Product-market fit can be hard to spot

Excerpt (with edits) from How to kiss your elbow by Jerry Neuman:

Marc Andreessen says “you can always feel product/market fit when it’s happening.” Unfortunately, this is simply not true. In B-to-B startups you can have a lot of buzz and a few amazing clients banging your door down and still have a product that doesn’t really do much. Or you can have a product that is absolutely amazing that great clients are beta-testing but that no one is paying for.

If you have a product and you have a market for that product, you should stop worrying and start scaling.

In the old hockey-stick curve there is a flat part and there is a steep part. That transition, the elbow in the curve, is hard to see, especially when you’re spending all your time trying to run your company. Here’s a question to ask yourself: if you think you can double revenue next year, what’s holding you back from increasing revenue by 10x? If the answer is that there’s no market yet, then keep grinding away at it. If the answer is not enough people or hardware for scaling, then start spending the money on hiring them, today.

Notes:
(1) Product-market fit is a continuum, not a single point. But if you’re not in “the zone”, you know it. Everything feels too hard.
(2) Is this a viable test of product-market fit? Could you meaningfully increase revenue next year by applying more capital? If so, you have sufficient product-market fit. It’s the same test for raising a growth round.

3 thoughts on “Product-market fit can be hard to spot

  1. Pingback: Don’t scale before you have product-market fit | A Founder's Notebook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s