Finding Product Market Fit using an Example!
Recommend first to read "Product/Market Fit: Why It Matters, and How to Achieve It?"
David Rusenko, the founder of Weebly (a web hosting service provider) succinctly illustrates his own journey of finding the Product Market Fit in this video.
Using it as a case study, I present 2 different scenarios supported with graphics that showcase:
When a startup lacks product-market fit.
When it finds the product/market fit.
1. You can always feel when the product/market fit isn’t happening!
Despite 18 months in its journey, Weebly still lacked the Product/Market Fit.
Although there were spikes in terms of new users during its press coverage (Techcrunch, Newsweek, Time, etc.,) notice that in the subsequent days however, the number of new signups actually kept declining with every passing day.
This was a clear indication of a lack of product-market fit.
"You can always feel when product market fit isn’t happening. The customers aren’t quite getting value out of the product, word of mouth isn’t spreading, usage isn’t growing that fast, press reviews are kind of “blah”, the sales cycle takes too long, and lots of deals never close" - Marc Andreessen.
How long it can take to achieve the PMF?
Weebly despite 18 months in its journey still didn't have PMF, and the reason they kept going is that they'd raised $650K Series A funding in April 2007 on YC's demo day.
How many startups can really sustain for that much time period?
2. You can always feel when the product/market fit is happening!
It was in Oct-2007 i.e. 20 months of its journey when things turned around i.e. Weebly started to have nearly 1,000 new users signing up every day. This was its first real traction.
In fact, it was in Feb-2010 (4 years later) that Weebly indeed achieved its product/market fit with more than 4,000 users signing up every day.
You can always feel when product-market fit is happening. The customers are buying the product just as fast as you can make it - or usage is growing just as fast as you can add more servers. Money from customers is piling up in your company's account. You’re hiring sales and customer support staff as fast as you can. Reporters are calling because they’ve heard about your hot new thing and they want to talk to you about it - Marc Andreessen.