Superhuman co-founder and CEO Rahul Vohra joined us last week at TechCrunch Early Stage to provide an in-depth look at how he and his company worked to optimize and refine their product early to create a version of “growth hacking” that would not only help Superhuman attract users, but serve them best and retain them, too. Vohra articulated a system that other entrepreneurs should be able to apply to their own businesses, regardless of area or focus.
The only good hack isn’t a hack at all
Vohra started off by explaining that he’s happy to discuss anything relating to the early stages of startup growth (and welcomed DMs to his Twitter if you have any specific questions). He identified a number of key areas of concern early on in company-building, including growth, pricing and even traditional growth hacking, but he noted that one area of focus is more important than any other:
The most important of these is product-market fit. And this is sort of the standard disclaimer that anyone who you would ever talk to about growth would ever give you, which is you shouldn’t try and grow a thing that isn’t yet ready to grow.(Timestamp: 01:11)
Product-market fit is the No. 1 reason why startups succeed. And the lack of product-market fit is the No. 1 reason why startups fail. (Timestamp: 02:02)
Strong stuff, but Vohra backs up this assertion with endorsements from startup industry heavyweights like Paul Graham, Sam Altman and Marc Andreessen underlying the key importance of product-market fit — and prioritizing it early in a startup’s existence. Also, he points out that it can be easy to mistake the “feeling” of having good product-market fit as a leading indicator, when in fact it’s usually a lagging one.
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