If you combine these two statements and add the missing words, you can clearly see what Steve Jobs was saying: “customers don’t know what products (i.e. solutions and technologies) they want, but they certainly know what job-to-be-done (i.e. customer experience) they need to accomplish.”
This is profoundly different than saying “customers don’t know what they want,” meaning that they don’t know what needs they have. Companies make this mistake all the time. Here is a simple example. If you asked a thousand cooks what products they wanted, they would almost certainly never come up with the microwave, which would require extensive technical knowledge and expertise.
Interesting perspective that Ron Johnson happened into success at Apple by not understanding what made them successful. Steve Jobs was clearly a fan of the Jobs to be Done framework1, but misapplied, you get what Ron Johnson did: trying to copy the external features without understanding “why”.
- The Innovators Dilemma was the only business book he read, as was discussed in his biography [↩]