More and more realizing how a startup can be divided into one of two stages; pre or post product-market-fit. Some sort of dichotomy, as the title says. But this is really important. Some even argue that the number one reason startups fail is they don’t recognize what stage they are in, aka. premature scaling.
Theoretically, the two phases are really easy to understand. In practice, it’s a lot harder. Pre product-market-fit, you should only experiment. Figure out what your customers want. And once you have it, scale. That’s the post part.
The most difficult thing is figuring out when you go from the first to the second phase. It’s the opposite of flipping a switch. It will happen gradually and you will notice it through your hypotheses strengthening. Usage increases day by day, and at some point you will be confident enough that you have product-market-fit, and can start scaling.
Succeeding is about doing this at the right time.