The Superhuman Product/Market Fit Engine

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The Superhuman Product/Market Fit Engine

Product-market fit is the number one reason why startups succeed. This document contains a powerful engine to define, measure, and systematically increase product/market fit. It can even generate your roadmap for you!
In 2018, Superhuman's unique journey of product/market became one of the most widely read of the year. It received a much stronger positive response than I expected — many founders and product leaders were facing similar challenges, and they welcomed a concrete engine to find and increase product/market fit.
In 2020, we are taking this engine to the next level. This document contains everything you need to implement the Superhuman framework yourself. And as a bonus, it also contains a representative sample of our actual Superhuman results, so you can dive deep into real data as you learn all the concepts.

A reminder: the Superhuman engine for optimizing product/market fit

In 2017, I was intensely trying to find product/market fit for my startup, . I searched high and low; I spoke with all the experts; I read everything I could find. This included classics such as thought pieces from ("make something people want"), ("users spontaneously tell others to use your product"), and of course ("you can almost always feel it when it is happening"). As vivid and as compelling as these definitions were, they were all still lagging indicators.
My core insight came when I found , who ran early growth at Dropbox, LogMeIn, and Eventbrite — and who coined the term "growth hacker". Sean had a leading indicator:
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 our 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.

A 5-Step Product-Market Fit Engine

At Superhuman, we turned this process into a 5 step engine. This document will walk you through the engine step-by-step:
to ask your users "How would you feel if you could no longer use Superhuman?"
to find supporters and paint a picture of high-expectation customers
to convert on-the-fence users into fanatics
your improvements by doubling down on what users love and addressing what holds others back
product/market fit over time as your most important metric

Learn by exploring Superhuman's data

My illustrated product/market fit with the real example of Superhuman. The goal of this document is to take this to the next level: not only does it contain a representative sample of actual Superhuman data, it is also an interactive toolkit so you can use the engine with your own product!
All of the examples are interactive, so you can dive deep into the data. Try filtering down the charts or reassigning a persona to understand how it flows through the engine 👇
How can we improve Superhuman for you?
Persona :
🌻 Founder
"How would you feel if you could no longer use Superhuman?" :
Very disappointed

How to use the Superhuman engine on your own startup

To everybody out there searching for product/market fit: you are not alone. Try retooling this engine to make it your own. Simply copy the , replace it with your own data, and find product/market fit! If you would like to try this technique and need help implementing it, the Coda team has graciously offered to help. Click below to get assistance:
Copy Superhuman's template

Finally, here’s a talk I did about the Superhuman’s Product Market Fit Engine at Coda’s Block Party in 2021:

👉 to get started!

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