Product/Market Fit

In his now famous 2007 blog post, Marc Andreessen made a bold statement, which he credited as Rachleff’s Corollary of Startup Success:

“The only thing that matters is getting to product/market fit.”

He went on to define product/market fit as:

“Being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.”

In the decade since, product/market fit has stuck as the descriptive phrase explaining one of the most important early goals of a startup: creating value for customers. Like any overused catch phrase, there are proponents and detractors. A catch phrase, like a framework, attempts to simplify the complicated, which is a risky endeavor.

To explore product/market fit, we are going to deconstruct Marc’s definition into three key questions about a startup:

  1. How are we solving customers’ problems?  — Value Proposition
  2. Are there enough customers out there?  — Market Size
  3. Can we prove that customers really want it?  — Traction