Product-Market Fit – a metaphor

I imagine myself holding a basketball while in a space suit orbiting the earth. I’m floating in some particular direction. Off to the right is the hoop, traveling in a completely different direction. Our paths are orbital and curved. The good news is that our paths will get near each other soon.

So I start to prepare. I design my shot in terms of speed and trajectory. I wait for just the right moment and then throw the ball at where the hoop will be. The ball floats in the right direction. Then in the middle of the shot, several competitors start flailing at my ball and throwing balls of their own. All of the sudden, it’s hectic, any number of factors could make the shot miss.

Most companies and most products miss. Of course they miss! It’s a hard damn shot! And of course, a company is expected to make more shots, over and over.

Product-Market fit is like this. There are dozens of factors including timing, features, experience, scalability, performance, competition, legal & compliance issues, economic factors and more. You have to shoot and nearly perfect shot.

On the one hand, it’s tremendously stressful. On the other hand, when you hear the sound of ball swishing through the hoop, there is bliss. To me, it’s worth the stress to have a chance of making it. No guts, no glory.

Speaking of which, here is Steph Curry sinking a ridiculous 35 foot shot to win the game in overtime.

4 replies on “Product-Market Fit – a metaphor”

So, if you threw a basketball while traveling in space, it would travel at the same speed you were. You could only make a shot if you were in fact heading straight into the basket OR if the basketball had some sort of thruster on it.

First, the guy all the way on the left looks a lot like you. I’m been watching Steph Curry all season. I saw a 2 on 1 break with Steph and his teammate who had the small. Steph ran to the three point line and the lone defender ran away from the guy with the ball to guard Curry. The guy with the ball just dribbled up and had a uncontested dunk. But statically, the defense did the right thing. Curry shoots better than 50% on open 3s, which is better than a dunk.

Whatya think?