How to Build An MVP | Startup School

How to Build An MVP | Startup School

How to Build an Minimum Viable Product (MVP)? (00:00:00)

  • It's crucial to launch an MVP quickly and iteratively improve based on customer feedback.
  • Learning about the user's needs begins once they have a product to interact with.
  • The objective is to solve user problems, not to distract oneself with extensive surveys, competitor analysis, or hiring excessively before launch.

Pre-launch Startup Goals (00:01:50)

  • Early-stage founders should swiftly release an MVP and engage with initial customers to understand their needs.
  • Founders should focus on how to make the product useful for their customers and iterate accordingly.
  • Iteration based on user feedback is key to developing a product that customers are excited to use and pay for.

Founders Biggest Fear (00:04:26)

  • The fear of rejection from early users is common but often unfounded; early adopters are willing to tolerate imperfections.
  • Analyzing the fear of failure can reveal that it is usually not the end of a startup; the company can continue after setbacks.
  • Even Steve Jobs iterated his products, and first versions were not perfect.

Examples - Software MVP (00:07:17) and Airbnb (00:07:48) and Twitch (00:08:36) and Stripe (00:09:15)

  • MVPs should be quick to build, have limited functionality, and focus on a narrow user base.
  • Airbnb's initial MVP lacked integrated payments, map view, complete rental properties, and was conference-specific.
  • Twitch began as Justin TV with continual broadcasting by a single person, and it had high costs due to CDN usage.
  • Stripe started with basic credit card processing services that were attractive to other early-stage startups.

Solving Hair On Fire Problem (00:10:36)

  • MVPs address customers with urgent needs ("hair on fire") that are desperate for any solution, even non-perfect ones.
  • Customers with less urgency can be approached later; prioritizing desperate customers simplifies the startup process.
  • Surveys do not suffice in understanding how to solve customer problems – actual product interaction is necessary.
  • Founders should accept that customers are experts at their problems, not solutions.

Summary Insights

  • MVPs are about launching quickly, collecting customer feedback, and iterating without delay.
  • Success lies in solving core user problems and improving the product, not in creating perfection on the first try.
  • Fear of initial failure shouldn't prevent releasing an MVP since learning and adaptation are integral to startup growth.
  • Examples like Airbnb, Twitch, and Stripe illustrate successful MVP strategies focusing on core functionalities.
  • Target customers with immediate, "hair on fire" problems for initial product validation and iteration.

Build an MVP Quickly (00:14:12)

  • Establish a specific deadline to maintain focus on a minimum viable product, such as two weeks, a month, or a month and a half.
  • Document your MVP's specifications, listing all the features you think are necessary for launch, to avoid ongoing debates and forgetfulness about features.
  • After defining your specs, critically evaluate each feature to determine if it's truly essential for the MVP, removing non-critical features for future versions.
  • Avoid becoming too attached to the MVP since it's expected to change and evolve; focus on the customers and their feedback rather than the initial version of the product.

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