GROWTH MARKETING

The tech start up company – product market fit (pmf).

Jerry Staple

AUTHOR

Jerry Staple

Technical Director
Technology , Innovation, the Future

After numerous chats and discussions with entrepreneurs and business owners in Tech Start Up Companies, the normal ‘lean start up’ jargon often makes an appearance.

Terminology such as agile and Minimal Viable Product (MVP) etc etc are frequently mentioned. However one fundamental process that gets left behind but which is a crucial part of the tech start up journey, is Product Market Fit (PMF).

What is Product Market Fit?

PMF predominantly kicks in after the MVP has been developed. The product is deployed to the selected users and then all feedback is collated and usage analysed. Ironically the features that you thought user will love may not actual be the case.

A perfect example of PMF was demonstrated by Instagram when it was a tech start up. Instagram originally set out as an app called Burbn which was a location based social network which had an “optional” photo feature. When the app was released to a core group of users the founders realised that users were heading to only one part of the app – the photo and filters. Armed with this feedback the service was then modified and launched as Instagram and within eighteen months sold to Facebook for $1 billion.

Another example is Airbnb which, as a tech start up, was originally called airbedandbreakfast.com which air mattresses were put on the floor and guests were offered free breakfast. The founders then changed the model and repositioned it as an alternative when hotels were booked primarily at conferences however it has changed again to what it is today. (Ironically as I am writing this post I am sitting in Austin in a condo booked using Airbnb waiting to go to SxSW!)

The kind of changes that both companies underwent from tech start up through to what they are today are course corrections and would also be classed as a “pivot” in other words their model has been changed and released based on user feedback and usage.

The tech start up learning: In essence you carry out as many pivots as it takes.

Remember although they may look like over night successes the path has not been without its upsets so hang in there.

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