Product / Market Fit is a Trap.

Why you should focus on the jobs to be done instead.

Thomas Schranz
Apr 14, 2014 · 5 min read

One of the standard topics founders and investors talk about a lot is the concept of product/market fit.

While Marc Andreessen initially used it to explain the importance of
the market you operate in, the term has become a victim of its own success.

Everyone is obsessed about product/market fit.

I hate to break it to you but …

Obsessing about product/market fit is a huge waste of your time.
Yes … waste of your time.
There … I said it again.

There is no such thing as product/market fit.

First of all, product/market fit is not a distinct point in time.
Product/market fit is not a certain goal you reach.

You are never or product/market fit.

Product/market fit is not tangible.
Product/market fit is a continuum.
Product/market fit is a process.

So frankly product/market fit or obsessing about it isn’t very useful.
It’s as actionable as obsessing about or .

“Product / market fit is reached as soon as 40% of the shots we take hit the core of the Death Star. Now you know everything you need to know. Everyone back to work, kthxbye.“

product/market fit just means that …

  • … there is a lucrative market you operate in
  • … you create a product for that market
  • … you get better at (either at or at or )

product/market fit is just a side-effect of doing the right things. The only way to get there is to focus on and .

There are no silver bullets for product/market fit.

As I said above you don’t want to on product/market fit.
You want to on building a great product and on getting it into the hands of your customers.

Now you might say … wait a minute. Focus on and ?
What about market? Wasn’t Marc’s point that the market is the most important thing of the whole equation?

Yeah, well …
Yes …
But …

There is no such thing as .

The concept of (and ) is super abstract and not very useful when you are striving to create a product that people want and love.

The concepts market & product/market fit might help you analyze situations in hindsight but in the middle of things they don’t help much.
They don’t tell you what to do.

On top of that thinking in unnecessarily limits your search space for solutions and product innovation to existing abstractions & categories.
Also markets are shifting all the time. Things change.

Let’s have a look at what really means in a more actionable way …

is a function of the jobs your product gets hired for.

Market = ƒ(Jobs to be Done)

With that in hand we can get back to Marc’s view on teams &

Now we’ve finally discovered the essence of what we need to focus on …

Focus on the jobs to be done.

The easiest way to end up with a great product in a great market is to focus on nailing the jobs to be done for your customers.

May the job lead you to the fit of product and market …

Alan Klement recently wrote about a neat way to identify jobs to be done:

  • Begin with the context the customer is in. (Exposition)
  • Apply the observations of pre-existing human behaviors. (Observation)
  • Reduce, or eliminate, the customer’s anxieties and resolve their motivations. (Situational Analysis)

Thanks a lot to Eoghan & Des of Intercom for introducing me to the concept of jobs to be done. This completely changed the way I think of product management.


Product Love ❤

Posts on Product Strategy, Management, Design, Development & Marketing.

Thomas Schranz

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Founder at Blossom & Lemmings

Product Love ❤

Posts on Product Strategy, Management, Design, Development & Marketing.