Johnson Cook

Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Johnson Cook - Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

So Very Nuanced, that Product Market Fit

One of the most talked about concepts among startups is product-market fit (PMF).  It comes up in daily conversations, monthly updates, investor conversations, and is a regular topic of startup blogs (like this, this, this, and this). 

Because entrepreneurs are so goal oriented, we crave a definition. We crave a SMART goal where we can see how much farther we have to go to get there.   We want a deadline, a date, and a hard stop on the current phase.

Yet PMF continues to be difficult to define. Some of the definitions you will hear, just for SaaS companies. 

  • when you close X non-friendly customers in X time frame
  • when X non-friendly customers are talking about the product, and giving tons of feedback
  • when 2 account execs and 1 BDR can consistently and predictably close deals
  • getting to $1mm ARR
  • getting to $1.5mm ARR
  • getting to $10mm ARR
  • you are growing MRR by 10% per month

So how in the world do you know what your goal is? What are you pursuing?

The truth of the matter is that setting a hard numeric goal as the “PMF finish line” is difficult.   Remembering that PMF is a spectrum is important. As Feld says: 

Every time you work on something new, whether it’s a new feature, a new product, or a new product line, recognize that you are searching for incremental product/market fit. The search is a continuous and never ending quest. Don’t confuse illusion with reality.

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