📻 — Start with Problem-Market Fit in the Early Days of a New Startup, Product, or Community

This is your Community, Daily.

Reading Time: ~ 3 min.

Good morning yenizens!

The week (and April) is moving quickly forward! And it was super-fun to hangout with a handful of new faces last night in our #yenHOURS as we coworked together, talked shop, and built community!

See you tomorrow morning @ 8:00am PST for another #yenWORKING?

  1. No automation. Not full-timeChores. Overnight success. CH + Stripe!

  2. Every bizGumroad and creatorsEAsLoki. Could be usefulCasted!

  3. WildriftBidenomicsWireflow. Damn bandcamp. Bloo ui kit. DevRel @ Twitter.

  4. Why. Great teams. VC decks. Thanks FBResoumeNahAudioversePort?

  5. We deserve our decline. Scale marketplaces. Notion link managerXupermask.

  6. New wallstreet. Elon on decision making. Amazon coins? Blogrolls, really.

  7. Amazing. Mindset challenge. Sidekick netFocus. Bye DTC? Simple question.

  8. Finding voice. Google > Oracle. Brand modeling. TikTok hatersHoldco.

  9. Notion courses. Image genCounter. Backing IRLs. Structure a social network.

  10. Fucking crazyRevenge($$). NownessSmarter. Broken discourseComgrid.

To infinity & community,

— john


I really enjoyed listening to these two seasoned and experienced leaders talk shop:

Clearly defined wins are vital for startups. But what else is essential? In this episode, Sangram Vajre and I discuss must-haves for a successful startup culture.

I love this:

The first year is about “problem-market fit”; does the market care about the problem? A lot of early products and startups believe that the problem that they need to solve doesn’t change. But, you have to start here.

Sangram Vajre

You have to build a product that solves a problem, answers a question, or resolves a tension. The mission isn’t to try to convince the world (or the market) that they need your product! The “convincing” isn’t — and shouldn’t be — the prime focus.

A few more takeaways (via a great handout) below.


High-Level, Key Takeaways:

  • The Magic Triangle – the categories every entrepreneur should focus on:

    • Mission – what you believe in no matter what happens

    • People – hiring the right people to drive performance

    • Culture – defining the win at every level of the organization to create a game-changing winning culture that your people will feel

  • How leaders create a winning culture that values people and accomplishes the mission:

    • See the whole picture. It’s a mistake to think about winning using only sales or growth metrics.

    • Define the win based on the activities that keep your business moving forward. This will help employees at all levels see and feel how they contribute to the win.

    • Think beyond sales or growth metrics alone. This sets your organization up for exponential growth and casts a longer-term vision for success.

  • The mission of your business isn’t to convince everyone they need your product or service. It’s to create a product that answers a question, solves a problem, or resolves a tension for your customer.

  • Threats to maintaining a healthy culture come from the tension of balancing the two primary revenue sources-raising capital and sales.

  • The first year of a startup must be focused on problem-market fit. Does your market care about the problem that your product solves?

  • Retention is the new acquisition. Customer retention is achieved when you have a deeper attachment to the problem you solve than your product.

  • An integral part of personal success as you take on a new venture is protecting your important relationships.

  • Evaluate your opportunity in light of the sacrifices each partner will make to achieve your goals.

  • Build community within your family, team, and your organization by defining the win:

    • Attach the win to a timeline. Clearly define your goals and set expectations by pinning the goals to specific dates.

    • Your commitments to your community will help motivate you to achieve your goals.

    • Community helps build resilience and helps you stand against the odds as an entrepreneur.

    • You will be a stronger, more successful leader when you keep your primary partnership at home your highest priority.

You can get a .pdf download of this here.

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