Product-Market Fit: To get good startup ideas, look for anomalies

Product Market Fit:

Here’s a gizmo. Wonder if anyone wants it

A classical example of market-product fit is how Sony’s founder Akio Morita created Walkman. He observed teenagers lug heavy boomboxes with them to beaches and realized many places where music is needed are not convenient for a heavy music device. So he asked his engineers to create a version of the boombox that can be carried along.

.. If people aren’t aware of their compensatory behavior, the job of the entrepreneur becomes that of an observer. Look around you and ask: What seems odd? What shouldn’t be happening but is happening? What’s happening but shouldn’t be happening?

Compensatory behavior implies that users know that their existing behavior is compensatory (and suboptimal) to a better solution out there. But that isn’t the case. If users are aware that their behavior is compensatory to something else, they’d go and get something else. This is why you can’t simply survey people and ask “what are your compensatory behaviors”.

.. Once you find these anomalies, then look for the “why” behind such behaviors. Why are people doing this? If it was easier/legal/cheaper/faster, will others do it too? You don’t have to copy customers behaviors and offer it as a solution. Rather you have to understand underlying motivations and design a solution for supporting those motivations.

.. Some examples to make you think about market-product fit:

  • What are people doing in spite of governments not allowing it? Avoiding taxes, buying drugs, speaking freely. What are motivations for those behaviors? How would you address those motivations in a legal manner?
  • What is everyone annoyed by but people still do it anyway? Talking on the phone at movies, long queues at the grocery, not getting enough likes. Why are they doing that?
    Is there a better way?
  • What do your neighbors do that you find surprising? Early morning running,
    multiple locks in-house, not paying enough to maids. Why is it surprising? Are you, not them, an anomaly?
  • What are your friends or cousins obsessed about (that you don’t understand) Trying new bars, photos of their kids, posting good wishes on Facebook. Why are they doing it?
    Is there a better way of accomplishing the same desire?

.. What shouldn’t be happening but people are doing anyway?


Market-product fit:

Oh my. Never seen anyione wear a metallic hat before. What’s going on.