Why The Magic Of Product-Market Fit Is Critical But Hard To Describe

There are some tried and true practices that work in the startup game. But even when you do all the startup steps in the right order, it usually doesn’t work.

Most startups still don’t grow up.

There’s a bit of MAGIC that is required that is difficult to create—and harder to describe.

(No, it’s not about getting big VC funding before you have big revenues. That’s just magical thinking.)

This startup magic trick is called product-market fit.

It has the power to make or break any product idea, but few people can explain it clearly enough so others can reliably hear it.

When most startup creators think they have product-market fit, it often turns out to be a mirage. Our entrepreneurial desperation, hopes, and egos are likely to deceive us.

Even a super-savvy founder like Seth Radman has difficulty explaining it.

Seth created two popular software products used by millions of people and he successfully sold both of his companies.

“Product market fit is this weird thing that is hard to define, but you know it when you have it,” he told me.

I interviewed Seth on the Practical Founders Podcast last week, so I dug deeper.

So what does real product-market fit look like to him?

“Before product market fit, you feel like you’re like on this mountain pushing up this boulder, trying to just get people over the top to get them to convert.

“But when you hit product market fit, it’s like the boulder got past the top and it starts spinning down and it’s just moving fast and you’re like struggling to keep up with it.

“I’ve experienced that with Upbeat where, for a period of a couple of months, we got no joke like 200 emails a day from teachers saying,’ ‘I saw that this other school bought it, so how can I get it?’“

Seth had dozens of product ideas, multiple software product tries, and two successful products used by millions of musicians and music teachers.

He did it the practical founder way too, without big funding. Just a little angel funding in his first startup and bootstrapped in the second.

We talk a lot more about getting to product-market fit, selling his companies, and the mental health challenges he faced along the way.

Listen to this magical Practical Founders Podcast episode at practicalfounders dot com or use the link below in the comments.

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