Nailing Product/Market Fit by Chris Barton "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs October 10 2020 True Product/Market Fit, ProductTank, ProductTank San Francisco, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 473 Chris Barton speaks about Prouct:Market fit at ProductTank SanFrancisco Product Management 1.892

Nailing Product/Market Fit by Chris Barton

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In his ProductTank San Francisco talk, Chris Barton – founder of Shazam and, more recently, Guard – recounts the music recognition app’s successful quest for the Holy Grail: Product/Market Fit.

Watch the video to see his talk in full, or read on for an overview of Chris’ top tips.

Go After a Big Market

Chris explains that to achieve product/market fit, a big market is key and, as Shazam sits at the intersection of music fans and people who own a mobile phone, they’ve certainly got that covered. In addition, their vision has always been to become more than a music recognition app. They want to be a mobile channel for everything music-related, like finding, buying, getting and recommending music. As the saying goes, go big or go home.

One Use Case Is Not Enough

Chris also explains that often, one use case is not enough. Instead, you need lots of different use cases to generate usage of your product and drive that valuable word of mouth.

Validate Your Assumptions

How do we know if there are people who actually want to use our product? Even before there’s a budget for market research or data points on our MVP’s usage, there’s plenty of data out there to help you support your key assumptions and define your target group – Chris advises that we go out and find real-world evidence to validate our assumptions.

Forecast How Market Changes/Trends

We also need to think ahead to avoid becoming a novelty or passing fad. As Chris explains, Shazam’s first incarnation had to work within the limited tech standards of its time: phone calls and text messaging. Early on, the founders took into account the projected evolution of the mobile industry and planned for what would be possible once more advanced standards, such as 3G, would be adopted by a larger target group.

Eight years after they started Shazam, the ‘market’ part of product/market fit clicked into place with the App Store launching and Shazam, enabling users to buy the identified songs on iTunes.

Think Creatively

Focusing all your energy on the product experience might be short-sighted when your business model is just as important. Between call and SMS revenues, selling the identified songs or selling advertising to b2b customers – Shazam identified different potential revenue streams in its early days and has tried out multiple business models from pay-per-use to subscription over time. This, Chris says, is a case of thinking as creatively about business models as you do about the product experience.


To learn more about product/market fit - what it means, how to get to it, and what our role as product managers is in maintaining it, check out A Guide to Product/Market Fit.

Strive for Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Finally, he says, always think about “building a moat” around your business. Make sure to keep an eye on your competition and keep your business defensible by doubling down on what sets you apart and in continuing to build on your advantages.