Michael C Hogan

Agile Product Development & Innovation Strategy


What Jobs do Facebook and Instagram do?

My response to the Quora question, “”What does the Instagram for Video decision look like to you through the lens of JTBD?”

I’ve begun following the Jobs-To-Be-Done discussion on Quora. I’ve been interested in the topic since I first began learning about Focus Purposes of Breakthrough Thinking and the #jtbd offshoot of Clayton Christensen’s Innosight design consultancy.

I’ll hypothesize that video is worse at that job than still photography. It requires more specialized equipment and higher bandwidth to view, which means it’s harder for people to check quickly and it’s harder to check away from the TV or PC at home. That means it’ll be some time before video matures enough to disrupt still images for this JTBD.

The Instagram job seems to be different, something like “capture moments in my life so that people will want to see them.” Photo filters and simple sharing enable that job to be done, while it’s still relatively hard to make an amateur video into something that people will want to watch. Again, video filters are a long way from maturing enough to make bad video look good but we are seeing them mature to the point where image stabilization is allowing video to begin to overtake still images in action sports.

They key is to ask: what unique job can video do that still images can’t do?

One answer that we see emerging on the web today is that video is much better than still imagery at documenting skill and technique. If people want to show how good they are at something, that’s typically done on video. Still images can’t do any of the jobs below very well:

Document the fastest Mario run…

Catch college recruiter attention with quarterback trick shots…

Show how to maintain proper form during an exercise…

One area where online video is uniquely qualified is live-streaming of video game play, an emerging sport that is too low end for traditional premium sports channels like ESPN and requires motion in order to capture the high level of skill and technique involved in game play. See Video gamers: the secret stars of live streaming (gigaom.com).

While the above are potential examples of where the “Facebook of Video” JTBD will take us, what does the “Instagram of Video” JTBD have in store?

The worst part of video is often camera movement. Bad camera movement is the equivalent of bad exposure or lighting (the stuff an Instagram photo filter fixes). My guess is that as object tracking technology gets more affordable we’ll begin to see many more cameras automatically filming various types of scenes. This will happen first in action sports using modded A.R. Drones and DIY Drones. Then, as the drones get smaller and less intrusive it’ll carry over to other tasks. For an idea, check out the 4:10 mark in this video.

Now, imagine if they were using A.R. Drone object tracking instead of manual control mode… that’s the Instagram of Video (or at least one of the many possible outcomes).