Getting to Product-Market Fit

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

This article is 2nd in the ‘On Growth’ series. In the first article, we covered the objective and outline of the series. In this article, we will cover:

  • What should growth function of an early stage startup be doing?

Let’s begin.

Q: What should we be doing? A: Getting to product-market fit, of course.

Getting to product-market fit (referred to as PMF) is the most, and kind of the only, important thing as you start up, goes the common advice. …


Stop tracking metric lists. Start using metric trees.

These are the 4 steps of the decision making framework for your project:

  1. Identify key metrics

Steps 1 & 2 help you to identify the problem (or opportunity area).

Step 3 helps you in identifying the solution(s) once problem has been identified.

Step 4 helps you track the progress once solution has been implemented.

Let’s go through the steps one by one.

1. Identifying Key metrics

  • Do not begin the setup by making an exhaustive list of all possible metrics to track: Lists are not frameworks. …


A more provocative title for: What do products like Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences & Google’s UAC mean for the future of Digital Advertising?

Image for post
Image for post

The sign of times to come

A few years back, I attended an event Google India had organised for mobile marketing practitioners. They were pitching a then-new product called Universal App Campaign, which had already been acronymized as UAC. The idea was simple: you can use just one campaign to promote your app across all of Google’s varied inventory such as Google Search, Play Store, YouTube, websites and apps on its ad network, and what have you. No need to make separate search, video, and display campaigns for the same objective. Hence, ‘universal’, I suppose.

The pitch for UAC to marketers was: less work for you. But judging by the response of the early users among the attendees, we did not want to do less work. People seemed to be genuinely unhappy with the product. …


A practical framework on giving creative briefs and judging creative output

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Engineers’ problems

Tobias Lütke, CEO and founder of Shopify, has credited two books for enabling him to succeed in his role. Talking specifically about High Output Management, he said:

“…basically, at the end of the day, creating a business is an engineering exercise. That made the whole thing about becoming a CEO significantly less scary to me because I understand engineering.”

I can relate to this because as I transitioned from having a specific functional role in business analytics, at the start of my career, to more cross-functional roles (as more senior roles tend to become), I felt most under-confident in areas where there were no established handbooks that I could look up. …


How to build Growth team in your startup

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Pascal Swier on Unsplash

Before Product-Market Fit

Only after the value that a startup is supposed to deliver to the market is found, it can even begin to think about distributing it. And so, a growth function, or marketing function — whichever label one chooses for the value distribution function — has no place in a startup before product-market fit is found.

Founder-CEO is the person taking the product (or product specs) to the first few prospective customers, trying to understand qualitatively if they find the product valuable or not. And, if not, what is the value available to be captured, and which product can be built to do that. …


How does the role of Growth function evolve with scale of startup?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash

Quick Recap

This article is 4th in the ‘On Growth’ series. A quick recap of the series so far:

  • In the first article, we covered the objective and outline of the series.

In this article, we will cover:

  • How does the role of Growth function evolve at scale?

Let’s begin. …


Or: Why do startups started by college dropouts insist on an MBA degree and 5+ years of experience?

Image for post
Image for post

Fantastic beasts and where to find them

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

This article is 3rd in the ‘On Growth’ series. In the first article, we covered the objective and outline of the series. In the second article, we covered what the objective of the startup at the outset should be (i.e. achieving Product-Market Fit or PMF), how PMF can be quantified (profitability per customer as output metric, with retention as leading indicator), and pointed to some common ways of getting first few cohorts in to collect enough data to measure PMF.

In this article, we will cover:

  • What the core objective of growth function in a startup is after PMF has been established? …


What do predicting the next US president and improving on-boarding of your product have in common?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Morgan Lane on Unsplash

As I write this, the US presidential election is less than a month away. The unique and arcane electoral college system used in this election, as opposed to popular vote, is not widely understood, especially outside the US.

To put it simply: it is a winner-takes-all system, but at state level. California has 55 electors out of total 538 for the entire nation, and Joe Biden will get all 55 electors whether he gets 1 vote more than Trump in California or gets all of the votes. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

In professional life, new experiences and opportunities creep up on you unannounced.

In one of my previous roles, I was once asked to come to office on a Saturday as the CEO wanted to talk to me. I was in a junior individual contributor role and my team was in turbulence at that point with the recent exit of the team leader. I guessed that it was either to show me the door or, at the very least, ask me some tough questions. …

About

S Shekhar

On building and growing internet products. And on books.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store