Was catching up on my https://stratechery.com/ backlog of emails – BTW if you are in tech or VC and you don’t subscribe…
Nothing more I can say.
But on to the post – Ben linked to an old Marc rant on product/market fit. It is such a goodie though.
The only thing that matters is getting to product/market fit.
Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.
You can always feel when product/market fit isn’t happening. The customers aren’t quite getting value out of the product, word of mouth isn’t spreading, usage isn’t growing that fast, press reviews are kind of “blah”, the sales cycle takes too long, and lots of deals never close.
And you can always feel product/market fit when it’s happening. The customers are buying the product just as fast as you can make it — or usage is growing just as fast as you can add more servers. Money from customers is piling up in your company checking account. You’re hiring sales and customer support staff as fast as you can. Reporters are calling because they’ve heard about your hot new thing and they want to talk to you about it. You start getting entrepreneur of the year awards from Harvard Business School. Investment bankers are staking out your house. You could eat free for a year at Buck’s.
The post is a long one and of course does not answer how to do it but is simply stating that it is all that matters. You can have a great team but never find the market. You could have an amazing product but never find the market. You could also have a shitastic product at the same time you discover the market.
No matter what you need both. The product and the market.
Ironically, once a startup is successful, and you ask the founders what made it successful, they will usually cite all kinds of things that had nothing to do with it. People are terrible at understanding causation. But in almost every case, the cause was actually product/market fit.
Because, really, what else could it possibly be?
Much to ponder…