In my time watching and working with startups as an investment banker, VC, entrepreneur, and consultant to startup teams, the notion of product/market fit has gone from a new insight to conventional wisdom.However, product/market fit never seemed like the right notion to me. After doing some thinking and working very closely with a handful of startup teams in the last year or so, I realized that a team isn't looking for product/market fit; it's looking for product/market balance. The notion of balance highlights the delicate task of getting a product to meet a market's needs:
The notion of balance serves another purpose; balance provides a basis to extend the metaphor into the other important parts of a product experience: positioning and pricing. Here, you can see how the product supports positioning:
If the product itself balances with the market's needs, poor positioning can upset the balance and lead to everything tumbling down:
You can't decide to position a product as premium if the product is shoddy. Likewise, the price you choose reinforces and strengthens your positioning - you can't have a "value" product that is priced higher than your competition. Startup teams must make sure that everything about their product, positioning, and price structure maintains the delicate balance necessary for market success.