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Why Founder Market Fit is More Important than PMF (and when that changes)

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Onto the newsletter — this week’s post is about why founder-market fit actually matters more than PMF, at least in the early days, and if / when that switches (hint: it’s later than you might think) 👇

Read time: 3 minutes

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Why Founder-Market Fit > PMF

Quick — what are PMF and FMF?

If you’re reading this newsletter, you likely know and have seen definitions for PMF, and may be familiar with FMF (but might not have seen it concisely defined anywhere):

  • PMF → From Andrew Chen’s great PMF deck: “when people who know they want your product are happy with what you're offering”

  • FMF → I couldn’t find a definition I loved, so here’s mine: “when founders are obsessed with a big, fast-growing market they understand well

Why FMF Matters More in the Early Stages

Reaching PMF is always the initial goal as a founder, but when you’re in the early stages of starting something new the actual product you have doesn’t matter much yet.

What you’re really trying to use the product to do is to get signals from potential users who fit your target persona and are experiencing the problem you’re trying to solve.

The reality is that the product will change (and good investors know this). Slack is a classic example — their team started out building a game, and Slack was just an internal tool they built. Eventually, because their team was great, they realized selling Slack was the bigger opportunity.

It’s also true from an investor’s perspective. Early stage investors are looking for:

  • A big, fast-growing market

  • A team that is obsessed with and can effectively capture that market

  • A deep understanding of the users within that market

Notice I didn’t say “product” anywhere there. In the early stages it’s typically a bet on the founders and the market.

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