1K Blog Marathon: Day 67
Keep It Super Simple. This is the logic behind the MVP, or Minimum Viable Product. If you have an MVP, it means that this product is very simple and with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future product developments.
The Minimum Viable Product
Coined by Frank Robinson in 2001, this term became more popular when Steve Blank and Eric Ries talks about it in terms of startups. Eric Ries’ book “The Lean Startup” expound this idea further.
This approach of creating an MVP first is popular among tech startups. Built from a hackathon, or from a garage, the startup members will create a solution to a real-world problem, usually solving only one problem or issue at a time. And by the simplicity of solving one problem, the Minimum Viable Product is easy to create, but lacks the premium features. It’s just a basic system, but good enough to perform its intended usage.
MVP’s purpose is to identify the solution to a problem with the least amount of effort. It aims to collect information from customer feed backs, steering the product to a more profitable path that comes from the words of the actual users. This is a way of validating if the product is effective and efficient enough to continue further.
With basic features, you can view MVPs like a simple machine – you can further enhance it IF it really is the solution to a problem. For example, you MVP is a personal debt calculator. With the solution of computing the principal and the percentage of your debt, you can start using this simple app right away. You can further enhance it by adding other features, like a 6-month future prediction of your payments, printing and saving as other files. It doesn’t need to be perfect at start, it just have to function and do the job.
There are 3 Characteristics of an MVP
- Simple but enough product that the user can start using;
- It goes ahead of the curve by offering future benefit for early adopters.
- It has a feedback loop that will help you understand the wants and needs of your customers.
Popular Examples of Minimum Viable Product
Amazon, a web app created in the garage of Jeff Bezos. The MVP features of Amazon is that it is a public and free library. As the company grows, and many customers suggests different items, services and approach of distribution, this largest online library becomes one of the largest online store, shipping and retailer – the MVP now skyrocketed.
Facebook. We all know the story of Mark Zuckerberg, a college student that create a website that connects students via college logbook or “face book”, that soon became the largest social media platform – offering nearly everything, from personal profile, marketplace, chat, video calls and more.
Twitter. Idea by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass, it all started from a web app that sends SMS to a small group of people. Now, twitter is one of the largest social media website that offers a limited number of strings (140 characters) for caption, called tweets, reaching not only a small group of people, but the whole world.
The simplicity of the idea of a Minimum Viable Product is very simple: build a simple product first, validate if the market will respond, then scale. It’s the fastest way to create a rocks tar product if it succeeds, and an easy exit when it failed. Did you have an MVP in your mind?
“And that’s one blog, stay hungry!”
“We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.”Eric Ries