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The Problem with Minimum Viable Product

I like this thought from Seth Godin on the problem with minimum viable product:

There’s a burst of energy and attention and effort that accompanies a launch, even a minimally viable one. If there’s a delay in pick up from the community, though (see #1) it’s easy to move on to the next thing, the next launch, the next hoopla, as opposed to doing the insanely hard work of sticking with that thing you already launched.

I have a bunch of issues with the conversation around lean and minimum viable product (probably the biggest of which is any ideology that people get religious about seems a bit scary). The biggest issue I have, though, is that it seems inherently about building products, not companies. There’s nothing wrong with that if you’re building a little something on the side, but if you’re building a company you have a whole bunch of other things you need to also be thinking about, not the least of which is whether you’re building a product you’re excited about and a company you actually want to work at. I’ve never heard anyone mention either of these as part of the product development conversation and it makes me sad.

Via Ian Sohn

November 6, 2011 // This post is about: , , ,


  • Brett Hardin says:

    I agree with you MVP is about building a product and not a company. The core concept of MVP I agree with, identify features that users want an focus on those. This is a product strategy, that works. As you stated, this is one aspect of your company culture.

    Lately, there seems to be a lot of focus on building company culture. Initially, a company is formed around a product, not the other way around. The culture comes along with building the product.

    The core concept of MVP is to aid in understanding how to get a foothold on a “new” product offering. This could be for a company that is already developed or a person dreaming of building something life changing.

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