Richard Reis
Jul 30 · 3 min read
By Richard Reis

Recently, I started building an app, Gurgeh. Every week I learn something new (this is a common feeling among founders). So I decided to share my weekly lessons in the hopes that (1) I don’t forget them and (2) they help you on your own journey.

I just discovered this a few days ago. So I’m excited to share it with you.

If you’re following the series, you know my only goal right now is making Gurgeh achieve product/market fit (pmf).

But it always bothered me how binary the concept of pmf is. You either have it or you don’t.

Sure, the good news is that you definitely know when you have it.

But the bad news is that, historically, you couldn’t answer the question “how close am I to pmf???”

There was no quantitative way to know... So you were stuck.

Until now.

Thanks, Rahul

While browsing YC Startup School’s forum, I discovered this awesome blog post by Rahul Vohra.

I think every founder should read it.

Why? Because it gives a framework to achieve pmf!

What could be more awesome??

The magic number

I won’t talk about “how” to achieve pmf, because that’s what Rahul does in his post.

Instead, I’ll just talk about “what” is pmf (according to his framework).

It’s 40%.

Let me explain.

Rahul says he learned this from Sean Ellis, so I’m assuming he read “Hacking Growth.”

In it, Sean talks about asking your users a simple question: “How would you feel if you could no longer use [product]?”

Users can respond “Very disappointed,” “Somewhat disappointed,” “Not disappointed,” or “N/A no longer using the product”.

If at least 40% of users say “very disappointed,” you have pmf!

“Having already run this survey at numerous start-ups, I had found that companies where more than 40 percent of respondents said they would be ‘very disappointed’ if they could no longer use the product had very strong growth potential, where those that fell under that 40 percent threshold tended to face a much harder path in growing the business.” — Sean Ellis


Now, I’m sure you can think of 10 different reasons why this method is imperfect. So can I.

But it’s better than anything I’ve seen before.

Why? Because before learning about this method, pmf was a subjective thing.

And if you asked anyone who had achieved pmf how to know you achieved it, they’d answer something like “trust me, you’ll know.”

Not a great answer.

At least now you have a number to aim for (and if you want to know how to reach it, read Rahul’s post).

“It is hard to overstate the impact of this product/market fit engine on our company. Everything we do at Superhuman — from hiring to selling and marketing to raising capital — has become significantly easier. Our team has grown to 22 people and our NPS has increased right alongside our product/market fit score. Users became noticeably more vocal about how much they loved the product, both in our surveys and on social media. Current investors started asking if they could put in more money ahead of upcoming rounds while outside investors continually ask me if they can invest.” — Rahul Vohra

And that’s it for today!

See you next week.

Be well.


Thanks for reading! 😊 If you enjoyed it, test how many times can you hit 👏 in 5 seconds. It’s great cardio for your fingers AND will help other people see the story.

The Mission

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.

Richard Reis

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"I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other." - Epicurus

The Mission

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.

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