Problem market fits needs to come before product market fit.

The best piece of advice I ever got was from our first investor, Paul Graham.
He said it’s better to have 100 people love you than a million people that sort of like you, so if you can find 100 people that love your product – as long as there are more people like them in the world – then you have an idea that I believe will spread around the world. But if you can’t get 100 people who absolutely love your product, then you do have a problem.

Brian Chesky – Airbnb

I came across this short post this morning and it’s worth a read.

I believe what it’s saying applies as much to scaled businesses or large corporations with a business model, as much as it does to start-ups and even scale-ups, because almost all businesses now will be running some innovation project or product development programme.

Sometimes we just push-on. Get shit done. Believe we’re providing something that puts the customer at the centre and changes the world (ok maybe not so much, but we believe in what we’re pushing).

So if there were 3 important questions you should ask yourself if you are creating or launching something new…

1. Do customers (still) consider it one of the top 3 problems they have?
This means they’ll spend time and money with you in order to solve it.

2. Would customers immediately adopt a solution if you provided it to them right now?
This translates to them actually paying for it. As Airbnb’s Brian Chesky said above, find 100 people that love your product, but if you can’t get 100 people who absolutely love your product, then you do have a problem.

3. If you solve the problem, do you have ways to distribute your solution to the customers?
This is about potential to scale.

I think there’s one more we need to add.

4. Do you ‘really’ know your audience and where they reside?
This is about marketing and reach, brand through to sales, and it amazes me how many times this gets forgotten or the understanding of actually how difficult this is becoming due to fragmentation.

In the book, Building the Agile Business, we talk about related topics like the Organizing idea, Agile strategy and Discovery driven planning.


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Main Image source: Jay Mantri

peter abraham

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