Why I Don't Use the Term 'Product Market Fit'
Hsu Ken's Column

Why I Don't Use the Term 'Product Market Fit'

Hsu Ken Ooi
March 17, 2023

Interestingly enough, 'product market fit' is a term often used by founders starting out but almost never by more experienced founders. Why?

There are 2 reasons.

No Concrete Definition

First, it doesn’t have a concrete definition. There’s no specific number of users, revenue, growth rate, etc. that determines whether you have product market fit.Instead, most definitions describe what it feels like.

Like this from Emmett Shear, Co-Founder of Twitch.

You have reached the promised land of product/market fit. And now the boulder is starting to roll down the hill, you actually don’t need to do any work to make progress. Customers are coming to you, you have more demand than you need. And the boulder starts to accelerate.

Like any term without a concrete definition, there’s often another term with a concrete definition that’s more productive to use. Experienced founders instead talk about growth rates, retention, etc.

Product Market Fit is Temporary

Second, if you think of product market fit as fast growth , it’s temporary.

You might grow fast in your current market but at some point you’ll saturate it and need to expand into a new market. In most cases, to grow very large, you have to find product market fit many times.

I personally avoid saying product market fit. Next time someone says they have it, ask them how they define it and how they know they have it. It typically yields an interesting conversation.

You can find the original thread on LinkedIn here.

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