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  • #4326


    I found myself a little caught up on the 5 whys in this last assignment because I had already discovered what I thought the solution was and think I was just was working backwards to get there. Anyone else feel the same? Is there a way to do it without actually asking your target audience?

  • Unbiased 5 whys?

    Andy updated 6 months, 1 week ago 3 Members · 3 Replies
  • Marshall

    November 12, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    I’ve had the same thought as I’ve done a bunch working with Mark.

    Sometimes I think about it almost like a decision tree from each “Why” but only choosing one “decision.” So taking more time on each step instead of taking the first, most obvious, or my preconception.

    So if the problem is “Airpods are too expensive” there are multiple problems behind that.

    • They’re too much money (obviously not helpful. Too much money for who?)
    • I/people can’t afford them (points out that I’m not saying too expensive for who)
    • They’re too expensive compared to the alternatives (further emphasizes I need to know the market/alternatives)
    • There are better uses of money than spending them on Airpods (for who? what other uses?)

    Now, I’d actually probably go back and change my first problem to something like – Airpods are too expensive for low-priced/entry-level iPhone owners who don’t have other Apple products.

    How can I be more specific with the list of those possible whys now?:

    • They already spent so much money on an iPhone and don’t want to spend more just to talk.
    • They can’t afford them because they spent a lot of their disposable income on an iPhone.
    • They don’t want to spend ~$150 for headphones when they can get cheap knockoffs on Amazon for less than half of that.
    • They don’t want to spend more money on technology and would rather spend it on other non-tech purchases.

    Ok, so now those are more specific and cover a few different paths to follow. I want to take one and rephrase it more simply now.

    Why #1: Apple is charging me more money just to talk on the phone and listen to music.

    To get to the next why, why is the problem behind that for the audience. Well a few possibilities:

    • Apple always overcharges me on things I don’t need.
    • I don’t notice the difference between high and low quality sound.
    • I wouldn’t use Airpods or earpods like that to listen to music if there was an easier option.
    • Talking on the phone is a big part of the phone and I’m annoyed I need another purchase to do it well.

    So maybe my Why #2 is: I don’t think I should have to pay extra to do the basic functions of a phone.

    That’s a very different direction I would’ve thought I would go down when I started with “Airpods are too expensive.” Arguably I went more than just 2 Whys, but if you look at those lists, they’re all at the same level of why. Maybe I don’t need to get all the way to 5 on this one but I would keep drilling down.

    Hope that helps!

  • Mark

    November 12, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    Oooh. Trick questions – I like them.

    What to do when you think you have the answer?
    1. Wean yourself off the idea of “having THE answer”, of being “right” or “wrong”.
    Start here. At some point, you’ll need to declare the problem, the insight, and everything else but try not to see this as a journey to being “right”.

    2. Trick your brain with numbers.
    Ego makes us inflexible. Set yourself a goal of listing X number of problems, of rewriting Y number of insights. You can give yourself a time limit, too. This way, you over-ride your brain telling you that you are already “right”.

    3. Remember the definitions and mechanics we’ve discussed.
    I’m pointing out the ego a bit here because the way you wrote your problem and the way you restated it were the same – the 5 Whys hadn’t shifted you.

    What to do when you can’t do research?

    To be precocious, the kind of strategy we’re discussing depends on understanding people. So, without research we are without strategy.
    Intuition and personal experiences can be useful but an over-reliance on them can make us lazy.
    A quick look at Reddit, consumer reviews, Quora, expert reviews can shine quite a lot of light on a topic like Airpods.

  • Andy

    November 15, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks @marshall

    Thanks @markpollard

    This is really great stuff.


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