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The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products, Innovate with New Ventures, and Disrupt Markets by Eric Ries, Patrick Vlaskovits, Brant Cooper

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Know Your Audience: Why Segmentation Matters

Lean thinking—for example, lean manufacturing—has a concept called pull.

pull: An arrangement in which nothing is done simply means that nothing is done in product creation or delivery until the customer (including internal customers in the design and manufacturing process) expresses a need or a demand for the product or for the intermediate “deliverable” from the downstream process.

Product-market fit can be thought of as massive pull.

Pull has two primary characteristics:

1. Demand demonstration. We’re not building the product, part, or feature because we think the product is wanted; it has been ordered.
2. No overproduction. We’re building just in time (JIT)—in other words, no inventory. The product, part, or feature is created only when pulled by the next downstream process.

Combined with lean’s concept of flow, pull means that not only is the final product not overproduced, but neither are all intermediate parts, so that from design to delivery, a product flows from raw materials to the customer’s hand without waste: no wasted activity, time, or materials.

Product-market fit can be thought of as pull on a large scale. So many customers are demanding your product (and product features), that a clear market signal has been sent saying your product is needed. Marc Andreessen, when first describing the concept, used the term pull without referencing lean: “the market pulls product out of the startup.”3

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