founder/market fit

The Founder Movie

This is an important observation from many great founders that I met, and It’s so good.

“You have to fall in love with what you are going to make and know everything about it. Before planning to do your next big thing, think about what you are passionate about and will be excited to build for the rest of your life.”

If you look at most of the successful entrepreneurs, they just succeeded in doing only one thing. Steve Jobs only built computers. Mark Zuckerberg only made the social network. EV Williams only made blogging better. Jack Ma only did e-commerce.

They might have worked on other things on the side, but their core focus and big successes were mainly on things they excelled on.

Before chasing your product/market fit, think about something that you will never get bored of doing over again and again, and that is going to be your north star.

Thanks to Kulveer Taggar for sharing this invaluable advice.

Additional notes from cdixon.org blog:

The best predictor of whether a startup will achieve product/market fit is whether there is what David Lee calls “founder/market fit”. Founder/market fit means the founders have a deep understanding of the market they are entering, and are people who “personify their product, business and ultimately their company.”

Founder/market fit can be developed through experience: No one is born with knowledge of the education market, online advertising, or clean energy technologies. You can learn about these markets by building test projects, working at relevant companies, or simply doing extensive research. I have a friend who decided to work in the magazine industry. He discovered some massive inefficiencies and built a very successful technology company that addressed them. My Founder Collective partners Eric Paley and Micah Rosenbloom spent many months/years becoming experts in the dental industry in order to create a breakthrough dental technology company.

Founder/market fit is frequently overestimated: One way to have a deep understanding of your market is to develop product ideas that solve problems you personally have. This is why Paul Graham says that “the best way to come up with startup ideas is to ask yourself the question: what do you wish someone would make for you?”  This is generally an excellent heuristic, but can also lead you astray. It is easy to think that because you like food you can create a better restaurant. It is an entirely different matter to rent and build a space, market your restaurant, manage inventory, inspire your staff, and do all the other difficult things it takes to create a successful restaurant. Similarly, just because you can imagine a website you’d like to use, doesn’t mean you have founder/market fit with the consumer internet market.

Founders need to be brutally honest with themselves. Good entrepreneurs are willing to make long lists of things at which they are have no ability. I have never built a sales team. I don’t manage people well. I have no particular knowledge of what college students today want to do on the internet. I could go on and on about my deficiencies. But hopefully being aware of these things helps me focus on areas where I can make a real contribution and also allows me to recruit people that complement those deficiencies.

Most importantly, founders should realize that a startup is an endeavor that generally lasts many years. You should fit your market not only because you understand it, but because you love it — and will continue to love it as your product and market change over time.