As the Lean way of creating a startup goes more and more fancy, every entrepreneur has read at least a blog post or a book on the subject. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is a good start.
The power of the Lean Startup philosophy is also its biggest weakness: it’s easy as pie to understand! Easy to understand yes, but not so easy to apply in real life. So ask Google, browse LinkedIn, and you’ll find a lot of posts and discussion threads from entrepreneurs talking about how applying Lean Startup was a bad idea for their specific case.
So basically every entrepreneur knows the importance of fast hypothesis validation, getting to market quickly, the concept of MVP, and what a pivot is.
The fact is that amongst all the notions conveyed by the Lean Startup philosophy, the MVP is probably one of the most tweaked and misunderstood.
- Getting to (know your) market quickly
- Ship then test.
- If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.
You get it, the best way to validate that your product brings value to your customers is to push a very first ‘crappy’ version to the market as quickly as possible. There are loads of fun ways to do that: landing pages, concierge, videos. These are all MVP’s. Unfortunately, a lot of entrepreneurs ship a solution before having validated that their customer and problem hypothesis are correct. You don’t want to build a response to a hypothetic problem right?
The MVP’s above are all designed to validate a solution hypothesis, and these are not a waste of time only if you have previously validated that your customers are willing to pay to solve the problem you have identified, i.e., you should build experiments to know your market better before building experiments to test your products. MVP’s are experiments