Product/market fit: An overview

If you’re like most product managers, you probably struggle with deciding what to build next. With so many competing priorities, it is hard to figure out what features and product initiatives to prioritize.

Getting to product/market fit is the first step on a path that can build traction for your startup.

Product/market fit is a common concept in the product management world. Marc Andreessen, the legendary Silicon Valley entrepreneur, co-founder of the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz and creator of the once-dominant web browser Netscape, is often associated with popularizing the term. In his blog post, “The only thing that matters,” Andreessen describes product/market fit as the moment when a startup successfully finds a set of customers to serve with their product:

“Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.”

Whenever you see a successful startup, you see one that has achieved product/market fit. You can always feel that product/market fit is happening—it leaves no room for doubt.

In his book The Lean Startup, Eric Ries helps us picture what product/market fit looks like:

“When you see a startup that has found a fit with a large market, it’s exhilarating. It is Ford’s Model T flying out of the factory as fast as it could be made, Facebook sweeping college campuses practically overnight, or Lotus taking the business world by storm, selling $54 million worth of Lotus 1-2-3 in its first year of operation”