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July 12, 2012


First: Minimum Viable Product (MVP); Second: Minimum Lovable Product (MLP)

Minimum Lovable Product (MLP)

With the recent push for the whole lean start-up movement (#leanstartup), I want to discuss a product development buzzword that I like: Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Eric Ries (@ericries) popularized the term MVP, and defines it as the, “version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

I’ve seen many startups and entrepreneurs follow the lean startup MVP technique but then they’re disappointed or confused what to do next with their findings.

As a founder, product manager, SCRUM master, and/or developer… this is the typical flow of events:

  1. Wireframe out your MVP (I use, love, and recommend Balsamiq)
  2. Code out the MVP
  3. Throw a big “Launch Day”, “flip the switch on” party, pop some champagne, and high five each other
  4. But then what…? Apply to a Y Combinator/TechStars type of incubator and hope you get in with your MVP? Hope for a TechCrunch article to show up about your MVP? Get on the fundraising road and hope to raise VC money with your MVP? Hope for Twitter-like, hockey stickin’ traffic, traction, and inflection points to show up in your Google Analytics?

Sound familiar? Especially #4? I’m thinking we need to add a couple more steps to the lean startup playbook.

Here’s what I’m proposing:

  1. Build the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and they will come.
  2. Build the Minimum Lovable Product (MLP) and they will stay.
  3. Build the Minimum Buyable Product (MBP) and you will stay, in business.
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 19 2013

    Every time I get skeptical about this MVP buzzword, there are so many different interpretations of it. The first time I read about it it made absolute crystal clear sense to me. The more I read about it, the more it intrigues me. There must be as many MVP interpretations as there are types of products. My ideal version of a MVP would have a purchasing decision channel at launch, and having built at least 1 MVP like that, #4 by experience was a truckload of feedback coming back about bugs found, features requested, questions on how to use it, requests for customizations, business deals for white-labeling and reselling your product, complements, refund requests etc. You get so much feedback back after a successful MVP launch that you don’t need to wonder what the next step should be, your users will actually point you to more directions than you can actually follow. You still have to turn the majority of them down but your time will be filled up pretty good.

    • Oct 15 2014

      What did you mean by “purchasing decision channel”? How did you get the word out so that it could become popular enough?

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