Weekend Reading: Product Market Fit, Stripe's 5th Hub, and Downlink

May 11, 2019 • #

🦸🏽‍♂️ How Superhuman Built an Engine to Find Product/Market Fit

As pointed out in this piece from Rahul Vohra, founder of Superhuman, most indicators around product-market fit are lagging indicators. With his company he was looking for leading indicators so they could more accurately predict adoption and retention after launch. His approach is simple: polling your early users with a single question — “How would you feel if you could no longer use Superhuman?”

Too many example methods in the literature on product development orient around asking for user feedback in a positive direction — things like “how much do you like the product?”, “would you recommend to a friend?” Coming at it from the counterpoint of “what if you couldn’t use it” reverses this. It makes the user think about their own experience with the product, versus a disembodied imaginary user that might use it. It brought to mind a piece of the Paul Graham essay “Startup Ideas”, if you go with the wrong measures of product-market fit:

The danger of an idea like this is that when you run it by your friends with pets, they don’t say “I would never use this.” They say “Yeah, maybe I could see using something like that.” Even when the startup launches, it will sound plausible to a lot of people. They don’t want to use it themselves, at least not right now, but they could imagine other people wanting it. Sum that reaction across the entire population, and you have zero users.

🛤 Stripe’s Fifth Engineering Hub is Remote

Remote work is creeping up in adoption as companies become more culturally okay with the model, and as enabling technology makes it more effective. In the tech scene it’s common for companies to hire remote, to a point (as Benedict Evans joked: “we’re hiring to build a communications platform that makes distance irrelevant. Must be willing to relocate to San Francisco.”) It’s important for the movement for large and influential companies like Stripe to take this on as a core component of their operation. Companies like Zapier and Buffer are famously “100% remote” — a new concept that, if executed well, gives companies an advantage against to compete in markets they might never be able to otherwise.

A neat Mac app that puts real-time satellite imagery on your desktop background. Every 20 minutes you can have the latest picture of the Earth.