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Finding Product/Market Fit


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Joanna Lord, CMO at BigDoor, shared her lessons learned from a few BPMFs (before product/market fits), a few APMF (after product/market fits) and some NFPMFs (never found product/market fits).

Lesson #1: The market wins
Lesson #2: Realize your product is not the product
Lesson #3: Start at the pain point
Lesson #4: Ask all the questions
Lesson #5: Be skeptical
Lesson #6: Minimum sellable product
Lesson #7: Double back…a dozen times
Lesson #8: Repeat after me: activation & retention
Lesson #9: Architect for speed
Lesson #10: Validate qualitatively, verify quantitatively

Joanna shared this presentation at the NEXT Program in Seattle (

Published in: Technology, Business

Finding Product/Market Fit

  1. 1. Finding  Product/Market  Fit   [OMG.PMF.ASAP.]   Joanna  Lord   CMO,  BigDoor   @joannalord   NEXT  :  April  30,  2014  
  2. 2. What  is  product  market  fit?  
  3. 3. Product/market  fit  means  being  in  a   good  market  with  a  product  that  can   saUsfy  that  market.   hXp://   -­‐  Marc  Andreessen  
  4. 4. A  repeatable  and  scalable  sales  model.     -­‐  Steve  Blank  
  5. 5. Achieving  product/market  fit  requires  at   least  40%  of  users  saying  they  would  be   “very  disappointed”  without  your  product.     -­‐  Sean  Ellis  
  6. 6. It’s  what  you  need  to  hit  before   you  focus  on  growth.  
  7. 7. But  wait…how  will  I  know?  
  8. 8. But  wait…how  will  I  know?   Oh  trust  me.  You’ll  know.  
  9. 9. BPMF.     Wondering  where  the  value  is?   Customers  are  confused?   No  organic  trac8on.   Hard  to  pitch  startup  press.   Long  sales  cycles.                                                                              …they  don’t  want  it.  
  10. 10. APMF.     Customers  buying  as  fast  as  you  can   build.   Your  understaffed.   WOM  is  on  fire.   Random  emails/feedback  thanking  you.   Investment/press/general  buzz.                                                                                                    …they  need  it.  
  11. 11. So  how  do  you  get  there?        
  12. 12. Lessons  learned   from  a  few   BPMFs,  a  few   APMFs,  and  some   NFPMFs.    
  13. 13. Lesson  #1:  The  Market  Wins*   *Every  damn  Ume.  
  14. 14. Team   Product   Market   What  maXers  most.  Let’s  talk  about  it.  
  15. 15. Team   Product   “In  a  great  market,  the  product  is  pulled  out  of  the  startup”   -­‐  Andreesen   What  maXers  most.  Let’s  talk  about  it.   Market  
  16. 16. [important  liXle  side  note]   1.  ExisUng  market   2.  Resegmented  market   3.  New  market   4.  Clone  market   4  Types  of  Market    
  17. 17. Recession  =  high  unemployment.   High  unemployment  =  job  search.   Job  search  =  need  for  job  search  sites.   Need  for  job  search  sites  =  opportunity.   Opportunity  =  Success.   Success  =  lots  of  fun  and  money.   Lots  of  fun  and  money  =  speedboats.   ASSUMPTIONS:   #realtalk:  
  18. 18. Recession  =  high  unemployment.   High  unemployment  =  filing  for  unemployment.   Job  search  =  need  for  job  search  sites.   Need  for  job  search  sites  =  opportunity.   Opportunity  =  Success.   Success  =  lots  of  fun  and  money.   Lots  of  fun  and  money  =  speedboats.   #realtalk:  
  19. 19. #realtalk:   I  lost  two  years*  trying  to   force  a  market.   *all  my  savings   *angel  investment   *all  my  relaUonships   *poliUcal  currency   *confidence   *about  a  million  other  things  
  20. 20. #2.  Realize  your  product  is  not  the  product.*   *your  business  model  is.  
  21. 21. #realtalk:  
  22. 22. #realtalk:  
  23. 23. #realtalk:  
  24. 24. #3.  Start  at  the  pain  point  
  25. 25. Forget  the  vitamin,  be  the  painkiller.   #realtalk:  
  26. 26. #realtalk:   Help  you  connect  with  customers  in  new  ways.   Help  you  engage  them  throughout  their  lifecycle.   Help  encourage  social  advocacy.  
  27. 27. #realtalk:   Help  you  connect  with  customers  in  new  ways.   Help  you  engage  them  throughout  their  lifecycle.   Help  encourage  social  advocacy.   Feed  your  CRM.   Increase  your  VPC.   Drive  referrals.  
  28. 28. #4.  Ask  all  the  quesUons  
  29. 29. •  Who  needs  your  soluUon?   •  Who  would  pay  for  your  soluUon?   •  Who  approves  that  charge?   •  What  are  they  doing  now  to  solve  for  that?   •  What  is  the  dream  soluUon?   •  The  minimum  soluUon?   •  What  other  problems  stem  from  this  problem?   •  How  would  they  feel  if  it  was  solved?   •  How  much  of  their  monthly  budget  would  they  put  toward  a  soluUon?   •  If  presented  with  a  soluUon,  what  could  stop  them  from  using  the  soluUon?   •  What  are  their  shooUng  for?   •  What  are  their  professional  goals?   •  What  roadblocks  are  they  facing  when  aiming  for  those  goals?  
  30. 30. #5.  Be  skepUcal.  
  31. 31. #realtalk:  
  32. 32. What  do  I  mean  “skepUcal?”   •  What  if  they  aren’t  right?  (you  know  who  I  mean)   •  What  if  that  one  person  is  right?     •  What  if  your  first  three  validaUng  points  didn’t  exist?   •  What  if  the  most  constant  thing  vanished?   •  What  if  your  primary  persona  didn’t  exist?   •  10th  man  rule/argumentaUve  theory/odd  man  out  theory  :  do  it   For  the  love  of  goodness  gracious:     Embrace  and  reward  skepUcism.  
  33. 33. #6.  Minimum  sellable  product.*   *  Versus  MVP.    
  34. 34. #realtalk:   THE  DREAM.  
  35. 35. #realtalk:   MVP.  
  36. 36. #realtalk:   MSP.  
  37. 37. #7.  Double  back…a  dozen  Umes.   …aka  checking  your  hypotheses.  
  38. 38. #realtalk:  
  39. 39. What  do  I  mean  “validate?”   •  Troll  feature  request  forms  (yours  and  others)   •  Visit  tradeshows,  shake  hands,  ask  them  what  challenges  they  are  facing   •  Get  a  CAB  early,  grow  it  steadily   •  Get  your  prototype  into  customer  hands  as  quickly  as  you  can   •  Do  retros  on  market  failures  –  awkwardddd,  but  valuable   •  Do  retros  on  lost  deals,  cancelled  customers   •  Write  your  assumpUons  on  a  wall  and  revisit  them  frequently   For  the  love  of  goodness  gracious:     Don’t  base  anything  on  what  is  listed  a  trend  to  watch.  
  40. 40. #8.  Repeat  arer  me:  acIvaIon  &  retenIon.   Everything  else  comes  arer  PMF.  
  41. 41. AcquisiUon   AcUvaUon   RetenUon   Revenue   Referral   hXp://­‐metrics-­‐for-­‐pirates-­‐presentaUon   McClure’s  Startup  Metrics  
  42. 42. AcquisiUon   AcIvaIon   RetenIon   Revenue   Referral   hXp://­‐metrics-­‐for-­‐pirates-­‐presentaUon   McClure’s  Startup  Metrics  
  43. 43. #9.  Architect  for  speed  
  44. 44. #realtalk:  
  45. 45. What  do  I  mean  “architect  for  speed?”   •  Plug  and  play  plauorms  as  much  as  you  can   •  Don’t  build  too  deep  too  early   •  Think  flexibility  from  the  get  go   •  Your  first  processes  should  be  around  iteraUon   •  Your  first  hires  should  pride  themselves  in  their  ability  to  adapt   •  Culture  should  reward  fluidity     For  the  love  of  goodness  gracious:     Don’t  build  for  progress  sake.  
  46. 46. #10.  Validate  QualitaUvely,  Verify  QuanUtaUvely  
  47. 47. #realtalk:  
  48. 48. So  you  have  PMF,  now  what?  
  49. 49. Growth  &  Product  Vision   Next  up…  
  50. 50. Growth.  
  51. 51. Product  Vision.   hXp://­‐market-­‐fit-­‐vs-­‐product-­‐vision/  
  52. 52. Don’t  forget…it’s  not  opUonal.  
  53. 53. Thank  you!   QuesUons?   Joanna  Lord   CMO,  BigDoor   @joannalord   NEXT  :  April  30,  2014