Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)... easy to say, hard to do... especially for Engineers.
The whole concept of Minimum Viable Product is so simple, yet so hard for Engineers to follow. Not just engineers, of course, but anyone with a passionate interest in "making something", and a smaller interest in "making money". This Blog: http://startuplessonslearned.blogspot.com/2009/03/minimum-viable-product.html does a fine job of defining it (great video here). However to summarize, its the basic concept of minimizing the time from 'idea' to 'market testing' of any product. Some even think this can be extreme (like pre-orders for foil-ware)... As an engineer, "foil-ware"/"Slide-ware" is the hypocritical Satan worshiped by people who don't know how to build things!
So what is the happy medium? And why is it so hard for we Engineers to "let go" of features/certain aspects of our products in the short term?
The simple answer is, passion. So finding the right mix of "passion" to go along with "business reality" is key to early success and real indicators of future success. Consider, if 0% of 5000 "qualified" customers are willing to sign up for a 'free trial' of a 'basic version of your product', what is to make you think they will be willing to pay $50/month for those 'extra' features in the future?
So, the happy medium is this: build the minimum product that contains the "key" differentiators of your solution... and nothing more. I mean nothing more. Not part 2. Not the part you "think" is needed to make it a 'complete' solution... just they KEY part. Even if the KEY part doesn't itself seem like an MVP. If they key part can't be made into an MVP, maybe you should consider a 'different' idea to build a business on, eh?
More about MVP:
Posted by Harlan Tytus Beverly
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