Being pulled forward with product-market fit
I’ve always liked this particular definition of product-market fit:
When you get pulled forward by the product, instead of constantly pushing with little to no results.
But I’ve never quite sat down and thought through what it really looks like, so here goes – a mix of real world experiences and opinions, based on my journey running the only product that’s pulling me forward - Plugins For Carrd:
What it truly means to be pulled forward due to product-market fit:
- When people want to help you succeed, like telling you great opportunities or connecting you to the right people with the opportunities. E.g. just yesterday someone tried to connect me to collaborate with another Carrd creator. Just today, someone told me to create keyword alerts on Twitter for “carrd”, so that I can engage and share links - why didn’t I think of that before?
- When I don’t do much marketing yet the sales continue to come in. True story for my plugins project. The first 1-2 years I didn’t do much active marketing, because it was a side project. But yet the sales kept coming despite.
- When I’m constantly pulled forward by new ideas and opportunities, to the point where I feel like I’m just reacting reflexively (in a good way). E.g. I saw someone do a RT hack to the Black Friday launch tweet, and immediately I had to just go tweak my launch tweet before it got sent out. Or someone asked a question about how to create a feature or solve an issue in Carrd, and I. Have. To. Go. Create. It. Now.
- When customer enquiry/support gets overwhelming. Ok not there yet for me, but even now with 3-4 sales per week, I’m feeling the additional customer support load. Imagine when I’m doing hundreds of sales a week or day!
- When I enjoy the work. Ok this is more founder-product fit but I feel it does link back over to product-market fit, because to make the product fit the market you need to iterate and improve it over time, and it’s only sustainable over long term if I enjoy the work. Work like creating new plugins, helping people with their Carrd problems, talking to others about Carrd.
What other things do you think indicates product-market fit?
When I lost my job at the start of the credit crunch in 2008, I started working on some apps that I thought people would buy. They were just PHP scripts mainly, not user friendly or that helpful in the long run. I just had it in my head that they would be a good idea and started making them. They didn’t sell (what a shock!) and those who did buy them were confused with what they were for.
Just because I thought they were a good idea didn’t make it a good product.
Then, I started hanging around in a few internet marketing forums, looking at peoples pain points with WordPress and was able to create a plugin to address that problem. It started with a small feature set and grew organically as I added more options and reacted to customers needs. Not that it ever made me rich or anything, but it did prove to me that finding that pain point was the key, even if it was fixed through a sloppily coded product.
I think hanging out and listening to the audience is the best way, even if it just gives you some more ideas to build into existing products.
@tao Never heard you mention that story! That definitely resonated, because that’s basically what I’m doing now with my Carrd plugins. All my plugins are inspired by helping others with their problems, like you did!