#209 - Daniel Erickson, CEO of Viable on nailing Product Market Fit

A story about what it takes to build software that customers love

Daniel Erickson

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to finally prevent us from relying on anecdotes that lead to biased decisions and with that build products customers love. My guest is Daniel Erickson, Founder, and CEO of Viable.

Daniel has been active in software development since 2006. He took an untraditional path from most. Together with his co-founder he skipped college altogether and straight out of high school created a consulting firm in Portland to help early-stage companies build their very first products, create MVPs, get their first users, and/or get their first investment. 

After doing the same thing over and over again for clients as a consultant, he really wanted to dig into a longer-term problem. And being an early member of the Node.js community where he helped organize a lot of conferences, got him an early engineering job at Yammer.

From there he moved to Getable where he was the CTO, and to Eaze where he was VP of Engineering. Today, he’s the founder and CEO of Viable.

Viable is on a mission is to help us better and more quickly understand what customers are telling us, so we can immediately find the most important things we should be working on.

And this inspired me, and hence I invited Daniel to my podcast. We explore the challenges many SaaS businesses face in finding product-market fit. Daniel shares his experiences, and what’s required to do / not to do in order to achieve this – whether you build a product from the ground up, or evolve an existing product. He also shares his experiences that not every product is fit for a product-led growth approach, and what it takes to spark adoption and to grow meaningful traction. Last but not least he leaves his views on what it takes to build a software business the world talks about.

Here are some of his quotes

“It actually came from my time at Gettable. And I spent four years there, trying to find product-market fit, and never quite found. But I did learn a lot about collecting customer feedback and using customer feedback to guide a roadmap. And it just kind of got me obsessed with this idea of using customer feedback to build a really great product. 

So I started actually looking around on that one and came up with this idea to go tackle that. So the initial spark was actually solving my own problem. It was I knew I was going to have to solve the product-market fit problem at some point. And I knew that customer feedback was the best way to improve a product. I actually came across a blog post from Rahul Vora about how Superhuman found product-market fit, I applied some of those ideas to the system. And then went off to the races from there and quickly realized that this was a larger problem than early-stage startups.”

During this interview, you will learn four things:

  1. That it can take years to find product-market-fit if you are not making some critical choices
  2. Why it’s way easier to design and build a remarkable product when you got a very specific user in mind.
  3. How to create products that result in jaw-drop moments every time you demo them.
  4. That just solving a customers problem doesn’t mean that you’re going to have a product that grows

For more information about the guest from this week:


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About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.