Before You Get to Product Market Fit

Product Market Fit is not a destination, it is a journey

DEV.BIZ.OPS

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About a decade ago, I used to host food tours. This wasn’t a business, it was just a hobby that started with a bet with a friend and his food blog. He mistakenly thought he had the definitive list of best NYC Chinatown dumplings, and I had to prove him wrong.

A bit of context, I had lived in Beijing for a year. It was my first exposure to what actual Chinese food was like, and I traveled across many parts of China eating everything I could. This was when I fell in love with dumplings, whether steamed, fried, or filled with soup, and took my fondness for dumplings back home to NYC.

So back to the bet, I challenged my friend to a food throwdown. We would go to ten dumpling places, rate each dumpling, and declare a winner. We each invited some friends to come join and be witnesses. Then on the day of our dumpling challenge, instead of four or five people joining us, we had a crowd of forty, all hungry and excited to eat.

Despite the chaos of that first outing, it was so much fun we did a follow up but with soup dumplings. Then I continued on with a few more tours because other friends missed the previous tours. That was when a startup friend of mine turned me onto a Berlin based startup called Gidsy that offered a site for people to operate their tours.

I figured an automated way of scheduling, ticketing, and handling money was way better than my ad hoc system of email, spreadsheets, and cash. As soon as I posted dates, people started booking tours from all over the world coming to NYC and wanting dumplings. I went from one tour a month to multiple tours in a week.

Then one December, I keep getting email pings, but at an unusually frequent clip. As I scrolled the messages, it was clear that these were all people wanting to sign up for the tour as a holiday gift. I asked one of them how they found out about the tour, and they pointed me to an article in The New Yorker about my tours.

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DEV.BIZ.OPS

Thoughts on developers, digital transformation, startups, community building & engineering culture. Author is Mark Birch @ AWS 👉 https://twitter.com/marksbirch