Build Products That Solve Real Problems With This Lightweight JTBD Framework

In my work as an angel investor and advisor, I often find myself dishing out the same advice: Do the work to make sure you are building a product that people will actually find valuable. That requires an incredibly deep understanding of the user, their hopes, and their motivations, instead of taking the easier path of operating off of untested assumptions.

Many entrepreneurs may do this intuitively — but many others fail to cultivate a deep level of empathy for their users, which ultimately can lead to building the wrong product for any specific market. If you don’t put in the work upfront, you risk charting the wrong course towards product-market fit, which you may not discover until you’re facing struggling retention numbers or battling high user churn.

There’s a range of philosophies out there on how to avoid this trap and better approach early stage customer development, but in both my advisory roles and in my day job, I’ve come to rely on one framework: JTBD (jobs-to-be-done).

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