A few thoughts on MVPs

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Quick-hit Friday morning thoughts focused on the polarizing Minimum Viable Product (MVP)…

  • Viable, Delightful, Desirable – whatever term you use, don’t ever lose sight of what MVPs and Lean Startup exist for…validated learning.
  • Validated learning can mean a number of things to different startups. Your founding team needs to decide what KPIs to use before running any sort of MVP-backed experiments.
  • A sign-up page IS NOT ENOUGH. Neither are surveys asking “would you perform XYZ activity related to my made-up product?”. This video is the best way I can explain the inherent flaw in asking people if they’d do something.

  • Pivots are not easy. Even when they are the right move, they take time and energy and typically throw off planning timelines.
  • Hypothesis-driven decision making is crucial when launching an MVP. Stack your learning paths as wisely as possible. When we promoted our landing page for Collabo, we didn’t stop at collecting email addresses. We invited every new sign-up to a private Facebook group where we could further test our hypothesis that the freelancing community would be willing to connect with strangers to share work-related info.
  • Optimization activity, like CRO, is pretty much a waste at the MVP stage. You probably don’t have enough traffic to reach statistical confidence levels and even if you do, all your hypotheses should be focused on achieving product-market fit, not tweaking the color of your sign-up button to increase conversions by 2%.
  • Getting your MVP into the RIGHT customers’ hands will accelerate your quality learnings greatly. For Collabo, we were hyper focused on attracting¬†hardcore freelancers – especially those with startup experience. I actually turned friends away who wanted to support us because their view of Collabo would have been less valuable as non-freelancers.
  • The advantage of having non-technical founders is that you’re essentially forced to launch an MVP without writing code. And it’s very, very doable for most products.
  • It sucks pushing out a less-than-polished product. That was a tough mental hurdle for me in the beginning.
  • This might be the best visual I’ve seen on shitty MVP approach vs. good MVP approach, taken from Kenny Herman:

MVP kennyherman


 

 

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