Minimum Viable Product

A Minimum Viable Product is the smallest thing you can build that delivers customer value (and as a bonus captures some of that value back).

Using this definition, a lot of the learning tactics or experiments from earlier don’t meet the MVP criteria.

How I built my Minimum Viable Product

The basic idea is to maximize validated learning for the least amount of effort. After all, why waste effort building out a product without first testing if it’s worth it.

So for a new product idea or concept, what is the absolute minimum viable product and how do you go about building it?

MVP for testing new products that don’t yet exist (micro-testing) comprises of a landing page, signup page, and Google Adwords to drive traffic. However, this approach presupposes that:

  1. You can create a good landing page
  2. You can write good adwords copy
  3. Adwords is a viable distribution channel for your product

Unlike a book title or some other other physical product, startups are usually characterized by products where the problem and solution are unknown and have not yet been validated which makes writing good landing page copy hard, and good Adwords copy even harder (you only get 25 characters for your headline!). At best, you can guess. But starting with that approach is a surefire way of dumping a lot of money on Google Ads fast. Plus the return on learning is low – When your click-through-rate is low, or the bounce rate high, you get zero visibility into why. Was it poor copy, poor product/market fit, or both? And don’t even get me started on how expensive CPCs have gotten in competitive markets.

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