Brand Development · Brand Strategy

What stage is this MVP, in your opinion?

Dan Hubbard Founder, www.FocusedAgility.Solutions/

April 20th, 2018

Lately, I have read dozen's of posts seeking feedback for so-called "MVPs" that really do not seem to be in keeping with what we think of as MVPs.


I've read posts, commented on, and have enjoyed conversations/email with those who have a full-fledged (let's go to market, NOW) product, but they're on the fence for some reason.


And, I've read posts, etc, about mere "concepts" -- not ready for any serious consideration despite their enthusiasm -- that are seeking BIG funding and hitting the market.


So, what do I think an MVP is?


Simple; an MVP is the "next" step that you got to by putting the previous MVP out for feedback. You made changes, you have an evolved "MVP", and now you're going to get more feedback. At some point, that feedback might be limited sales while you continue to perfect the MVP, and sometimes, YOU HAVE A BAD IDEA and should let it die a quick death.


This is an MVP. The questions are:


1) What do you think it took to get here (a website, a press release, an example listing, and shiny new FB page):


a) How much time do you think it took to get here;


b) How much money ($USD) do you think it took to get here; and,


2) Should it go to the next stage, or die a quick death?

Tatyana Deryugina Founder of academicsequitur.com

April 20th, 2018

I'm sure you're more experienced, but I disagree that this is an MVP. I would call it a "landing page". I would define an MVP as being the simplest product that you think you could make money from. The reason I wouldn't call this website an MVP is it's missing the "viable" part - you can't actually book a cleaner through them/cleaners can't sign up. So what you learn from the website is whether people like the idea in general/are optimistic about the implementation, but not whether they'll actually pay.

Gautam Lakum Co-founder of SprintCube • Digital Product Designer • I build better digital products, faster.

Last updated on April 27th, 2018

I would say - this is not an MVP. Unless people are able to join and use it, it can't be called an MVP. It should get you users who can actually use your service, and get you some money (looking at your service model).


What you have built so far is a stage which can be used to know the people's interest only. It can help you validate your idea/service and check if it is going to get you users or not. So the current stage could be called "idea validation" in progress.


You should make this service available for the people, and then it could be called an MVP. Try to get people's feedback post MVP launch and keep iterating to make it a service that people can love to use.


I'm not sure what's the actual progress on it. But I would suggest you to run a Design Sprint and get feedback from the real users. It will take 4-5 days of work. If you're executing this as your part-time project, it will take max 2 weeks. But it will get you insights that will help you what to build next. And then you can plan the development and launch of it.

Dan Hubbard Founder, www.FocusedAgility.Solutions/

April 21st, 2018

Interesting comments thus far!

Dan Hubbard Founder, www.FocusedAgility.Solutions/

April 23rd, 2018

I posted last week asking what stage people thought an MVP was at, and a few other questions. Some didn’t think it was an MVP at all.

I was fortunate to be brought into General Electric (“GE”) at a pretty exciting time. Four things happened almost simultaneously: 1) The Board demanded the stock get a shot in the arm; 2) Immelt had just read Lean Startup (AND LOVED IT!); 3) The Board realized that GE was one of the largest software producers in the world; and, 4) And a couple global deals were in jeopardy because of a perceived lack of diversity and youth in GE’s software/middleware/hardware engineering ranks. So, Eric Ries and a few other consultants were brought in, GE’s Fastworks program was created, those awkward millennial commercials started rolling out, and everyone in GE was introduced to how the terms ‘MVP’ and ‘Agile’ were to be used, DAILY. The “product” in MVP is what people tend to point out with head-scratching annoyance at the suggestion that an MVP can be anything other than something sold.

The fact of the matter is that most MVPs are things not able to be “sold” for money. Instead, their value is their inherent success or failure at generating hard data that either validates a hypothesis/belief or sets us back to the drawing board.

The MVP that I linked to, is nothing more than a splash page, with a listing example and a capture form, a news release, and a Facebook page.

The experiment for the interns was to pick a project previously killed, or put on hold, push anew on the initial beliefs research, reaffirm our previous partner commitments, and launch a MVP to validate their beliefs.

What they now have -- in just over a week -- are 116 sign-ups, decent FB traffic, 27 emails asking for more information about listing, 1 request to give interview for a magazine article, and a meeting with another pretty spiffy partner company. Not too shabby!

And that is exactly how the process should work. You do not wait to put your MVP out to the masses until you can collect a dollar. By then, you’ve spent too much time making concrete plans, allocating precious resources, and quite possibly setting yourself up for massive failure. Don’t wait to put your MVP out there!

Brad Lewis Research Ecologist, Product Manager and Technology Strategist

April 26th, 2018

It's interesting to see variations on this question on various forums. The bottom line is "MVP" = Minimum Viable Product" - by definition it means you have a product that is viable in the marketplace, meaning customers are willing to buy it. Providing feedback (even positive feedback) or expressing interest does not equate to being willing to buy a product/service. Yes, you can roll out an MVP to a select trial group, and even do that pro bono in exchange for valuable feedback, so perhaps the actual exchange of monetary compensation isn't precisely critical, but having customers willing to actually use (and take a risk on) a product within the context of their business or self interest is in itself a monetary exchange.


Otherwise, what you have is an idea - and an idea does not = MVP. It's just that. One should go build a bare bones version of the product and test it with actual customers. That's what an MVP is meant to be. Otherwise, you have slide-ware which is extremely hard to sell unless you are dealing with investors who have a deep understanding of the proposed product (i.e. have worked in that specific industry/market) and/or are extremely risk oriented.


Think of it this way: If I can think of an idea and present it as though it would be possible to build, does that make it an "MVP"? Or do I need to demonstrate at a fundamental level that my idea can be translated into an actual working version of a product that is tangible, affordable and available to be evaluated by both customers and investors? I can imagine all sorts of pie-in-the-sky products, for which the technology does not yet exist to build - but is it MVP just because I can describe it and spin an exciting story around it? If it's the latter, I'd present to you the case of Theranos, which started with a noble idea, presented as fact/reality, and later ran into huge problems when it came time to translate investor $$'s into a solid product. While that example is certainly more complex, it illustrates the point that ideas are not the same thing as products, whether you call them MVP, 1.0 releases or anything else.


From an entrepreneurial perspective, it's disheartening to see poorly developed ideas latched on to the "MVP" concept as if it is some sort of short-cut to actually building product that solves real people's (customer's) problems. The hard truth is there is no shortcut. Do the work, test the outcomes, iterate if necessary and put in the blood, sweat and tears to see it through. With that perseverance comes eventual success.

Jodi Lasky Non-technical Cofounder and CEO seeking CMO/Co-Founder

April 20th, 2018

I would argue that MVP is in the eye of the beholder. Point of fact, last week, I had one person tell me that I do NOT have an MVP because my app is only available for iOS and I'm planning on it being Android too. Within 10 minutes, I had someone else ask why I'm looking to raise money since I have a full product that can be launched as is.


Both of the people were professionals in the industry, and neither had a financial stake in which way I go.

Joy Montgomery Continuous Improvement for Cleantech Companies, Connector

April 20th, 2018

I'm not sure you are actually asking a question. You seem to have answered it to your own satisfaction already. In my opinion, an MVP is the quickest route to revenue based on what you have learned is the most pressing need of your customers after 100 or so customer interviews. It could be the path to successful bootstrapping rather than spending time seeking funding.

Pennant Potential startup looking for the right people

April 20th, 2018

Whilst the question asks people 'what an MVP is' you will always get several different answers and opinions based on the experiences of those people, and they will all be right. I would say that "what an MVP is? " is entirely dependent on what that product or service being validated is. Your link for instance would be a perfectly valid MVP if you arrive at a database of clients and cleaners that are genuinely excited of being relieved of a painpoint, is 10x better than any current offering and are willing to pay for the service, However if your link was to gain interest in a new hairdryer design that you hadn't built yet then no its not an MVP its a landing page.

Therefor for me, an MVP is as the name suggests, the minimum amount of effort required to create something tangible to validate a product be it, a landing page for a cleaning services of a full working prototype of a hairdryer.

Gerald Reihsen Aggressive & innovative business building, deal-making, capital raising entrepreneur & consultant

April 20th, 2018

The thing you linked to is not an MVP. It's a marketing device to attempt to obtain a list of interested parties in what will be an MVP. (Which is a smart thing to do as the MVP is being built.)


An MVP is the minimum set of elements necessary to attract a customer to pay to use a product. So this is definitely not an MVP.

Todor Velev Managing Partner, EEI Network

April 20th, 2018

I have difficulties to understand your definition of MVP. It is enough to full read what MVP is - Minimal Viable Product, in order to have criteria to judge if a product is MVP or not. Viable means - able to survive, continue, etc. What you have is something not viable, and I would even think of replacing it with something else as such a page may have more negative than positive effect.


As for the rest of your questions -


1. Time - probably few hours to select and download a free Wordpress theme and put the text and the email subscription form.


2. Money - in terms of $, it took you whatever domain name and hosting may cost, probably about $50 to $70 for one year. The theme should be free for what you currently have. If you spend more on what you have, this is bad signal for potential investors.


3. Next stage - nobody can answer this. It is about what you plan to do, how big is the market, what is your go-to-market approach, etc. In general - a pitch deck, not this page.