Don't build an MVP. Build this instead.

If you want to have any chance of acquiring users.

This is for anyone who has an idea and feels they need to build a Minimum Viable Product.

I’m telling you not to.

Also, it doesn’t matter if you’re a single founder bootstrapping your idea or an innovation team at a large corporation with abundant resources.

Don’t do it.

After building MVPs ourselves and for clients, I’ve found that MVP’s don’t work. They rarely deliver what it is people are trying to achieve. Those goals being a product that is gaining traction and experiencing exponential growth.

An MVP isn’t going to do that. However, I’ll tell you what will.

In the end, you want people to use your product, right?

Though first, this is the problem with MVPs.

For founders and stakeholders, an MVP often means cheap when looking for partners to help build it out. Though there is still the expectation for a comprehensive set of features and high fidelity design.

And for the people building an MVP, it often means the least amount of functionality and design necessary to prove the product can work. These products work, but they’re unpolished.

Clearly, there’s a disconnect in those two ways of thinking, yet it usually never comes up until after the fact.

Part of the problem is because the focus of an MVP is on the feature set, which can become a laundry list of requirements that ultimately complicate the product. This is because features are tangible and easy to talk about. They’re the things people will be able to use, and in the beginning, it’s enticing to think that more you have the better.

But basing the first iteration of your product on a set of features is the wrong approach. It answers the wrong question, which is how many things can we build into the product and for what cost.

Instead, you need to be asking what is the minimum amount of things we have to build for it to become something people love.

A Minimum Lovable Product.

Products people love are the ones they continue to use and tell their friends about. Products people love validate both the functionality and the viability of the product in the market. Products people love are the products that have a chance of delivering on those initial goals of gaining traction and achieving growth.

Rather than focusing solely on a set of features, building something people love ultimately brings those people who would be using the product into consideration.

Which changes the dynamic.

To build something people love might mean certain features are no longer necessary as they would dilute the purpose of the product, or specific design decisions need to be made to elevate the perception of it, or it changes who it's for and how it's introduced to the market.

When you do this, it’s no longer about volume as much as it is about being intentional with what you’re building. Which making these decisions can mean it might cost more or less than initially intended based on what is determined necessary to include in a minimum lovable product.

And, in the end, you want people to use your product, right?

Ultimately they’re the ones who will actually make this investment worthwhile or not.

Why not start with making sure they love it first.


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