What is product/market fit? By Janna Bastow "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs December 12 2020 True Iteration, London, market traction, Product/Market Fit, ProductTank, ProductTank London, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 539 Janna Bastow at ProductTank London Product Management 2.156

What is product/market fit? By Janna Bastow


In this ProductTank London talk, Janna Bastow – co-founder and CEO of ProPad – shares her view on how you can define and measure your product/market fit.

Watch the video to see her talk in full, or have a quick read of her key insights below:

  • How to define product/market fit
  • What you should not think about product/market fit
  • How do you get to the sweet spot?
  • How do you measure product/market fit?

How To Define Your Product/Market Fit

Janna begins with an ice breaker, asking: “What even is product/market fit and how do we know we achieved it?”. The concept, she says, seems more like an illusion and she questions why it is that we struggle to measure it.

Some people have described that moment of knowing you’ve reached product/market fit as follows:

  • You’ve made something people want.” Paul Graham, Y Combinator
  • Users spontaneously tell other people to use your product.” Sam Abman, Y Combinator

However, while a lot of definitions are catchy, they’re not measurable, and if you can’t measure it you can’t improve, says Janna.

What defines product/market fit changes constantly, because the market changes, new technologies arise, your customers change, and those dynamic conditions bring new opportunities. Additionally, there is something controversial says Janna, “product/market fit might not exist for every product journey”.

What Not To Think

Janna explains that there are some important things you should know not to think when it comes to product/market fit:

  1. You are not your market – don’t just talk to your colleagues, talk to your customers.
  2. Your early adopters are not your market – they’re generous enthusiasts, but they’re not indicative of what your wider market actually is.
  3. Purchase doesn’t mean fit – just because someone pays for your product, it doesn’t mean your product is good, or they like it and will keep paying for it.
  4. Your users change –  your users’ base is made of different cohorts who have different needs, you need your product to cater to them.

How Do You Get To the (Temporary) Sweet Spot?

The answer, says Janna, is in talking to people, especially those who don’t like you. Ask people what frustrates them most about using your product. Talk to them about your vision, and make your problems, assumptions and challenges visible, so that people can engage and give you feedback.

You also need to test as much as you can (even your pricing strategy), move fast, and change quickly – adapting your strategy to a moving target is key.

Finally, you should be asking tough questions such as ‘if this product didn’t exist today, would we still build it?’.

How Do You Measure Product/Market Fit?

Use a Customer Development Survey to find out how many customers would be disappointed if your product ceased to exist.

Segment your users, and adapt accordingly, do something with the information you’ve acquired.

Key Takeaways

Ultimately, product/market fit = achieving a scalable and repeatable business model.

Janna’s advice: don’t scale too early, don’t throw all your money at the top of the funnel. Start small, experiment, learn, iterate, and repeat.