candy

Is Your Startup a Toothbrush or Candy?

Is Your Startup a Toothbrush or Candy? If you’re in the startup world, you’ve probably heard the question, “Is your startup a painkiller or a vitamin?”. This question implies that either your company solves a painful problem or a mild, problem that is not top-of-mind. The urgency of a pain pill is much greater than the urgency of a vitamin. In other words, you want to solve a painful problem. Did you know that the US vitamin market is 4-5…

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Product-Market fit pitfall

Product-Market Fit: Pitfalls

In early-stage companies you hear the term “product-market fit” all the time. Every startup CEO I meet declares that they have “amazing product-market fit.” A few minutes later they usually tell me why they’re having trouble gaining traction. So which is it, amazing product-market fit? Or weak traction? You shouldn’t have both. I’ve already described two aspects of product-market fit that every entrepreneur should consider: 1. Vet multiple product/market options before choosing one. Starting from a single point is a weak…

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Problem solution alignment

Problem Solution Alignment

I’m often asked when I know that I’ve found “product-market fit”. The answer is simple – I don’t. If anyone says, “We have product-market fit because …” the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I get an involuntary gag reflex. There is no point in any company where they’ve found the holy grail of a product sufficiently awesome that they won’t have to change what their doing for tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. Anyone that think’s they’ve found “product-market…

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A duck will never catch a mouse

Iterating The Lean Model

We all know that if you produce the wrong product or service, your startup will quickly become a burnout. But how does one achieve product-market fit? The current viewpoint is iterative hypothesis testing. I agree and unabashedly disagree. In iterative hypothesis testing, you lay out all your assumptions, go out and (in)validate your assumption, tweak your assumptions, and try again. After some number of iterations, voilà you have iterated yourself into the perfect product for your market. In theory this works great. In practice 90%…

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