Sean Ellis has a great post up called “The Startup Pyramid” riffing on Marc Andreesen’s excellent and widely-circulated post on Product-Market Fit. Sean frames achieving Product-Market Fit as the foundation of startup success, and argues convincingly that it doesn’t make sense to try to scale or monetize until a minimum level of fit is achieved:
“I’ve tried to make the concept less abstract by offering a specific metric for determining product/market fit. I ask existing users of a product how they would feel if they could no longer use the product. In my experience, achieving product/market fit requires at least 40% of users saying they would be “very disappointed” without your product. Admittedly this threshold is a bit arbitrary, but I defined it after comparing results across nearly 100 startups.”
The AppStoreHQ team took this advice to heart this week and emailed a random sample of registered users to find out how many of them would be “very disappointed” if the service went away. We aren’t quite at Sean’s 40% target but the results – actual figures shown in the graphic above – were better that we expected. About a third of our customers would be “very disappointed” if AppStoreHQ ceased to exist, and another 56% would be somewhat disappointed.
We still have plenty of work to do (and no shortage of ideas about where to go next), but we’ll be taking Sean’s advice and running this test more often to make sure we’re on the right track.