The concept is incredibly powerful and yet almost impossible to determine with a metric. Perhaps the easiest way of defining it is through the negative[@feld2015The Illusion of Product/Market Fit for SaaS Companies]:
- Myth #1: Product market fit is always a discrete, big bang event
- Myth #2: It’s patently obvious when you have product market fit
- Myth #3: Once you achieve product market fit, you can’t lose it.
- Myth #4: Once you have product-market fit, you don’t have to sweat the competition.
Perhaps the problem is that we try to abstract the issue to a single concept, something we need to thrive for, but that does not necessarily make sense to use if it is so hard to grasp and yet so simple.
In [@kinPmarchive · The only thing that matters], the argument goes a bit deeper, looking at pattern that emerge in different startups. In the end, it is a team building a product, which makes me think that perhaps it should be rephrased as team-market fit. Can a poor team deliver a product that fits so well in the market that it will make the startup succeed? The other way around is quite clear, even a good team can fail at getting a sense of the market's need.
Another take at the challenge is done by [@itamar2015bThe Illusion of Product-Market Fit], that uses some concepts of physics to try to explain it: Product/Market fit is like a resonant wave. You can change the wavelength, or you can change the boundary conditions. Adjusting the wavelength are the small changes you can add to your product (or to the value proposition-market fit).
The boundary conditions can be regarded as the market. Sometimes we can change the market, create a need that didn't exist before, like what happens when you have to create the need for a product.
Sometimes focusing on a different market (pivoting) allows to redefine the boundary conditions without having to actually change them.
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