The Big Product Lie

The 3 most repeated “product” phrases in the business world—specifically the startup world are:

• Product-Market Fit
• Minimum Viable Product
• Product-Led Growth

Unfortunately, all 3 are very misleading startup frameworks to follow.

Here's why 🧵👇
Myth #1: Product-Market Fit

Listen to the words.

You think your job is to FIT:

• A new product
• Into an existing market

Your thinking immediately starts sprinting in the direction of “what currently exists.”

Not what market COULD or SHOULD exist but doesn't yet.
No legendary company ever created a product that FIT into an existing category:

• There was no “smartphone” category before Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone.

• There was no “ride-sharing” category before Uber came along.

• There was no “video doorbell” category before Ring.
Myth #2: Minimum Viable Product

Put these words in front of any other phrase.

Maybe we should also build:

• Minimum Viable Cars?
• Minimum Viable Bridges?
• Minimum Viable Buildings?
• Minimum Viable Heart Valves?
A better initial metric to focus on is:

Minimum Viable Traction

• Is the new category name “sticking?”

• Is your new & different POV being internalized and repeated by your Superconsumers?

• What % of people who hear your POV start a free trial / buy the product?
Myth #3: Product-Led Growth

This way of thinking is asinine.

Entrepreneurs think PLG means "give users the ability to invite other users and growth will be parabolic."

But PLG is just Digital Word-Of-Mouth.

And it's the customers who drive the growth.

Not the product itself.
Entrepreneurs love pointing to "PLG" companies like:

• PayPal
• Dropbox
• Slack

What they fail to realize, however, is it wasn't "the product" that ignited the growth.

Category Design Marketing = Languaging + Superconsumers

Not the "invite a friend" product feature.
Silicon Valley loves to chant:

"The best product always wins."

But again, listen to the words.

"Best" in relation to... what? (Another product? An existing Category King?)
Business is a winner-takes-all game.

The Category King who invents a New & Different category owns 76% of the economics.

And everyone else with a "better" product competes over the remaining 24% of the market.

The best product does not always win.

This is The Big Product Lie
If you've made it this far and haven't started screaming at your computer ("NO THE BEST PRODUCT DOES ALWAYS WIN"), that means there's still hope for you.

Read the whole Category Pirates mini-book here:


Recommended by
Recommendations from around the web and our community.

This was a GREAT read. Sometimes you just need to step back and think common sense about these things.