It’s all about finding a market.
I have read both the terms for product market fit and founder market fit, from some very influential market leaders in their field. Namely Brad Feld, the founder of TechStars who talk much about “founder market fit”. The main focus behind it is about finding the right people for the right idea and market. While the term “product market fit” has been talk about and popularize by Marc Andreessen, who previously founded Netscape and now a venture capitalist. Product-market fit emphasizes on finding a market that needs your product while making sure the market is priority. Many companies invest too much time and resources in the product development stage without fully understanding the market needs and then fail to deliver excitement in sales and traction. If your business meets the product-market fit, then the symptoms will be apparent. People will start using your product, growth will be positive and word of mouth will rise.
While I agree that both founder/product market fit are important, there are also other factors that are as important as well. Let’s take a look at Apple, the company probably uses a slightly different model when it comes to building new products and entering into new markets. For example, Apple claim that the iPad is supposedly a new product category. Prior to the introduction of iPad, there are already tablet computers in the marketplace but it isn’t very popular and it does not generate much revenue. However, Apple has the audacity to jump into that category and rebooted that market and hence disrupting the whole PC marketplace. After just a few years with the iPad in the market, there are many analysts forecasted that tablet computers will outpace PCs in sales and usage. This is a very disrupting effect in the market and perhaps upsetting for many PC vendors and manufacturers. Google is another good example when it comes to leading innovation as they continue to invest in markets that perhaps many people will see it as too early, such as self driving cars and smart glasses with augmented reality features.
Perhaps the examples are more suitable for bigger companies that have the capacity to take more risks as they can spend more in experimenting markets that yet unripe for disruption. But it takes a lot of audacity, courage and leadership in order to persist in creating a new category in the market, but they still do it through many trials and errors. And when you are successful, it will pay off handsomely such as the iPad.
Beyond the founder-product-market fit, there are room for innovation, trial and error and leadership fit, as long as you can afford it.