Let’s zoom into MVP

A major part of app owners is looking for “first app version”. What is more, the first app version is considered as MVP. They think “I have a great idea. Oh, I will launch the app, then will put $5 per download, and will generate a lot of profit after. Sure, I need to make some promotion…” etc. Unfortunately, a lot of them don’t take into account that their app, their “child” needs to anyone in this cruel world. If there is no plan of how to get the market, your “child” would be stillborn.

We need to explain what is MVP and what does MVP means quite often. It is not NBA related “Most Valuable Player” and it is not “Model View Presenter” it is Minimum Viable Product in Product Development.

So, Why and What should be in any MVP?

To show you the difference between first app version and MVP, let’s take an idea of restaurant review based app. What are the main points in such app? It is not enough just create it. As you can meet a chicken and egg issue. You would have a small list of users from one side. And restaurant owners who don’t want to fill forms and update profile info.

So, the main efforts should be on getting first users who are in search of such an app (innovators). As for the places, we can take their info by yourself and add it to the app as it is available to anyone. What is more, you don’t need to waste the time by visiting every place, negotiate with the owners, and get some funds for promotion — let’s keep this task for the later app version. We would suggest testing your idea in your own city. Why? There should be people who would like to leave feedbacks about the places and check the rating before visiting any. If you couldn’t find such people you need to be lost in thought: “Are your audience really interested in such app?”. The only exception to this rule is if you are living in the middle of nowhere or somewhere in Tibet: monks don’t often visit restaurants.

So, why do we suggest starting with own city for your MVP? Sure, you can spend dozens of thousands to be promoted on Super Bowl but are you sure you can afford such promotion?

© Eric Ries

We totally agree with Eric. According to Lean methodology, it is required testing idea and hypothesis systematically. It is better to waste couple thousands and understand that the world does not need your “child” rather than lose hundreds of thousands and come to the same conclusion. This is the main point why do we suggest to concentrate your efforts on one city with enough restaurants and people who are visiting them.

We can work on attracting our users after getting all places data. You would say, “my users is every person”. Yes, you are right, but all users are divided into categories: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. So, for the first step, we need to concentrate our efforts, even app features, on these innovators. Let’s assume that our innovators are girls who are hunting guys with big wallets. Let’s think “where we can find them” and “how to attract their attention to our app”. Let’s say, they are using Instagram and Snapchat. They should be keeping an eye on such groups as “stylish accessories”, “fashion shoes”, “I’m princes”, etc. Let’s get in touch with them, simply send the link to our app presentation, and ask for their opinion. If we receive 20–30% of positive feedbacks you can make sure this will work.

Since now, we can start on development part. Here is the difference between MVP and first app version:

Let’s go through the spreadsheet in details:

  • we won’t have a lot of users at first so we don’t need to leave feedbacks and comments features. The main is to test the idea and our killer feature;
  • there should not be login and registration as there are no any required feature for this (comments, personal discount system, etc);
  • Admin Panel = we don’t need to use Custom Server Side. Yes, a lot of apps have Cloud Based Server, such as Firebase or AWS. However, we can store all data inside the user device to launch the app faster and save couple thousands on development. What is more, we are testing an idea for now. You can’t use this variant all the time, as the app size would be growing and it would not be comfortable to update any info. The other point is that you won’t be able to use “comments” & “feedbacks” after too;
  • Analytics = this is your eyes and your ears in the app. The more you know about user behavior in the app the more attractive you can make the app for them. So, it is highly required;
  • Unique feature = any app should have this to light you up among your competitors. Everything should be built around this uniqueness.

Sure, the app can have discount cards, coupons, and a lot of animations. However, these features are not highly required for your minimum valuable product. FOCUS ON YOUR MAIN FEATURE: your app should solve your user’s problem! Don’t focus on side-features. If your app solves real issues you would have users even without great UI and animation. Do you know craigslist.org? Do you like their design? So FOCUS ON PEOPLE’s PROBLEMS. It should be your mantra.

© Paul Graham

What tools are better to use for your app promotion we already wrote here.

Hope, it is much more clear for you and you would be able to explain MVP definition to anyone now. If you still have questions about the article or you have own idea of “next big thing” drop us a line and we would be pleased to support you.

molfar.io team

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Originally published at www.molfar.io.