How do you know when you've hit product market fit, and it if you haven't, when do you change course?

Rami is the Chief Product Officer at Abnormal Security, where he leads the company’s product vision, strategy, and execution. In his masterclass, Rami walks through the steps necessary to build a world-class product from scratch, providing time-tested principles that enable product teams to come to life. Previously, Rami held various product leadership roles at Amazon Alexa, led product marketing and sales at Swagger (acquired) and led product management at Reverb (acquired) as VP of Product. Rami also led product management and marketing at Proofpoint, from company inception to IPO, for its inbound and outbound cybersecurity products.

Let me start actually first by defining what product market fit even is. It's a term we use in the industry to describe the situation when the product that you have satisfies market demand solves a problem. And it's basically site satisfying that market, which is essentially a group of customers.

The older adage comes down to, when product market fit is not happening, there's just a lot of problems. It's hard to sell the product or convince customers to install it. So that's when you know, you're not in product market fit. I'll talk about when you know, you are in product market fit.

Certainly some customers, they'll stumble into we call PMF product market fit, serendipitously. You just stumble upon in the area, but for an enterprise company like Abnormal it's a little more deliberate and I always prefer the deliberate approach. Of course you need a healthy dose of luck as well. [00:01:00] You can typically work backwards from a problem that you've identified. You have a hypothesis and you go into your test and you vet that, and you're trying to uncover problems that occur for a group of customers. And that's like a leading indicator. I would say if the problems resonate with the customers you're talking to in the very early stages before any code is written that's normally a good indicator that you're probably on the right path.

And I can talk a little bit more about the working backwards process a little bit later. But as you start to shift from problem identification and discovery to the solution and you start bringing it to market and working towards identifying that milestone that we might call it product market fit.

You'll start to notice that customers become deeply engaged in the product. And it's normally pretty clear. And one of the heuristics I have is when customers start making [00:02:00] excuses on your behalf. For all the things that don't work in the product it's oh, that's okay. We will, we've worked around this particular issue.

And and that's okay because it's still solving a problem for us. And the other kind of heuristic, which maybe is follows that first statement is you get to a point where, especially if you're on the inside, when you are the product team or the company, the startup, it might sometimes feel like the wheels are falling off.

The bus a little bit where, a lot of things aren't working and you're just having to optimize where you're allocating the resources to serve that customer need you're being pulled into the market to address very specific problems. That's also a good sign and maybe it's just. At different perspective on the first statement I made.

And at some point you wake up one day and you say, wow, for the last two months, let's just say we've been in product market fit. So it's not maybe a particular instant in time, [00:03:00] but it's an event in a series of events almost like climbing a hill. And once you get to the other side with some amount of reflection, you can say that.

We are in this mode right now. And there is obviously proxies, you can use financial proxies and other types of usage metrics we would use on the product team to help you identify that.

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