Let the Results Speak for Themselves

As you might imagine we’ve been heads-down working hard at building product, growing our small team with the right folks, adding explicit cultural artifacts when we can, and massaging our own internal employee handbook (and sharing it as much as we can).

“Busy” could be an understatement of the year for us here at Pinpoint but not all “busy” is good busy, if you know what I mean. Thankfully we feel good about our expenditure of time and want to continue keeping things small, agile, and purpose-driven.

In addition to growing our internal systems and culture we’ve also started expanding ever-so-lightly into the larger community. Although we’ve done this historically with this blog and other social properties we want to continue to iterate and improve, like attending industry events, meetups, and more.

For instance, I’m pretty stoked about heading to Frontiers 2017, a conference by the fine folks of Slack.

Frontiers is a celebration of how true product-market fit works.

For most of our readers here this product and company is “old-news” and you’re already well-aware of this technology and may even use it every single day. It’s quickly become a go-to tool for teams of all sizes and shapes.

My own personal story with Slack was, like most folks, started as just a simple user. I implemented it for my previous startup and since then it was just part of the tooling that every project had to have when booting up.

I’ve used it for smaller projects, indie projects, and even family and hackschooling besides this current company. And, on that final note, Slack and Pinpoint are definitely “involved” as they invested in our first financing venture round.

But the point of this post isn’t really about Slack or Slack’s conference but rather how quickly something can go from nothing to something in our technology world and how behavior change can actually happen when a need meets a really good solution.

Just a few years ago nobody had Slack. Slack didn’t even exist. But now, just a few years later, many organizations couldn’t even dream of a life without this tool and many organizations consider it one of their most important (if not the most important) internal tool that they use on the daily.

That’s pretty incredible. Mind-blowing, to be honest.

Product-Market Fit: You know (and feel) it when you see it.

Again, this is what it’s like to have a product meet a market that’s full of people that are ready to become passionate customers.

And this dynamic doesn’t happen as often as many people talk about, if I’m to be brutally honest. Many, many folks talk about “product-market fit” but if that were the actual case then we’d see more growth curves like Slack all over the place.

The reality is that it’s far easier to tell folks that you have product-market fit than for you to actually have it. It’s kind of a self-defeating cycle too because the leaders of the organization have essentially fooled themselves into believing they have something when they actually don’t.

For this reason I’ve been pretty wary of anyone who claims they have found product-market fit. In a way, you don’t have to tell anyone when you do because the results just speak for themselves.

Everything else is market-hype, PR spin, manufactured interest, or just founder and leadership delusion. And we all know that the startup world is littered with products who have died because of too much of the latter.

Build something that people want. Really want. This is how you build real, sustainable momentum. And if the folks that you thought would want what you’ve created don’t in fact want it then continue to refine and work at discovering how you can make it even better.

You don’t have to be discouraged! It just means you have to engage deeper, ask better questions, have more data-driven conversations, and above all you must be willing to be wrong about your initial assumptions. I mean, if you thought that you’d land it the first time through then you’re already on the wrong track.

It’s going to take time, much more time than you had originally planned. This is almost always the case (and that’s a good thing as it separates the good ideas from the really bad ones).

And when the results speak for themselves they’ll speak more loudly than you could have done on your own and you’ll be all the more grateful that you didn’t force a whisper when it could have been a loud and unstoppable roar.