HOW CAN YOU TELL WHETHER YOU DO HAVE PRODUCT-MARKET FIT? - Deepstash
HOW CAN YOU TELL WHETHER YOU DO  HAVE PRODUCT-MARKET FIT?

HOW CAN YOU TELL WHETHER YOU DO HAVE PRODUCT-MARKET FIT?

Time spent building a business around the product alone is pointless. A great market means succes if both the team and the product are competent.

A marvelous product is useless in a terrible market and even if the team is great, they will get demoralized if customers do not show up.

You can have an OK team and a buggy and incomplete product but if the market is great and you are the best product available success can happen both suddenly and quickly. That success won’t last unless those products are fixed, but at least the business has the beginnings of something wonderful.

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MORE IDEAS FROM 12 Things about Product-Market Fit - Andreessen Horowitz

WHAT IS PRODUCT-MARKET FIT, REALLY?

More iterations of a product are needed until it becomes market-fit. The most important aspect of a company is its market and then the team.

“If you address a market that really wants your product — if the dogs are eating the dog food — then you can screw up almost everything in the company and you will succeed. Conversely, if you’re really good at execution but the dogs don’t want to eat the dog food, you have no chance of winning.” Andy Rachleff

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WHY MARKET MATTERS MORE THAN ANYTHING

The three "legs" venture capital look for in a valueable business are

  • people
  • markets
  • innovative products

Entrepreneurs resonate with one of them more, depending on the situation.

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THE PROCESS BEHIND PRODUCT-MARKET FIT

Start with a hypothesis, test it, prove it, move on or further iterate on the hypothesis. After a series of build-measure-learn iterations, the process is more of an art than science. Startups should start with the product, then find the market:

  • What are you going to build?
  • Who is desperate for it?
  • What is the business model you are going to use to deliver it?

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What the term "product market fit" describes?

”The moment when a startup finally finds a widespread set of customers that resonate with its product.” Eric Ries

”You know you have fit if your product grows exponentially with no marketing. That is only possible if you have huge word of mouth. Word of mouth is only possible if you have delighted your customer.” Andy Rachleff

Nate Promoter Score is a great tool to aproximate the level of customers' satisfaction for a product(a good score should be > 40), but does not compare with market feedback.

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Some founders think they have product market fit when they don't

Many founders think that users will immediately pay for their product, but in reality things are harder. 

Ideally in the easiest stages of a product development process pull is happening organically (i.e., without any advertising spending).

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Iterate as quickly as possible

“In general, hiring before you get product/market fit slows you down, and hiring after you get product market fit speeds you up.

 Until you get product/market fit, you want to:

  1. live as long as possible 
  2. iterate as quickly as possible "

Sam Altman

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PMF Myths
  • Product market fit is always a discrete, big bang event
  •  It’s patently obvious when you have product/market fit
  • Once you achieve product/market fit, you can’t lose it
  • Once you have product/market fit, you don’t have to sweat the competition

Markets and the actions of competitors in that market (which are not always visible to outsiders) are always changing. Constant adaptation is therefore required to retain PMF.

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First to market fit is almost always the long-term winner

Once a company has achieved product market fit, it is extremely difficult to dislodge it, even with a better or less expensive product. Facebook was not the first social network either.

The target is not only product market fit, but also "product market scale".

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Founder market fit

Venture capitalists generally tend to invest in companies that already found their PMF. They let the founders do the heavy-lifting.

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Premature scaling

A mistake usually made is trying to scale the product before it became product market fit. Most start-ups need 2-3X more time to validate the market than expected. Early adopters is not the same with the market and the danger of early traction because of the revenue generated by early adopters is big.

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First find product market fit then make the product robust

If customers do not want to buy/use the product, it does not matter how many features it has or how flawless it is. The path to PMF is discovery-based and then the company must find a sustainable growth model and create a moat against competitors and so on.

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RELATED IDEA

It refers to the fact of designing a product in a more complex way than necessary:

Overengineering (or over-engineering, or over-kill) is the act of designing a product or providing a solution to a problem in an overly complicated manner, where a simpler solution can be demonstrated to exist with the same efficiency and effectiveness as that of the original design.

In the context of software: Code or design that solves problems you don’t have.

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The PMF Report Card

John Danner of Dunce Capital created it as a way to track the progression of a startup from ideation to Series A. The stages are benchmarks for measuring product market fit:

  • The magic refers to value proposition, the excitement people have when exposed to your approach to a clearly stated problem. 
  • At each stage, you need to get to at least a “C”. 

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Companies need better software to manage day-to-day finance

The tools that exist today for tracking and managing financial operations are outdated. Furthermore, payment complexity is increasing as businesses become global.

Large companies try to keep up by creating homegrown solutions with many engineers and operations specialists. For example, companies like Airbnb and Uber have 200+ employees tracking their real-time financial health.

Then there are the breakdowns in these payment operations, such as when Citibank accidentally wired $900M to a hedge fund.

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As companies continue to expand globally and new payment methods are created, there is an increasing need for a new generation of “financial operations” (FinOps) to help businesses manage their money.

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