S. 2 Ep. 22 – What You Can Learn From Ordering Milkshakes For Breakfast

Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 2 Ep 22 - What You Can Learn From Ordering Milkshakes For Breakfast with SpeakerFlow and Bob Moesta

So, I’m assuming you’ve already read the title and that means, you’re likely to have questions.

In today’s episode, we’ve invited a legend in innovation and product development.

He’s launched over 3,500 new products, services, and businesses across nearly every industry and has built and sold several start-ups.

He’s one of the principal architects of the “Jobs To Be Done” theory, a framework he created with late Harvard Business School professor and innovation mastermind Clayton Christensen.

Who is this legend you ask? Bob Moesta!

And today, we’re talking about why your clients actually buy from you, who your true competition is, and what you can learn about growing your business from ordering milkshakes for breakfast.

This is an episode you can’t afford to miss.

So, let’s dive in!

Watch the Podcast 👀

Listen to the Podcast 🎤

Show Notes 📓

✅   If you’re interested in connecting with Bob and learning more about his work, connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobmoesta/

📷   Watch the video version of this episode and subscribe for updates on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYAr3nGy6lbXrhbezMxoHTSCS40liusyU

🎤   Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/

🚀   And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/

Read the Transcription 🤓

Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking. We’re your hosts, Taylorr and Austin and in today episode, we have invited on a true legend in innovation and product development. He’s launched over 3,500 new products, services and businesses across nearly every industry and has built and sold several startups as well. He is one of the principal architects of the Jobs to Be Done Theory, where he worked with Harvard business school professor, and innovation mastermind, Clayton Christensen to create the framework. Who is this legend, do you ask his name is Bob Moesta. And today we’re talking about why your clients actually buy from you, who your true competition is and what you can learn about growing your business from ordering a milkshake for breakfast. This is truly an episode you can’t afford to miss, so as always stick around until the end for some awesome resources, and we hope you enjoy this one, see you in there. And we are live. Bob, this is an incredible opportunity. I am so thrilled that you’re on the show today. Thank you for coming on.

Bob: Thanks Taylorr. Thanks for having me, and hi Austin, how are you?

Austin: Oh man. It’s so great to have you. I couldn’t be better. This is one that we’ve been looking forward to for a long time. You’ve been a major source of inspiration to both of us so thank you again.

Bob: I’d love to hear how but I’ll let you take the lead and then I’ll follow up with the questions of my own as we go through the day.

Taylorr: That sounds good.

Austin: Deal. Cross interview, I like it. So we have so many fun things to talk about, but for the people that are watching video, I was really hoping that we could take like two minutes for you to demonstrate what is probably the most sophisticated and coolest camera recording setup I’ve seen in a long time.

Bob: So, I don’t know about that, but I would say this gets to my ability to innovate and my curiosity and my standard that we can always do better. And so I started with one camera and then I realized like, okay, there’s got to be different angles because we see everybody the same way. So I added a second camera that allows you to kind of look for me from the side. But at the same time I want to draw something, I have an overhead camera that allows me to actually kind of… I got to adjust it a little, look that way. But now it’s like, people go, well, where are you? And I can go like, well I’m in Detroit, Michigan, and this is what it looks like my window. Or hey, you want to see what it looks like for my office? This is this is everybody who’s standing in my office. And so I have switch that allows me to go back and forth and I can actually show you from this view, if I go back out, I have this switch over here that literally helps me switch between eight cameras simultaneously where I can literally just push I think it’s five and I can literally, oh, let’s see, I can share my screen without actually clicking, share my screen.

Austin: That’s so cool. 

Bob: So crazy. So it’s one of those things where I usually would fly to people or people would fly here, but when COVID happened is like, how do I get people to feel like they’re in my office or in the design studio with me when they can’t be here? So I have four rooms basically with anywhere from four to eight cameras in it so you can see all these different things so you can get the feel like you’re still here.

Austin: Yeah, man. It’s wonderful and it speaks to how you think about doing business too, which is cool. So thank you for living out what it is that you teach other people how to do.

Bob: In some cases I drink my own Kool-Aid but sometimes as my wife would say, it’s a bit much.

Taylorr: Yeah, I think I’ve heard my wife say that exact same thing so we’re in similar boat.

Bob: We’re in the same boat.

Taylorr: That’s right. So, Bob, obviously we have a lot of context for your background, but our listeners might not so expert in innovation, what can got you down the path of innovation and what kind of excites you about it? How’d you get started in this whole thing?

Bob: What I will tell you is the way my mom would describe it is she say I was an engineer out of the womb. Meaning I literally was breaking in things and like, how does this work? And what’s that? I was the king of why. was that little kid who asked a thousand question all the time. Primarily, as a little kid, I got into a lot of trouble, but the thing is, I end up getting into a place where I actually end up having three close head brain injuries and I really can’t read and I can’t write very well. I’m technically the diagnosis dyslexic. But the reality is, is that I learn through talking with people, and I learned through questions, and I learned through observation. And so I remember like my idea of fun as a kid was my mom would say, we had an old Bonneville, Pontiac Bonneville and whatever we could fit in the trunk, we could bring home.

And so we’d go on what we call big trash day. And I would go collect speakers and old high fis, and I’d up having this big collection of couple hundred woofers and tweeters and all the midway and everything. And I ended up building speakers by the time I was 13, I had my own little speaker business selling bookshelf and stand-up speakers, and I learned cabinetry and all this other stuff. So I’ve been building for a long, long time and then since then I have four mentors, and this is one through four up there, and number four up there is Dr. Deming. And I met him when I was 18. And he’s the gentleman who went to Japan and basically helped reinvent Japan. And he’s the father of the Toyota production system, if you will. And he taught me so much about innovation and then to Gucci and everybody else. And so to be honest, it’s one of those things, as I like, I’m not sure, I would say I’m an innovation expert. I love to create things, I love to build things. I’m just naturally curious and I have this notion that we’re all trying to be better in our lives and I just try to focus on where do we make improvements and where do people struggle, so we can actually go innovate.

Austin: Man, what a cool story. You lean into the things that you felt naturally inclined to do. You can usually see somebody that’s very passion oriented from a mile away and that is, I think, obvious for you.

Bob: What’s interesting about that is, I didn’t really find my passion until I was about 35. One of the things my mom realized is she said, if, because when I got labelled as being dyslexic, I ended up going into a, basically they just had a room at the end of the hall where you’d go sit. It was 1972 so there weren’t like programs for people who were dyslexic, it was just, you were looked as having special needs. And so my mom, we moved, so we moved out of that district and she figured out how to help me learn my own way. So she taught me how to lip read by the time I was seven, she taught me to read. My first view of a page as I see all the spaces in a paragraph so she’d say, all right, let’s circle the large words and then let’s figure out what those words are and what would these five words have in common. 

And so she taught me so much about kind of who I was and what I was about, but the thing is, she made me the promise not to tell people because they would treat me differently. And so what I would say is when I was 35, I really got to the point where I was having medical issues and some different things going on and I realized like I can’t spell and I need to tell people I can’t spell. Because like in my performance [inaudible 07:28], like you got to work on your communication skills. I’d spend an hour a day trying to learn how to spell, I do spelling words all the way up until I was 35. And finally, when I realized I know what I’m good at, I know what I suck at. I’m going to just focus more on what I’m good at, and that’s when everything kind of fell into place. So that that’s one of my things is to help people understand, look, we’re all bad at things, but us working on what we suck at doesn’t make us better.

Taylorr: Oh man, that’s cool. So true.

Austin: I feel that in my chest.

Bob: And so if it took me an hour to write an email, but I could actually go do analysis, I could do 10 times more analysis than most people can do in one day, in one hour, but you want me to go write an email? Like, nah, I’m not doing that.

Austin: Yeah. It’s weird that there’s really this societal expectation in so many areas, and I think that this is especially true for entrepreneur to put so much focus and attention into fixing the things that we either don’t like about ourselves or that are our weaknesses when in reality, like what you just said, if you just lean into your strengths and do the things that you love doing, and that you’re good at doing, you’ll have way more of an impact. And then there’s other people that like doing the things or are good at doing the things that are your weakness is and then it’s just a matter of pairing those two things together.

Bob: Well, I think that’s the key is. So I have a business partner, is name’s Greg Engel. We’ve been business partners for 17 years. We’ve worked apart for three months and we vowed after that three months to never work apart again. Whatever I do, he gets a cut of whatever he does, I get a cut of. Just it’s like unwritten, but he is my exact opposite. So what I hate to do, he loves to do and what he hates to do, I love to do. And so this notion of very finding your, almost your kind of inverse twin is essential because all of a sudden, you can talk about your vulnerabilities and they can literally cover for you and you can cover for them, and you’re so much stronger together than separate. And so most people are usually attracted to people who are like them, but the more you can find somebody who’s not like you and actually get along, it’s very special.

Austin: Yeah. 

Taylorr: Wow. What a great lesson. So, we have our original conversations I think was a few months ago now, already Bob. 

Bob: Yes. 

Taylorr: We were talking about the work that you were doing with Jobs to Be Done Theory, it’s actually how I learned about your work originally with Clay Christensen. And so I know many people may not have even heard of Jobs to Be Done theory yet, especially as an innovation framework. So I’m curious, can you unpack that a little bit and what got you on that journey to establishing that framework? Because I would imagine that would happen after the 35 mark, right? Is that…

Bob: Yeah. Well… 

Taylorr: That’s kind of when the journey started to unfold?

Bob: To be honest, it actually happened a little bit before, because it was one of those things where, when I was building new product, people would give you marketing research reports. And when you go to read them, first of all, couldn’t read them and they would all be words and it would be all about here’s what people want. And what happened is, is you go talk to people and they say, oh yeah, I want this. And then you build it and they go like, eh, no, that’s not really what I want, and you’re like, wait, but you said you want it. Oh, I wanted it back then, but not now, and you start to realize like, there’s this huge gap between what people say and what they mean, and when they’re really going do something and when they’re just kind of espousing something and you start to was that customers lie.

And so what I did is I went and learned interrogation techniques, both criminal and intelligence interrogation methods to learn how to talk to customers about figuring out what they really wanted. And what’s interesting is when I worked in Japan, they had this notion of what they call the Technology Agnostic Requirement. And it’s one of those things where I tilted my head and said like, well, what the hell does that even mean? They’re like, I want to know what people want without telling them what I have. And so ultimately it got to, they don’t want a car, they want to go from point a to point B. And I can actually put a car in there, but I can put a thousand other things in there as well, and so instead of talking about the solutions, it’s about the context that people are in and the outcome that they want, that then enables me to take many technologies and put them together to innovate in.

And so it’s almost like I’m surrounding the situation and being able to understand what’s the progress they’re trying to make that then enables me to figure out what are the better solutions to go build. And so it was this whole hack around that for me in the very early days, it was about me trying to understand what the marketers were talking about when they said they did market research. And over time I started to share my hack, if you will, with Clay, and Clay’s like, this is really interesting. And so we end up doing it in different places and we did a lot of it in the food industry to start, or the consumer package goods industry. And then ultimately we built a method and a tool and I’ve got software, and it’s one of those things where clay in 2017, basically I helped him write a book around it called Competing Against Luck and then from there, I, you know, I’ve been basically building and helping companies do it. 

Like I said, I’ve been working on over 3,500 products over the last almost 40 years. And to be honest, it’s one of those things where it’s almost like night vision goggles. I can walk into something I know nothing about and start to ask five or six questions that just let everything kind of unfold, and it’s notion of causation and what causes people to do things, as opposed to thinking that people buy things randomly

Austin: That’s right. 

Taylorr: Yeah. That context is something that stands out to me. I feel like the situation at whic they’re choosing to buy something or use something matters so much, context is everything.

Bob: So I call that like the reference point. It’s so interesting, I work with a company that built mattresses, and you basically say, well, the competitor to mattresses are going to be Sleep Number, and Casper, and Helix and Sealy, Serta, Simmons all those people. But the real competitor from a consumer perspective is a bottle of Zzzquil. [Inaudible 13:16] and sleeping in the [inaudible 13:17] And you start to realize like, when do people need?….So instead of running an ad like we’ve got the best mattress, it’s like how many bottles of Zzzquil do you need to take before you realize you need a new mattress?

Taylorr: That’s right.

Bob: 18% increase in sales. So this is kind of the point is that most of the time as product people, we make our world revolve around the product, so what do people do around mattresses? And the reality is we need to take a step back and insert ourselves into people’s lives and then understand how does a mattress fit into people’s lives. So it’s flipping the lens almost 180 degrees.

Austin: Yeah. Man, I think that’s the important thing here is like, we’re still to talking about the same outcome, which is selling more mattresses, but it’s doing it in a way that’s not just focusing on the mattress. We see this all the time when if we’re writing, copy, let’s say for a website or email, the more you use I language, the less interesting it is, the more you use you language, the more somebody’s willing to pay attention because it feels like it’s being targeted it to them. It sounds like maybe it’s a similar idea [inaudible 14:18].

Bob: It’s similar, but the thing is, is that I always, I always try to have people write copy that reflects the conversations in people’s head. So it’s like, when I’m just not getting a good night’s sleep, as opposed to do you not sleep? It’s like, I’m saying it from a different… but if you say like, helping them understand it from their perspective and realize like, why do you toss and turn… so for example, I think one of the coolest parts is like, people would say I get hot at night. And so you’d ask people around the [inaudible 14:50], like, do you get hot at night? But we actually heard the stories over and over again, and they go like, yeah, I throw the covers off, I stick my leg out, that’s how I cool myself down. 

And so when the questions we ask people, it’s like, do you stick your leg out? And half the people go like, are you watching me? How do you know I do that? What are you talking about? And when you say, are you hot at night? It’s like, well, sometimes I am, sometimes I’m not. I don’t know how to answer that question. And so you start to realize like there’s very specific things and, and what I call the layers of language and there’s this pablum layer where people just say, you know, I want to sleep better. Well, what does that mean? And like how do you know you don’t sleep better? And how do you know you don’t sleep well now? And you start to realize, you have to unpack all this information from what I call the pablum layer, past the fantasy and nightmare layer down to the causal layer. What causes people to do things. And once you understand this causal layer, again, it’s like the matrix you can start to see like, oh, this and this and this have to happen for them to decide to do this. And it makes the world so much easier to build product for, by understanding the causes as opposed to the pablum that people use.

Austin: Yeah. That makes sense. So something that you said earlier that might be a method of you doing this is you said, if you ask why five times you end up uncovering that there’s a different reason than they thought even was the original reason for why they were doing something. Is that like one of these strategies here? 

Bob: Yeah. So it’s actually one of the, like I’ll say one of the core underlying premises I learned when I was in Japan, is they call the Five Whys. It’s learning how to ask the question, not from a judgmental perspective, but from a curiosity perspective. So for example, one of the things I’m working on now is just studying why people leave one position to go to a new company or to a new position. What progress are they making by basically firing their old boss and hiring a new boss if you will. And so part of this is, is asking why, so people say like, well, I wanted more money, but when you ask why five times on that money turns into, I want more respect, money is, I need more money because I have obligations and so it’s, I need money to support my family. And so it’s not the money, it’s why they want the money that’s actually really important in designing the job. 

And so it’s this why part that you realize, like, my example to me is, when you ask people who would like more money in their next job, everybody raises their hand. That’s the sign that it’s a pablum word. But if you actually say like, I want more respect or the fact is boy, I’m underpaid for what I’ve been trained in or, they don’t actually trust me, that’s a completely different thing around money is the way they see that they get respect as opposed to the way than just money.

Taylorr: Wow. That landed so hard for me, Bob. And also it reminds me of the story…

Bob: Why? Wait, wait, wait, wait, why did that land hard? Tell me why it resonated.

Taylorr: Yeah. I feel like especially just in the client work that we do just kind of personally, we hear all the time like, oh, I want to make more money, I want to have a bigger business, I want to grow like all these things but every time we get into the root causes of why all those things are true, it’s usually for other reasons, aside from just growing for the sake of growing. There are personal and emotional reasons why somebody has the aspirations that they do. And it’s not so much that their symptom is that they don’t have enough business, but it’s usually something else, and so I just kind of noticed this in the work that we do on a day to day basis, that once you get to the root emotional cause people really start to share with you the reasons why they’re thinking the way they’re thinking.

Bob: One of the things that I realized is that the banks and the community would always say like, you got to be growing, if you’re not growing you’re in trouble. And my whole thing is, I think four or five years ago, I’m like, I don’t want to grow. I literally don’t like managing people, I want to actually do the work, I would rather just stay where I’m at and just kind of help people this way then try to grow too big. And I realized that all my growth pressure came from other people, not my desire to grow, but everybody else telling me if I’m not growing, I’m not good and it’s like, that’s just not true.

Taylorr: It’s not, yeah. We don’t want to grow for the sake of growing. We got TO ask ourselves why we’re even thinking about that first.

Bob: You got to dig deep. And I think this is part of it is to think about, I’ll spend way more time understanding the struggling moment in people’s lives, why this struggle exists, how they’ve tried to solve it before I actually go design anything. But the moment I actually know that it makes designing the product 10 times easier, because I know the boundaries, I know what the trade-offs are, I know how much they’re willing to pay for things because of the context and outcome that they’ve described. And the interesting part is consumers don’t understand technology or any of the solution space and so they’re only going give you what they know, not what’s possible. And so it’s this aspect of being able to pull ourselves out of the product, understand this frame of the job they’re trying to get done, and then throwing a combination of technologies into it that enable you to actually build really good, solid pieces of technology. They don’t have to be the best, but they actually do the job really, really well.

Taylorr: Really well, that’s right. This reminds me of the first story, I think is the first story, correct me if I’m wrong. It’s one that stands out the most in competing against luck, the milkshake story. About solving problems with milkshakes. Can you unpack that story for our listeners?

Bob: Yeah. So one of the things it was revolved around the notion of asking a fast food company, it started actually at the premise of what’s the least productive piece of equipment in the store. Thing that you have assets in that actually isn’t selling enough that if you could actually get more out of square footage of it and it turns out like the milkshake machine and they’ve been trying forever to kind of make it bigger, make it different. So this is back in the mid-nineties, and one of the things we did is we found a bunch of stores that were selling milkshakes before eight in the morning and it turns out that the law or the franchising group said that they couldn’t actually turn on the milkshake machine until like 11 o’clock or something like that.

And so we went to these stores and we started to look and watch people and you start to realize like what they were literally going through the drive through grabbing them milkshake and getting on the freeway and driving to work. And it turns out these stores were basically about an hour from downtown when one was in Atlanta, one was in Dallas, one was in LA and you started to realize like, these people were eating it as if it was breakfast. And you’re like, hold on a second, what are you doing? Why is it? And for them it was carbohydrates, fat, protein. It was no different than having cereal to them. It was something that would sit in their stomach, it would sit in the cup, and they’d talk about all these other candidates of a bagel and a banana and these other things and you start to realize, this was something that they figured out would help sustain them to lunch. 

And so we basically said, well, how do we actually replicate this and understand how many other people want to have breakfast but don’t, and can we actually build something around it? And we end up building smoothies. And so we tried to take that machine and modify it so we could actually build yogurt smoothies out of it and it turns out that it, it went very well, but by the time we got to trying to implement it, there was a labour shortage around cleaning the machine between the morning and the afternoon shift and so it got rejected. But the whole point, and eventually somebody else picked it up but to this day, I would say, McDonalds is the largest smoothie producer in the world because they understand that job very well. But they built it 17 years later and so part of this is to realize, you can see these solutions way earlier, but sometimes the market has to catch up to it to figure it out. Because back in the day, there were no protein shakes, there were no, there was not even very much yogurt smoothies back when we found all these things.

Austin: Yeah, man, it’s so cool that it’s just a matter of taking the time to pay attention and ask the questions. There was nothing that you just described there was magic, was some magic formula. It was just paying attention and asking why people were behaving the way they were behaving.

Bob: That’s right. [cross-talk 23:01] And I always say that we innovate all the time, we just don’t think that that’s innovation. So somebody who drive up and says, I’m going try a shake this morning. They’re innovating because they have this struggling moment and they’re literally going, like maybe I should try that, and once they find it, it’s like, yeah, it’s just normal. But the reality is like, that’s not normal for everybody and there are many other people who struggle with things, and so all innovation starts with the struggling moment. You can’t convince somebody do something if they don’t have some form of struggle, because they don’t even have the mind space to create see it. Clay says it best, he says questions, create spaces in the brain for solutions to fall into. 

Taylorr: Oh wow. 

Bob: Nice. And so when you say it that way, it’s kind of like, what’s the question you asked to basically get to a milkshake for breakfast. And once I understand that, now I can actually figure out how to build something better.

Austin: Yeah. Wow. That’s so cool. And maybe this leads into this five wise idea too, but one of the books that’s inspired me a lot in recent memory is The Coaching Habit. And they talk about this problem where if you’re coaching somebody, if you don’t drill down enough times, you end up coaching the ghost, which is basically like trying to solve a problem that’s not even the actual problem because people’s reactionary ideas to what that struggling moment, I guess in your words, is isn’t even actually the thing that’s deep enough. So is that the bridge between these two ideas is taking the struggling moment, but drilling down deep enough to where you understand the core thing?

Bob: Yep, exactly. And I think part of this is not only, like you said, asking the questions, but it’s listening to the answers and listening for what you don’t know what they mean. The thing that I’m most surprised about out of all of this is like how bad we are all at communication. Because somebody say like, oh, let’s go out to dinner tonight. Okay, when is dinner? What do you mean by dinner and [cross-talk 25:04]? 

Taylorr: What do you want?

Bob: [Inaudible 25:06] There’s a lot more questions around that and you start to realize like, and what happens is people almost assume it’s like, oh, well that means let’s go the here, let’s go there. And it’s like, well, there’s a whole other set of meetings behind that small statement, they said that and you have to unpack it or decompress it to basically understand what it all means. And so a lot of times we just pass over words and we assume we know, and what I will tell you is that nine times out of ten, almost every word has two or three really, really different meanings. When you’re talking about software, it’s like, oh, I need it to be easy. And you’re like…

Taylorr: Austin, we’ve heard that before, huh?

Bob: Wait a second, easy where? Easy when? Easy how? And then when you say, well, what does easy mean? They’re I don’t know, it just got to be easy. And then what you have to do is go like, well, tell me what hard is and they’re like, oh, I hard is this one has three steps, this one actually takes too long, and so they can tell you more about what hard is, but not what easy is, but you need to be able to learn how to derive what easy means from both sides of this, what I would call the, the ying and the yang of what we’re actually looking at, which is the good and the bad somewhere in the middle. And so this is why unpacking is so important because we don’t know how to articulate what we want. My favourite is in this job thing we’re looking at is like, I feel like the job description for somebody’s as you applying for a job, it feels like you’re shopping for a house. Four bedroom, two and a half bath, we’ve got a walkout thing, we’ve got a gourmet kitchen. It’s like what’s it like to live there? No idea. But I think we should look at that house. But you have to then realize there’s all these other things, and we literally treat jobs the same way. If you got a four years’ experience, you have to be a PM, you have to be able to do this, you have to be able to do that. I need you to have communication skills, what does that mean?

And so this is why I think we have this lack of fit is because we don’t have enough resolution on what people really mean by the words and the progress that an employee wants to make versus the progress that the company wants to make. I’m to the point where I think that people hire companies more than companies hire employees. And that’s what we see in this great resignation is that separation of really helping people understand what progress do you want to make by going to this new company.

Austin: Wow. Do you think the reason in that oftentimes I guess maybe that’s too general of a word for this, but people just stop at the surface level. Is it laziness? Is it a lack of awareness of why they should drill down? Where does that come from?

Bob: I think there’s two things. One is, it’s almost like a threshold, there’s a threshold problem. One is the number of people who basically say, boy, I know this, isn’t the great job. I’d like a new job. Like almost 38% of people go, like, if I could get a better job, I’d take it. But nobody’s spending the time to actually figure out what that even means. The second part is then what happens is this builds up over time and there’s things that happen, and finally you’re like, oh my God, I hate this place, it’s toxic. I got to get out of here. And so what happens is people build that up, it breaks, they run from the old job and they usually then take the first, next job they get as opposed to realizing what they do And nine times out of ten they end up right back in the same situation, but at a new company.

Because they don’t realize that if I…

Taylorr: Core issues.

Bob: There’s so much more latitude about what you can do but we feel like, because I’m in this profession, I can only go right or left. But when you start to realize what you love to do and get really good at it, the latitude of your possibilities opens, it gets way wide. I had somebody who we went, took them through the process. They applied for a Nat Geo Coordinator, a design researcher at IDEO and a technical writer at a university. And it was like, you’d say like, well, this person’s not qualified to do any of those jobs, but given their passion, what they love to do and what they’re good at, they actually could be good at any one of those jobs.

Taylorr: That’s exactly right. And that’s not something companies really focus on too much. It’s a bunch of checkmarks like you said earlier that people need to hit before…

Bob: I think they they’re using a ladder and I feel like what we need is a a way in which to do the, what do they call it? It’s like climbing a mountain. I can plan how I’m gonna climb a mountain, but I really can’t actually make those decisions till I’m in the moment. Because I got to look at the weather, I got to know what time of day it is, I got to know what the footholds are, I got to know my skill sets and so my thing is, is we gotta think about it as planned ascension into what the next things are, as opposed to what’s the next rung on the ladder. I feel like the ladder analogy is kind of running out of steam.

Taylorr: Yeah. Well, when you told that story, I feel like there’s just looking at the next rung of the ladder feels almost like tunnel vision. We’re not even open to the idea of all the other possibilities that are out there A mountain has so much more context than an individual ladder does.

Bob: That’s right. And I think most people are falsely out of the impression that, you know, HR is job is to, to help you find your next position, and my belief is that most of HR is how do I fill the open positions with the people we have, whether they’re going be good at it or not. And it’s like, what’s the least of all the trade-offs to get there? My thing is, is what I’ve learned is I want to go find people who love to do that work and they might stay there forever, and they might actually decide that they want to do add more capabilities. People’s progress is on them, not on me.

Taylorr: Yeah, totally. I know we’re getting… man, I can’t believe the half hours are here. That is crazy. I feel like we could be here for days, so I have one question though, that’s just been kind of lingering in my mind and it’s probably also something maybe our listeners are wondering as well. We’ve talked a lot about like enterprise level innovation, we talked about McDonald’s a little bit, we talked about even retention and employees and HR and things, but as you know, innovation applies through the entire gamut. And so how can someone like a solopreneur, a smaller organization leverage this knowledge that we’ve been talking about? Are they excluded from innovating at the level that enterprises are?

Bob: No, no, no, I don’t think so at all. So one of the things I… so I wrote a book. Again, an engineer writing a…first of all I’m dyslexic So I having that being dyslexia, writing a book, I found a company called Scribe Media where they literally helped me organize my thought and I literally talked to them in 10 two hour sessions and they wrote a book. In four months, by the way. And so all of a sudden, next thing you know, I got another book and I got another book and it’s written in my voice and it’s written, and they’re my thoughts, but the fact this is, I’m not the one who’s writing it and ultimately they’ve been able to do it, but I wrote a book on sales for a couple reasons, but realized that most people think of sales as pushing a product and convincing people to buy.

But the name of my book is called Demand Side Sales, which is why do people pull things into their lives? And understand what progress are they trying to make by doing that, and how do we set up the sales process to actually mimic the buying process? Because it’s more important to understand how people buy than how we should sell. And so to the solopreneur or somebody who’s a small company it’s like, what progress are your customers trying to make? And the craziest part to me is like, there are virtually no sales professors in business school. How in the world is that even happen? I’ve done seven serves the hardest thing of all of it is sales and yet nobody’s teaching entrepreneurs how to sell. And so this book is now the foundation of the Kellogg Sales Institute at Northwestern.

It’s the foundational premise of basically how do we actually set up our sales processes to mimic how people buy? And so my thing is, as a solopreneur, I have to actually figure out the progress that if I’m going find a co-founder, what progress do they want to make? If I’m trying to hire employees, what progress do they want to make? If I’m trying to raise money, what progress do the investors want to make? And what you start to realize is that if you don’t ask five whys, you actually are almost flying blind. And so to me, the book Demand Side Sales is probably the single greatest book that they help them figure out their business and grow because it’s the value they create for others that create value for them.

Taylorr: Wow, That is gold. And just for the record, everyone check the show notes, I’ll put a link to Demand Side Sales, It’s an incredible read. Definitely go and check that out.

Bob: I’ve got another book that’s coming, it’s called the Five Skills of An Innovator And Entrepreneur. And it’s having worked with thousands of people over the last 40 year, I took like the 15 people that I worked with who are just natural innovators and kind of put them in a corner and say, what do these people do that other people don’t. And so it’s these five underlying skills that that’s coming out in April that  I’m very excited about, because it just talks about these skills that we don’t teach often enough, one of them is empathetic perspective. Most really good entrepreneurs and innovators can see things from other people’s perspective unemotionally. This is how the investor’s going look at it, this is how the customer’s going look at it and they can see how, where the conflicts are going happen by understanding the different roles that people have around the product. It’s so interesting.

Taylorr: Wow, I’m really excited to read that one. 

Austin: For sure. Actually I think this episode’s going to be releasing right around that time. So definitely go and check out, see if this the book is out yet for all of you listening to this show. Bob, again, I cannot believe we’ve already consumed a half hour. Thank you so much for coming on today and sharing all of your wisdom, this has been… I just learned so much every time we have a conversation. So if somebody aside from looking at Demand Side Sales in your next book, maybe wants to learn more about innovation, maybe connect with you as well. What’s the best way for them to do that?

Bob: The best way to do is LinkedIn. I’m open to basically having connections and being able to help people one on one and have coaching a little bit of coaching business that I do on the side. And then the Rewired Group is where my design studio is housed and we basically help people develop new products, we help build capabilities, we actually have training programs, all that kind of stuff going on in terms of what we do and it’s a small team, but we have fun every day.

Taylorr: Wow. Awesome. Well, we’ll make sure there’s a link to all of those things that you just listed down in the show notes as well so definitely everyone, go connect with Bob on LinkedIn. He shares some incredible of content. Thank you again for coming on the show, Bob everyone listening, if you like this episode, don’t forget to rate, it like it, subscribe to it and if you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources. Thank you so much for chiming in. I just wanted to take a second to thank our sponsor Auxbus. Auxbus is thee all in one suite of tools you need to run your podcast and it’s actually what we run here at Speaker Flow for Technically Speaking, it makes planning podcasts simple, it makes recording podcasts simple, it even makes publishing podcasts to the masses simple and quite honestly, Technically Speaking, wouldn’t be up as soon as it is without Auxbus. Thank you so much Auxbus. And if you are interested in checking Auxbus out, whether you’re starting a podcast or you have one currently get our special offer auxbuscom/speakerflow, or click the link below in our show notes.

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