Background on the Superhuman engine for optimizing product:market fit
In 2018, Superhuman's unique journey to product:market was documented by its founder on First Round Capital’s widely-read blog:
Rahul’s core insight came from
, who ran early growth at Dropbox, LogMeIn, and Eventbrite, and who coined the term "growth hacker". Sean had
indicator of product:market fit:
Just ask a user “how would you feel if you could no longer use the product?” and measure the percent who answer “very disappointed.”
Ellis turned this into a robust
. Ellis established a magic number and a clear benchmark: 40%. Companies that struggled to find growth almost always had less than 40% of users respond "very disappointed" — whereas companies that grew most easily almost always exceeded that threshold. And therein was the hint that would become core to this method:
Ask your users how they’d feel if they could no longer use your product. The group that answers ‘very disappointed’ will unlock product:market fit.
In 2020, Superhuman ported this process into an interactive document hosted on Coda, which I have forked to make the version you are reading now.
The process is broken into 5 key steps:
to ask our customers "How would you feel if you no longer had your Ramblers Way clothing to wear?"
to find supporters and paint a picture of high-expectation customers
to convert on-the-fence customers into fanatics
of company improvements that double down on what customers love and address what holds others back
product:market fit over time as our most important metric