No MVP, No Cry

Today I’m going to share with you my thoughts on MVP – a minimum viable product – and why it’s important for every startup.

MVP is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.

Eric Ries, the author of “Lean Startup”

Basically, you get the 1st version of your product out on the market as soon as possible. Your actual users get hands on it. Then, your task is to get real feedback from them and validate your business idea. In other words, it’s a real-life check to prove that you can build a viable business upon your initial assumption.

Although it might sound like a piece of cake, building MVP is anything but easy. In fact, it’s annoying and requires a lot of energy. You must:

  • Figure out, for any given context, what kind of minimum product makes sense.
  • Invest your time in talking to customers and analyzing your metrics.
  • Manage to learn something new.

As of my experience, the importance of MVP is often underestimated and I learned it the hard way. Several years ago, I invested weeks of time in building a product that nobody wanted. I could have found out a lot sooner. Just by running a simple smoke test.

Finally, you might think someone will steal your idea from MVP. And you’re fundamentally wrong. First, ideas are worth nothing. Not a single dollar. Execution is everything. Second, as a startup, you desperately need your early adopters which then become your most faithful users and future evangelists.

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