There’s a fun post from Ben Horowitz in 2010 titled The Revenue of the Fat Guy that weaves in comments from Fred Wilson about product/market fit where Fred argues in his post Being Fat Is Not Healthy. While ostensibly it’s a post about lean vs. fat startups, it really is about discovering product/market fit and it gives a good history lesson on the thinking circa 2010 on this issue. Ben eventually states, and then explains, four product/market fit myths.
Myth #1: Product market fit is always a discrete, big bang event
Myth #2: It’s patently obvious when you have product market fit
Myth #3: Once you achieve product market fit, you can’t lose it.
Myth #4: Once you have product-market fit, you don’t have to sweat the competition.
The author then started to realize that part of the illusion of product/market fit is that there’s a belief that once you have it, you never lose it (myth #3). There’s also the belief that there’s a magic moment where you have it and declare it (myth #1). Worse, there’s the belief that it’s obvious when you have it (myth #2). And tragically, a lot of companies believe when they have it, they don’t have to worry about anyone else because they’ve won (myth #4).
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