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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Lerner

How do you achieve product-market fit?

Updated: Feb 22, 2021

Slack needed 7 years, AirBnB took 5, and Ivan’s been working on Notion since 2010. (How much runway do you have?) And is there a shortcut?

Like any big hairy problem, you need to break this into parts. But the order in which you attack those parts makes all the difference.

So what are the parts? Which one should you work on first? (And more importantly, which one should you work on second?)

I tell you in this week’s video!😄(And you can check out my new lockdown clipper cut - because 'done is better than perfect.’)


Video Transcription:

Is there a shortcut to finding product-market fit?

Slack took seven years.

Airbnb took five and Ivan says he's been working on Notion for 10 years now.

How much runway, do you have?

And is there a shortcut? I'm Matt learner from Startup Core Strengths, and let me explain. With any big hairy problem like

product-market fit, you need to break it into parts.

What are the parts and in what order should you attack them?

That makes all the difference.

So, the parts, the pieces-parts product-market fit are obviously your product and your market.

And then in between, you've got a need.

You have a proposition.

You have channels and you have a business model. Now, no matter what every startup always needs to start with the need,

understanding the progress that people are struggling to make in their lives.

What they're trying to do. That's why most great startups.

Most great products were built by people who are trying to scratch their own itch first.

Now, the tricky part, and this is the secret, most people

the second thing they do is try to build the product.

What I would suggest instead is to refine and iterate your proposition because you can iterate language much faster than

you can iterate code.

So your proposition is nothing more than the promise you're making to customers about what you're going to help them do


This is going to be a sentence or two.

It's going to start with something like "now you can" or "finally, you can" and then you're going to pay it off with some really specific

outcome like "Cook restaurant, quality meals at home" or "make photo books in five minutes" or "create custom landing pages with

no coding required."

So once you figured out what you think, is your proposition show that to some people, one at a time in person or on zoom.

And first, just see if they understand it.

Like "What do you think...

That's going to help you do?"

And then if they do, you need to find out if they're excited about it.

Now, remember the Mom Test, just saying "oh, that sounds great,

go build that," that's not validation.

You need to see if you can get some kind of commitment. "Would you pay 50 dollars a month for that?"

"Would you spend an hour a week beta testing our product?"

"Would you be willing to introduce us to some investors."

Those are serious commitments. Anyways,

Once you got a product that people are willing to make a commitment because they're that excited to use it.

Then throw up a landing page, put up some ads and start driving traffic to it.

And anyone who comes to that page and clicks "buy" and you can quantitatively AB test things at that point.

Anyone who clicks "buy" add them to your waiting list they'll be excited to be on a waiting list an exclusive first look access and

You'll have a bunch of potential beta testers and people who can look at wireframes and some validation to show your investors.

So, there's no, getting around it.

You still ultimately need to build an amazing product, but it's a lot easier.

If you start with a whole long list of people who are excited to use it.

I hope you find this helpful.

And if you do, we actually drop something like this.

A video or an email every week, so visit

And you can subscribe thanks.

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