageviews = more money. A simple change on their part, but it makes the experience of just browsing Dribble a bit frustrating now.

Blog Design Thoughts

A website is just a means to an end

Small business owners are not website focused. They require an approach that recognizes their entire business and context.

The quote above was a highlight from a recent customer survey conducted by Automattic – it seems pretty simple right. Or is it? You see, visit the homepage of most services that allow you to create a website these days – and most still say something about creating a website. It’s pretty clear from that insight above though that customers are not website focused. But what does that mean – what do you do with that insight?

I think we often get caught up thinking our customers want to go sit in a coffee shop, behind their shiny new Apple MacBook and spend the next few hours creating a pixel perfect website – but they don’t – that insight says as much. To me, it means that a website is not the end goal that a customer has in mind – it’s not like they have some checklist in their head and one of the items is called – Website – and they searching for the right service to use to check off that task – perhaps there are few that need it solely for that purpose – but I would argue that the lifetime value of those customers will be low.

From a product perspective, I believe we have to keep reminding ourselves that a website is a means to an end, it’s not the end in and of itself. In order to create a successful product – you should be building and positioning your product in a way that addresses the needs (or Jobs-to-be-done) that your target customers are looking to undertake. I work on the eCommerce side of Automattic – and we also find ourselves having to address this – very few customers come looking for just a website – they looking for a way to sell something – and the product that is best suited to help them sell that ‘thing’ in the best possible way to the largest number

Note: this post was originally published on th Automattic design blog.

Blog Thoughts


Focus. Such a simple word, but why is it so hard to maintain, never mind achieve!

I was watching an interview from June 2017 between Gustaf Alstromer a former product lead for Growth at Airbnb & Ed Baker a former Head of Growth at Uber in which they spoke about Scaling Growth if you interested in watching the full interview you can see it below…

Yeah, I don’t think there’s anything short term that will remain, like successful for a very long time so the best advice is invest for the longterm, whether it’s SEO, whether it’s paid marketing, whether it’s virality, take a couple of years, look out and see where do we want to be. And aim for, look for channels that actually do have true scale. Like channels that have hundreds of millions of people discovering products through those channels. And then invest for the longterm.

Gustaf Alstromer

Something about what he said struck a chord with me – it’s really easy to get caught up in all the various acquisition channels we have now – and it’s tempting to try to add your companies voice to another one of them, but this view really challenged me to take a step back and assess not only the channels your company/product could have success in but what channels are you currently showing the greatest success and growth in and make sure you are doing the best possible job you could be doing there to get the maximum value from those channels, before you start looking elsewhere.

Blog Design Thoughts

Your biggest user research asset

We speak a lot about user research at Automattic within our various product divisions and it’s easy to get your head down in the trenches and feel like you don’t have the time to come out to even see your users, never mind speak to them!

At times I feel like this, and in my role as the lead of the team responsible for maintaining the mothership that is and building out new features for it that benefit our customers, our list of projects is endless and the time to speak to customers is limited.

However, while working on a follow-on project to a new feature we launched recently, it got me thinking about how big a role your support teams could and should contribute to your understanding of your customers needs and/or desires about your product, or the biggest pain points that you could look to solve.

One of the things I have focussed on is building the channel of communication between my team and the various support teams within Automattic that support our product and in particular how our customers manage the purchases and downloads they make on

In this specific scenario, our Accounts team had perfected the method of transferring purchases between accounts over the years, even going so far as creating a Field Guide page (our internal WIKI of sorts) due to the popularity of the request for other Happiness Engineers who ran into the issue to follow.

What this did for us as a team, was provide us with a very clear understanding of what the ‘issue’ was that our customers needed solving. Essentially our support teams had already conducted the user research on this specific issue through answering multiple tickets that had the same request, and had provided the clear set of steps that we needed to automate – this allowed us to focus our time on making sure that we maximised the impact vs time constraint we had for this project by focussing on making the actual user experience for our customers as simple and seamless as possible.

I would strongly suggest reaching out to your support teams – they deal with your customers every day and might have some useful insights for features or improvements you could be making to your product.

So if you feeling like you not managing to speak to your customers directly at the moment, I would strongly suggest reaching out to your support teams – they deal with your customers every day and might have some useful insights for features or improvements you could be making to your product.

This post was originally published on our Automattic design blog.

Blog Personal Photos

Lightroom to WordPress

The team recently published a lightroom plugin that allows you to export your photos direct from Lightroom to WordPress – and it promised – No fuss, no mess!

As I was editing my photos from the Grand Meetup recently I decided to give it a try and see just how easy it was – and yes it lived up to the promise – no fuss, no mess.

If you are using (so a self-hosted site) you will need Jetpack to be installed on your site, as well as a account – but if you have both of those already – the set up is really simple and you can follow these easy steps.

The photos are added to your media library, where you can add them to posts, projects etc – really saving you time having to export from Lightroom and then re-import to WordPress.