1.2.3 MVP: Minimum Viable Product

As we learned in the lecture on the lean startup, the Lean Startup Methodology is based on a strategy that starts by creating a Minimum Viable Product. This Minimum Viable Product, also known as your MVP, is based on the idea that you can create a product that includes just enough features to allow useful feedback from early adopters. The reason for using an MVP strategy, is that it makes it easier for a startup to get to speed to market. You mitigate the likelihood of wasting time on features that nobody wants. And this allows you to move more quickly, with less likelihood of failure, with subsequent customer driven versions of the product.
The MVP is sometimes seen as a controversial idea because it can be perceived as something thrown together quickly, as a sub par version of your product. But in actuality, each MVP is a standalone version of your product. And through a series of MVPs, a lean startup can validate a specific and comprehensive set of hypotheses about what the business is, where it’s going, and what it has to do. So how do you define an MVP? Let’s start, first, with minimum. Minimum usually refers to a minimal number of features that you are testing. There’s usually one or two core problems that products are trying to solve. For example, an iPod lets you store music and play it on the go.
Facebook lets you find friends and share information.
Ebay lets you sell or buy used goods. Google lets you find information on the web. Each of these has a number of other features but these are the core, two or three features that are most important for these products. If they could not do the above, they would fail. Now let’s look at viable, there are two things that you need to consider when looking at viability. Will people use it and will someone pay for it? This is where a lot of entrepreneurs often get hung up.
They ask lots of customers whether they would like a certain set of features, and overwhelmingly, people say, sure, that sounds great. But when it comes down to whether people would actually pay extra for those features, it’s a different story. Finally, let’s take a look at the product piece of a minimum viable product. A product can apply to many things, including a commercial product, a service, an entire business, or even any organism that generates value. Let’s look at some examples. First, let’s take Virgin Air. Virgin Air started with just one Boeing 747 offering service between Gatwick and Newark, they could have started with multiple planes and routes. But instead they focused on one plane and one route. Here their minimal viable product, the core feature that they were trying to test, was the experience of passengers. They had everything on this plane, all the bells and whistles and just wanted to test the experience of passengers. As another example, let’s take Yahoo. Yahoo began as nothing more than a page of links after other websites. It did not even include a search engine when it initially launched, it evolved over time with changing user behavior. Their minimum viable product was trying to test whether consumers would understand that they needed to click on a link and this would bring them to another website.
Even the Apple iPhone which known for its innovation and numerous features, when it’s first launch it did not include cut-and-paste or even searchable contacts. These are both features that we use often and many felt important, fans complained that these features weren’t core to the product’s viability. What was core to the iPhone’s viability? It was three things. It was that it could be used as a phone, it could access the web and it could take pictures. So the initial versions of the iPhone just tested whether people liked a device that could be used as a phone access the web and take pictures all at the same time.
As we’ve seen, the lean startup methodology is based on a strategy that starts by creating a minimal viable product. Remember that no company has ever launched anything perfect out of the gates.
Keep in mind the term minimally viable product and how this can help you achieve your customer market fit. Challenge yourself to define the minimal product required that a customer will pay for and start from there. Thanks for joining this lecture.

Jim Rohn Sứ mệnh khởi nghiệp