Let’s try something new. I’m going to journal my thoughts on this concept, how it relates to Fixable, and hopefully end up with something publishable.
Thanks to Jason Fried, I was turned on to the podcast The Circuit Breaker with Bob Moesta. Jason recommended an episode where they unpack three things Bob likes to say. Now let me be honest, as I’m writing this, I don’t recall who Bob is. But I listened to the podcast and I liked what they had to say and I’m going to keep going.
Apparently Bob talks about innovation and product development. In doing so he will say “your product is not the sandwich, it’s probably the mustard.” It’s a tasty phrase and your guess about its meaning is probably correct. Your product is not everything to your customer. It’s part of something bigger, whether that’s getting a specific job done, getting all their jobs done, or the entirety of living their life.
When Apple does “lifestyle” marketing, that’s such a good example of understanding the sandwich. I know why I love my Apple watch. And so does Apple. Because it compliments the important shit I want to do – go for a run, listen to music, communicate (if absolutely necessary) – without distracting from the run. I want to run, not carry a bunch of junk.
Running does at least three mental things for me. It helps keep stress/anxiety/negativity at a super low level. It increases my ability to think – both creatively and on complex tasks. And it causes me to think. My best thinking occurs in the shower and during runs*.
As a founder and engineer, I think about our product, Fixable, way more than any other human on Earth. That puts me in the bad position of thinking it’s way more important, impressive and memorable than it actually is. But Fixable is the mustard, not the sandwich. That phrase grounds me. Which should help us build and market much better.
Fixable is a marketplace. v1 was a classic marketplace, curating matches between homeowners and home service pros for virtual advice. We’ve pivoted a bit – internally we’re on v4 – and landed on marketplace again. (Oy vey!)
Not only are we the mustard on the sandwich. We’re on two different sandwiches. We’re two different mustards. We need to think deeply about that. Which I will do. On a run. (Then I’ll come back here and share some of the ideas.)
* There used to be a third place for great mind wandering creative thinking – on the shitter – but social media and news have ruined that for me.
** I looked up Bob Moesta. Jobs to be done. I know his work well. Unfornately, I guess his name isn't well hooked up in my brain.