Product-User Fit

Note to future self…

Yesterday I came across this fantastic article from two investors at A16Z. In this piece, they explore this idea of “product-user fit” as a stepping stone to finding product-market fit. Here’s their definition of the concept:

Product-User Fit: The extent to which you’ve built the right product for the right user.

I don’t think this is just another piece of content marketing from A16Z. This concept really resonated with me as we think through how to find the right problem to solve for the right user. Both my co-founder and I felt that their must be something else between product-market fit and the stage we’re in today. This paragraph perfectly captures the essence of where we’re today:

“But what if you really just have a sharp understanding of the right product for the right user… but still lack a sense of the greater market opportunity of all the right users? What if it remains to be seen if there is a market beyond the 200 people you’ve found who love your product?”

Takeaways

One key takeaway from the article is that trying to skip the product-user fit stage can actually slow you down on your journey to actual product-market fit. Here’s an excerpt explaining this:

The jump from product-user fit to product-market fit is no trivial leap. Skipping what to focus on during the product-user fit stage and prematurely racing to spark the market adoption can actually decelerate your path to product-market fit.”

This intuitively makes sense but it’s a point that’s not typically brought up when talking about product-market fit. Again, developing the vocabulary and frameworks to think about problems is perhaps the main reason why I write these short posts every day. Product-user fit is a perfect example of a building block that I will add to my toolbox of mental models for building a company.

Here’s a final point from the article that I really enjoyed:

In almost every case, a key driver of bottom-up adoption is to listen to early power users closely in order to discover the insights that get you to a world-class product. As you progress down the roadmap, the right new features activate non-users into users, and then turn new users into power users. As you unlock more and more new users, eventually the product satisfies enough market demand to add up to a promising market opportunity.”

Now back to work…