She Needs A Drill


Why am I buying a cup of Starbucks coffee?

Because I have a problem. The problem is: “I don’t have coffee and I want it.”

But thinking ab it like this is too superficial.

Just like a doctor or a scientist, we need to dig deeper to the root problem or even need which makes someone wanna buy it.

What are the jobs that I (the user) am hiring that coffee/Starbucks for?

Energy. I believe that the caffeine in the coffee wakes me up.

Appetite suppression. When I drink coffee it makes me eat less.

Temperature. It’s cold and this hot drink makes me feel a little warm.

Convenience. I can get it right now, in a disposable cup, to go.

Status. A Starbucks cup carries a certain status that a kiosk coffee doesn’t.

Taste. I (subconsciously) tell myself that it tastes better.

Charging and wifi. My phone is empty and I can charge it at Starbucks and I can get work down without being disturbed using their wifi.


Thinking ab it like this probably already gives you tons of new product ideas that you could test.

Energy -> little Starbucks ‘ 5-hour energy’ shots.

Appetite suppression -> Starbucks caffeine pills.

Convenience -> not having to pay. Just pick up your order and walk away and get billed later somehow.

Status -> new premium line of Starbucks with special cups so users can signal that they can afford it and identify with that tribe of premium buyers. (Alternatively, you could get users to think ab Starbucks as partly a fashion brand. Which is smth Apple does as well.)

If you just ask what the problem is, you’ll only be able to “improve” the solution superficially.

“I guess we’ll make the coffee taste better or we’ll make it cheaper.”

But if you understand why the user is hiring that product, you’ll have a much better understanding of them as well as how to create products that serve their needs better.

As a final example, consider a possible buyer of a drill.

She’s not buying it cuz she needs a drill, she needs a hole.

But she doesn’t even need a hole, she needs to hang shelves.

But she doesn’t even need to hang shelves, she needs to organize her home.

But she doesn’t even need to organize her home, she needs the feeling of order, discipline and accomplishment she gets when she comes home and looks around and takes pride in how tidy and cozy it now looks as a young professional becoming an adult.

Understanding why she hired that product gives us a much better grasp of how to better serve her in the future than the unsatisfactory, old, problem model:

“What problem does she have? She needs a drill.”

RJ Youngling