Jobs-to-be-done is a term introduced by Harvard Business School Professor Clay Christensen to explain that customers aren’t buying your products, but rather hiring them to get a job done. Other people have stated this concept in different ways. As far back as the 19th century, Thomas Edison said, "Anything that won't sell, I don't want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success." A customer's job-to-be-done is the utility a product should satisfy.
In the 1960s Theodore Levitt at the Harvard Business School was famous for saying, "People don't want a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole." In other words, focus on the customer's job, not the product, in order to achieve success.
And more recently, Steve Jobs said product development should "start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology." The job-to-be-done is the customer experience. And Apple became the most valuable company in the world with this focus.