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“Product market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market."
Marc Andreessen

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“Product market fit is the moment when a startup finally finds a widespread set of customers that resonate with its product.”
Eric Ries


Why is product market fit important?

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“First to market seldom matters. Rather, first to product/market fit is almost always the long-term winner.”
Andy Rachleff

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

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“The life of any startup can be divided into two parts – before product/market fit and after product/market fit. When you are BPMF, focus obsessively on getting to product/market fit.”
Marc Andreessen

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“Startups need 2-3 times longer to validate their market than most founders expect. Ee found that 70% of startups scaled prematurely along some dimension.”
The Startup Genome


How do I separate product and market

The Product-Market Fit Pyramid is an actionable framework that defines PMF in a hierarchical model using five key components. A strong grasp of the market components at the base of the pyramid is integral to supporting the product components above.

  • Each component is a layer of the pyramid that’s directly related to the layers above and below it. In the process of defining and building products, a startup forms hypotheses in all five areas.

  • The Lean Product Process, as outlined in The Lean Product Playbook, is a useful guide for working through the Pyramid layers, from bottom to top.

  • Product-Market Fit can be thought of as the measure of how well your product (the top three layers of the pyramid) satisfies the market (the bottom two layers of the pyramid).

  • The Pyramid separates the market into its two distinct components: the target customers and their needs.

  • It’s important to understand that without a solid understanding of the base layers - The Market - companies may require hard pivots or waste resources on the wrong target customer or problem set.

The Product Market Fit Pyramid from  The Lean Product Playbook , by Dan Olsen

The Product Market Fit Pyramid from The Lean Product Playbook, by Dan Olsen


The Product Market Fit Journey

The journey below outlines the standardized stages working towards product market fit. Though similar in aspect to the pyramid model above, this process lays out these steps, taken in order and then iteratively revisited, as product market fit is improved and honed.

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Continue to the next chapter

+ Introduction

What is Product Market Fit?
Why is it important?
How do I separate product and market?
The PMF Journey
Assessment Exercise

+ Problem Insight

Understand your customers
In person interaction examples
Customer research tips
Empathy map
Customer journey map
Other resources

+ Value Proposition

Customer profile - pains & gains
Value map - products
Mistakes to avoid
Critical assumptions exercise
Formulate hypotheses
Exercise Sheet - Value prop canvas

+ Problem solution fit

What is an MVP?
Determine what you want to test
Marketing MVP tests
WorldCover Case Study
Product MVP tests
Other resources

+ Launch & Measure

Designing lean experiments
A/B Testing
Lean experiment examples
What metrics should I use?

+ Iterate, pivot, or persevere?

Build -measure-learn
Keep in mind
Destacame Case Study
Where to focus in pivot?
Escala Case Study
Nomanini Case Study

+ Measuring PMF

PMF path
Must-have score
Lead indicator engagement data
How do I know when I’m at PMF?