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In this Founder Friday, I answer your questions about MVPs. Questions like:
“How early should I release my MVP?”
(It was basically just iterations of the same question haha)
Look, there are three parts to an MVP.
Product, that’s the obvious part.
Minimum, it should only have the features that it needs. Here you should tend towards less rather than more. It’s your baby and you’re afraid people are going to make fun of it, so you want to give it as much of a chance of success when you release it as possible so you keep adding all these features and polishing it up so it looks good.
But what you don’t realize is that by doing all that adding of features, you’re likely killing its chance of success in the real world — first, because you risk someone else coming in and building it before you, and second, because more features and more polish doesn’t necessarily mean better.
Many products that are successful are actually simplified products of things that already exist. Twitter is just Facebook without all of the other features, and a 140 character limit.
But what counts as minimum? Well that depends on the second word, Viable.
You will only have a GUESS as to what minimum features constitutes a viable product, and you have to actually release it to see if your guess is right. If your product is too minimal to be viable when you release it, then it won’t get usage. So what? No big deal. At least you didn’t waste any time building additional stuff that no one needed.
Then you can go back to the drawing board and think about how your product needs to change in order to be viable. But at least you got really useful information.
That’s one thing that a lot of people don’t realize. If you release your product and it’s not viable — aka no one uses it — then no one will care. It’s not like everyone will know your product is lame and will boycott it and never use it again. No — repeat after me: NO ONE CARES (about your MVP). And that’s a good thing. Now go learn something.