I found myself on venturehacks.com today after following their just launched StatupList writeup on TechCrunch. But once I was on their site I started digging through their archives and their writeup on Minimum Viable Products leaped out at me.
Most of the founders I’ve been talking to have a clear mental picture of what their product is, the need it addresses and where they see it growing in the future, but the vast majority haven’t done the simple and easy steps outlined above. I’m just as guilty of this; the prototype I was building before getting in to the Founder Institute is all but useless now, in part because I hadn’t properly spec’d my MVP or tested basic hypotheses in the market (and maybe, a little, because I hadn’t researched the market sufficiently before diving in). I’m not making the same mistake this time around, and I highly recommend you take some time and truly find the Minimum you can put together to prove you’re moving in the right direction before getting any farther along in your development cycle.
Don’t get me wrong, It isn’t that I hadn’t heard about MVP before, or that it hadn’t come up in conversation recently, it’s that in the course of developing a product and a company it’s so easy to get swept up in the scope of What Could Be. As founders, we owe it to ourselves to reduce the risk of our ventures whenever possible; if we can prove that a feature will add value before we develop it, how can we pass that up? Or, if that didn’t pop your cork, if we can prove that a feature won’t add value, how can we afford to waste our time building it?
I’ll put my money where my mouth is. Here’s my minimum viable product spec:
- AdWords Campaign
- Three splash pages: one for candidates, one for hiring managers, one for home
- Splash pages have links for different features (so we can track what people most want to do)
- Links lead to form for users to add themselves to our mailing list
What do you think? That seems like too little to me, but I think that’s just my “pride”, as it were, “fucking with me.” Personally, I’d rather start a dialogue with my customers than let a little pride get between me and some good, old-fashioned, actionable metrics.
Post your plans for MVP below or tell me how I can further reduce mine!