R.I.P. Minimum Viable Product. You Have Been Killed By Something Awesome.
Co-authored by Bjørn Christian Paulseth, principal technology & digital
In the past decade, more and more leaders have understood that strategy and technology are interlinked. Maybe even dependent on each other. Over time, management teams have introduced innovation focused rogue teams, chief digital officers, chief innovation officers and creative technology ambassadors.
In come the consultants. Luckily we can count on the brightest minds to box everything, label it, and send it to invoicing. By now everyone knows and works “lean” “agile” and “disruptive”. The fail fast and break things attitude is still thriving and it has never been easier to defend millions of dollars of wasted budget if it was spent on a “probably-once-amazing” technology project.
We all know that technology is an unpredictable animal and that it sometimes cannot be tamed running off in multiple directions at the same time. Creating pilots, expensive trials and multi-year projects based on a hunch is happening all the time in corporate Europe as well as in places like Vietnam who are aiming for ten tech unicorns by 2030.
The MVP Saga
However, the maverick Americans are still showing the way. They introduced the saga of the MVP. The minimum viable product. Essentially a new approach that enables a company to showcase a new concept to a possible end consumer, and thus getting a certain amount of valuable feedback, to then return to the drawing board (read: dark basement with lots of computers) to pivot, rework and create… another MVP. And the circle continues. Most MVPs never get out of that vicious circle because of failing to listen to the customers and failing to create something truly unique, built on a true desire. Instead they focus on the technology, the engineering and internal motivations behind a — possibly — great idea.
Jeff Bezoz said once in an interview that he is unsure if Amazon will ever be anything else other than a MVP as it is constantly evolving, changing, pivoting, and transforming based on customer input.
Killing the MVP
Maybe, just maybe, it is time to kill the MVP and finally start listening to the customer and create something truly unique. Something great. Something that gets the ball rolling.
MAPs are MVPs on steroids, truly focusing on satisfying the customer on the very first try. Focusing on the expected customer experience, the design, the emotional values, the problem or the opportunity the solution will solve or create, and even early-stage branding. Everything in a MAP is focused on the first awesome user. The first ambassador. That one person that will immediately fall in love with this new technology.
Because that will truly create a foundation for development and future scaling. Love at first sight. And as we all know, once that fresh, unconditional love fades, the product needs to be better, more refined, less faulty, and include more features. But it still resembles that first rebellion that is the MAP.
Remember Tesla? The first car was madness, the second one, The Model S, changed the world. And if there ever was a true MAP, the 2012 Model S was the one.
MAPs don´t need to be expensive, can be done extremely fast, and on a controlled budget. Rather than overloading these little blips of amazing new tech with buggy features and overly designed interfaces, create the simplest, greatest thing possible. As fast as you can.
Show your customers! Make them fall in love with it and wow them. Buggy MVPs don´t do that. Awesome things… do.