Starting Greatness

Andy Rachleff on “How to Know If You’ve Got Product Market Fit”

38:56 | Dec 2nd, 2019

10 recommendations

The Co-founder of Benchmark Capital & Wealthfront explains the most important goal of a startup: how do you find product-market fit? As the man who coined the term, he’s the expert—and in this episode...Show More


mm recommended:Dec 7th, 2019

Hey everyone! Welcome to the first-ever Podyssey Podcast Club on tech startups. Excited to have you here and to learn from you. TO PARTICIPATE 1. Listen to episode 2. To answer a question, comment on "echoes" 3. To ask a question or provide thoughts outside of questions, press "echo" and add text 4...Show More

dannyDec 7th, 2019

Hey everyone! I’m Danny cofounder of Podyssey. Really excited to have a conversation with you all about this episode and to learn from you. For Q1) Yes, I love Superhuman's question for seeing if you are getting closer to product-market-fit. ie) How would you feel if you could no longer use Super...Show More

dannyDec 7th, 2019

For Q4) If I'm understanding it correctly I guess the famous example for restart is Slack (which came from a ) but tbh, I dont know if I fully understood what he meant by pivot the market? pivot the type of people you are trying to reach?

aoneillDec 9th, 2019

@mm listening the this podcast on product market fit made me realize that a) my startup doesn’t have product market fit (yet) and b) I’m jealous of everyone who does!

alicekoDec 9th, 2019

@mm Hey! I'm Alice, I've worked for several early stage tech startups in the fashion, media, real estate, and B2B/B2C digital product space. Q1. Re: Product Market Fit metrics - For a fashion tech startup I worked for, they measured organic growth mainly through social channels and increase in f...Show More

mmDec 9th, 2019

@aoneill Crossing my fingers and toes for you! 🤞🤞🤞 What are you doing right now to figure out PMF? Is there some sort of system/framework you follow for market exploration or measurement? Have you tried what he says in the episode about yanking customer trials after 30 days and see what happens...Show More

aoneillDec 9th, 2019

@mm I’m using the Lean Market Validation framework to test my riskiest assumptions. I just googled Superhuman PMF framework and will read up on it!

mmDec 10th, 2019

@aoneill I guess we're technically using the Lean Market Validation framework for this Tech Startup Podcast Club too 😉 Here's a podcast episode with the Superhuman founder for more colour around their PMF framework:

dannyDec 10th, 2019

@aoneill let me know if you do end up using Superhuman's PMF framework. PMF can be a really abstract idea and i found it really useful to have something tangible and measurable to get there. And btw, we arent at PMF either :) but there is an uptick of weekly engaged users so there's hope. I think w...Show More

recamilioDec 10th, 2019

@mm Q4 got me. It had an epiphany when he said “don’t iterate the what, iterate the who and how”... I think a good example of restart was buddybuild. If I recall it correctly, they were working on an iOS app “allegedly” called What An Idiot, to report ppl doing idiotic things in traffic. Long story...Show More

mmDec 10th, 2019

@recamilio That's probably one of the craziest restart stories I've heard if What An Idiot was actually the original idea! I guess that goes into saying what Rachleff and @ldinh was saying below regarding the revisionist founding histories of startups :) That could be a whole podcast itself.

mmDec 10th, 2019

@danny @aoneill Just found this article about Product “Zeitgeist” Fit from a16z. It’s pretty interesting:

mmDec 10th, 2019

Thanks for your contribution @aliceko! For early adopters, how did your the startups you were in transition from early adopters to be more general market if they ever got there? For the media startup restarting, do you know if they tried pivoting before deciding restart? How did they stop trying ...Show More

ogradyDec 11th, 2019

Q1. Podcast Delivery has been most successful with word-of-mouth tactics mostly seen online with some decent network effects. We've been lucky with our efforts resulting in some organic interest podcast consumers and creators alike which has led to solid growth in our subscriber list! Our latest f...Show More

mmDec 11th, 2019

Thanks @ogrady for the thoughtful contribution! (I also really like your formatting. Going to copy it.) Q1. Congrats on the early success of the referral program! On networks effects, I was coincidentally just watching some a16z Youtube videos on whether something is actually a network effect o...Show More

dannyDec 12th, 2019

@ogrady re: "realization that the people that engaged with Podcast Delivery the most were people that were creating podcasts instead of simply listening to them" that sounds like a really important insight. and glad to hear about the thought process behind Podcast Delivery.

matresstesterDec 16th, 2019

I'm Anthony, and I was an early employee at a startup that went public, I invest in startups as well. Q1. The startup I worked for did a lot of research, survey, etc. We found the people who really needed us, and loved using us, but insane uphill battle for anyone who hasn't seen the need. So th...Show More

ldinh recommended:Dec 10th, 2019

The point Rachleff makes about founders revising history is an interesting one. A massive pitfall, identified by Taleb in Black Swan, is asking successful people how they succeeded. It's very hard to dis-entangle luck from skill, and revised history makes this even harder!

mmDec 10th, 2019

On that note of luck vs skill, do you listen to How I Built This by Guy Raz? My favourite part is the ending when he asks the founders how much do they think their success is based on luck vs skill. It's a telling question b...Show More

ian recommended:Dec 11th, 2019

I really like the lesson on teaching mentioned in this one. By not allowing students to use specific examples they have to instead dig deeper and use the logic behind different business plans. Example tech companies are often outliers which is frequently missed in conversations around tech.

mmDec 11th, 2019

Thanks for your comment @ian! I'm going to throw a curveball on your comment. What if all really successful tech companies are outliers to some degree, because they need to be in order to achieve the exceptional billion dollars of market cap. If they weren't outliers, then why aren't we all running ...Show More

ianDec 11th, 2019

@mm I suspect you’re right and a lot of the really big tech companies are outliers. Maybe digging into what made them successful will start to reveal that though? I wonder if it would be more valuable if people focused on learning from smaller but still profitable companies rather than copying the g...Show More

mmDec 12th, 2019

@ian I guess it depends on what type of business you’re running and whether your business model requires venture funding to make it in which then there are different pressures and incentives that comes with that.

lrnbts recommended:Dec 13th, 2019

I really enjoyed the portion about early adopters and the other segments of potential customers. It's hard not to go after the biggest group first, but you really have to think about those early adopters and how much value you will get from them in addition to being customers, they often are best at...Show More

dannyDec 13th, 2019

@lrnbts totally agree. You can easily launch too early on those 'shiny tech' platforms like Product Hunt and get the wrong target users but I guess you get a lot of instant feedback and access to a bunch of potential target users too. And thanks for the echo. I like the term 'shiny tech' and might ...Show More

mmDec 14th, 2019

@lrnbts I agree with @danny that you made really good point re: early adopters who like to try shiny tech but never come back. I always worry about overfitting product to early adopters, but you offer another valid point to consider!

kimwaudio recommended:Dec 17th, 2019

One of my favorite topics to explore. I’m a big fan of the Business Model Generation approach by Alex Osterwalder! Adding this to my list. Will report back again shortly.

mmDec 17th, 2019

@kimwaudio This is getting to be one of my favourite podcasts. They continue the PMF theme throughout all the episodes and build on the concepts with different frameworks by the unsaturated veterans who created them. So good. Binged on the series today.

aliceko recommended:Dec 8th, 2019

I really enjoyed the first episode in the Podyssey Podcast Club on tech startups. Great tangible advice that can utilized for all kinds ofcompanies and freelancers - not just tech startups. For instance: - The only way to know you have a good idea is if you have word of mouth referrals. Are people t...Show More

danny recommended:Dec 7th, 2019

A lot of good nuggets in this one, and check out @mm 's questions if you want to go more in-depth into a discussion about the episode.

recamilio recommended:Dec 10th, 2019

Too many gems 💎

mmDec 10th, 2019

Any one or few 💎 that really stuck out to you @recamilio?