In product development, one of the standard terms that we will hear very often is Product-Market Fit.
It's a measurement of how well the product's features align and satisfy its market demands. It's one of the critical aspects that founders will be targeting when they set out to build the product.
There is another critical metric on a similar line, which didn't get the credit it deserved. It's Product-Life Fit.
What is Product-Life Fit
It's a measurement of how well the product we are building aligns with what we wanted to do with our life.
It may sound philosophical, but I believe it is a crucial part of the equation. Let me tell you why.
When a shiny idea flashes on our minds as software developers, our first instinct would be jumping into coding and burning the midnight oil to turn the concept into reality.
But it doesn't end there!
Life happens, and most likely, we will be facing one of the (sometimes all the) following situations that will influence us to drop the idea.
- We didn't get enough traction in the market.
- Nobody is interested in our product/idea.
- We are concerned about a lot of uncertainties.
- We have lost interest in developing the software.
- We are overwhelmed by the complexity.
Likewise, tons of other situations come between us and destiny. When these situations arise, we need to decide on whether to continue or not.
If the product we are working on aligns well with what we wanted to do with our life, we do what it takes and turn it successful. If not, we drop the idea and move on with our life.
By focusing on setting the right expectations for ourselves before we start on something, we are laying the strong foundations that we can rely on when things go not as we thought.
I am not saying dropping it middle is wrong. There is no point in wasting our time clinging to something which we no longer believe. It's all count as experience at the end of the day. But by thinking about its alignment with our life, we are making a conscious decision on what kind of experience we wanted to have.
Measuring Product-Life Fit
Now we got an idea of what is Product-Life fit and why it matters. Let's focus on how we can get there.
Starting with Why
Why are you working on this idea and spending your valuable time?
It could be for
- learning something
- making an impact
- earning money
The key is not the answer (though it is vital to some extent). It is your awareness. So, whatever may be your reason, make sure you set the right expectation for yourself.
Interest in the Problem Statement
Are you genuinely interested in the problem that you are trying to solve?
We all have different tastes, preferences, and philosophies. There are a lot of domains that we can focus on to solve a worthy problem. Gaming, Teaching, Travelling, Banking, and the list go on.
Developing software from scratch and making money using it is often challenging. Having a natural and genuine interest in the problem will give you the extra motivation to play our "A-game."
Interest in the Customer Success
Would you like to work with people from the problem domain and turn them into happy customers?
A business thrives on customer happiness. As a startup, your success in the initial years will hugely depend on how well you interact with your initial customers.
What are you becoming?
In the process of turning your idea into reality, what are you becoming?
You will feel a different version of yourself when you are in the process of achieving something that has never done before. Sometimes it outweighs the tangible outcome of your efforts.
Would you like to undergo this transformation, and is it align with your aspirations?
What's My Product-Life fit?
With this context for the rest of this blog post, let me share the Product-Life fit of Kalvify, the product that I am building.
Learn CS in Tamil
Let me start with Learn CS in Tamil, an e-learning portal where I share my software development expertise through various courses in my mother tongue (Tamil).
As a part of campus recruitment, I went to numerous colleges in TamilNadu, India for the past six years. I experienced a typical pattern almost wherever I went. If we interview 1000 students, only very few knew how to do programming on their own. Most of them don't have any clue about web development. From the interactions that I had, one thing was very evident. The students are willing to put in the required effort. They need the right coach to guide them in the proper direction.
I was pondering this problem for almost two years, and something in me keeps insisting that I have the solution for this. What am I going to leave behind is also another thought that kept creep in my mind. I also felt it's time to give back to the community.
Hence I have acted on this idea and started creating the courses in my mother tongue, Tamil. I have also decided to build it as a business by turning it into an affordable paid membership-based e-learning portal. It will help me financially as well as the longevity of the website.
I also have an innate interest in teaching right from my childhood. Simplifying a complex topic and explaining it to others in an understandable way is an important thing that I picked up in my academics. I love working with people and empowering them to become their best.
That's my Product-Life fit for LearnCSinTamil. Let's move to Kalvify.
It's all started with a follower who asked me the tech stack behind the current version of LearnCSinTamil in Whatsapp. It is currently a static website built using Nuxt.js. While answering this, it struck me that I can release it as a course itself. I started working on this as well.
Around the same time, I am evaluating various proprietary platforms to build the next version of LearnCSinTamil to turn it into a full-blown membership-based website. There are gaps in all the solutions that I have evaluated.
Then this idea pops up in the middle of the night (Yes, seriously).
"Why don't you build it by yourself and capture the entire journey as a course?".
I let the idea sink in for few more days, and I was very excited about it. After a couple of days, I have decided to act on it.
I am incredibly fortunate that it all came together very well, and here is how it aligns with my life.
- I love helping people. Through Kalvify, I can coach my audience (learners in Learn CS in Tamil) on how to turn their idea into reality. As a platform, it will also help fellow content-creators and educators to monetize their expertise.
- I enjoy building products, and I am getting better at it with each product I am making.
- I admire open-source, and I will open-source some of the components of Kalvify.
- I am always up for diversifying my income source. I am not sure at this point how to turn Kalvify into a profitable business. But it has the potential.
- Always in the quest for a worthy problem to solve, and when it inspires, act on it.
- Make sure your actions are aligning with your core values.
- Wisely choose what kind of experiences that you wanted to have in your life.
- When things didn't go well as you expected, ask yourself why you have started it in the first place.
- Do you love the person you are becoming? If yes, keep moving and enjoy the journey. If not, stop and reflect. Your mind will give you the answer.
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