Let’s launch quickly! Let’s build an MVP! We can get away by just adding a beta tag, if it doesn’t work out!
How many of you have seen startups adorned with tags like alpha, beta, private beta and so on? Well this is the new “in thing”.
The latest trend in the startup world is lean startups and MVP’s. For those of you who don’t know, an MVP is a minimum viable product. The Lean Startup is a modern day approach to provide some sort of logic and structure to the much need chaotic (read disorganized) world of early stage startups and businesses. I’m not out to poke fun at the lean startup methodology, rather it’s actually a very practical and doable system.
But what Startup’s and entrepreneurs must understand is that calling a prototype that was coded over a weekend or a hackathon an MVP isn’t necessarily the right approach. While it may work for some particular niche’s or products, it’s not exactly applicable for all. The key is that an MVP still has to be a product, something that either demonstrates what the startup aims to build or probably a couple of the features from the full product.
What’s happening these days instead is startups come up with a quick video site pitching their idea to the potential customers or launch with 1-2 complementary features of the main product which no one can actually make use of without the full product. This is what i call “The Beta Paradox“.
Here’s a quick chart of some of the most successful startups and their MVP’s. What do you see common in them all? The answer is even the MVP create value for the customers. Yahoo was offering people curated content on the internet when there weren’t any proper search engines. Groupon was providing deals even then to a limited number of people in a not so flashy manner.