Every other article talks about finding PMF. Almost none talks about losing PMF. Here is our experience on that.
It was 2022 March. We set out to build a gaming community starting with my home country, Turkey. Gaming had boomed with M&A activity in the last 4 years in Turkey and it already had one of the most passionate gaming populations in the world.
I had quit my job at Morgan Stanley months ago and was itching to do something new. The market was so hot for web3 and NFTs. I still had a lot of difficulty understanding the jargon and educating myself into crypto.
The model was simple. There were these new games coming up that produced their in app items as collectibles. As the market was flaming hot, each item costed more than thousands of dollars. We would buy some of the items and rent them to players so that they can play and earn tokens. Then we would share their earnings.
We set up the guild and started attracting local gamers. It was already a big thing in Southeast Asia. Yet, we were not getting a lot of attention. People simply did not know what this movement was all about. We spent a couple weeks educating people with influencers, Tiktok and Twitter campaigns. We started to slowly get on. We had 2 marketing pitches:
- Pitching the game
- Pitching the earning potential
When the game did not catch on, we pitched:
Play the game and earn money
This seemed to catch on. So we doubled down.
Takeoff or Product Market Fit
We were getting more demand than we were ever able to. People were manually applying through Google Forms to get access to our NFTs. The community grew 300% in 2 weeks from 5,000 people to 15,000 people.
We never had the full courage to pronounce it publicly in the team because it was just too much and too bold. However, everyone was feeling the pull from customers.
We were happy.
We started to look for solutions as to how we can automate this process of giving people permissionless and trustless access to NFTs.
We decided to create a rental protocol that everyone can safely use to rent digital assets.
And we did that successfully.
We had 3 mistakes:
- We misjudged the underlying reason for demand to our product. If you sell people something for 75 cents and give back 1 dollars, they are going to want it even if it is a stinking expired block of cheese
- The demand to our product was conditional of the market prices of the underlying assets. When the market is crypto, it is 0 to 100 and 100 to 0 twice a day. Hence we never were able to stabilize and steady the demand.
- Instead of going over these reasons, we grew alert of competition and the speed of market to directly undertake a huge product build.
Hope this helps other founders who might be on the brink of PMF. You should always take it with a grain of salt.