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I find it somewhat mindbending that he advises working on a MVP for 10 projects simultaneously when it's all I can do to work on 1 plus, you know, my real job that pays the bills.

More power to anyone who has that sort of energy!

Maybe it's less about having lots of energy, and more about expending it lazily and efficiently.

For many ideas, an MVP can be a five-line CGI script in bash. Or even a static HTML page. Minimal means minimal.

The MVP is the most trivial thing you can do that will still give you useful information and guide future development. The purpose is exactly to be able to try things without investing significant energy.

What you're describing, to me, sounds like a mockup or prototype. I think of an MVP as something that could be put in the hands of an end-user.

You can put a static webpage with an email form in the hands of an end-user.



> We thought we were taking the minimum viable product approach because we had only spent two weeks on it. Right? Where we had made a very early prototype and put it out there.

> But, if you think about it, going back to the definition of the minimum viable product, which is the minimum features that are required to learn what customers want, we had spent way too much time on it.

> What we should have done, and what we did for a lot of features thereafter, is started with a landing page that promised people that product. Then we should have taken out the AdWords we were planning to take out, drive traffic to that landing page, and offer people to buy the experience that we are talking about.

> What we would have found out if we were doing that experiment is 0% of people would have clicked through, which means it doesn’t matter what is on the second page.

I agree with you. My interpretation of MVP is weighted by my interpretation of the words Product, and Minimal. A product should be something which really solves a real world problem, and is built with the appropriate level of quality. Good enough is not good enough, the bar should be very high. Minimal in this context therefore applies only to the scope if the problem(s) being solved, not to the effort put into execution or the level of quality.

Put another way, I won't call something a product unless it's something I'm proud of and something that I believe solves a problem in a way which approaches the best way (at least in my opinion at the time, there are obviously always improvements to make based on feedback). If it's minimal, this just means the scope of the problem it solves is very small, so that not too much effort has to be expended building it, even though what it does do it does at a high level of quality.

Anything which falls outside this is to me not an MVP, because it's not a product, it's a prototype of a product or a way of testing an idea the product may eventually be built to implement 'properly'. It's rarely something you're proud of, or would be comfortable charging for. When you'd be comfortable charging for it, that's probably the point where it becomes a product.

I think there might be two valuable ideas, that are somewhat at odds, lets call your model the MVP - Minimal Viable Product, and the other one MVC - Minimal Viable Commodity.

The Minimal Viable Commodity is the minimal thing that you could successfully market. It can often be an idea+web page with an email form. It is the sales/business persons idea of an MVP: The technical aspects are entirely uninteresting - it's the business case that's being tested/evaluated.

Consider the case of a product idea for translating in some special domain, eg: contents declarations for food stuffs. The MVC is a web page with a form to submit the text. What happens after that (spend a week gathering samples, manually translating, whatever) isn't part of the MVC. It's market research. Maybe you manually translate the things and deliver results back.

The MVP for machine translation of the same idea is considerably more involved. Even just connecting some machine learning legos and training on a few million samples is much more (technical) work, than setting up a static web page.

I think both ideas are good -- but it can get confusing when both concepts are termed MVP.

> The technical aspects are entirely uninteresting - it's the business case that's being tested/evaluated.

I find a lot of these tests provide junk data though because it is obvious the site has no product and is just fishing for information. People have wiser up a fair bit and will just hit the back button.

I think you're not supposed to take away the absolute numbers, but only the ratios: so 10 MVPs really means only make MVPs for 1/10 of all your ideas. So one MVP at a time follows the guidelines if you have around 10 ideas!

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