Maximum Viable Product

Allen Pike writes:

We enthusiasts love maximal products because they inspire us and delight us. As such, we support these highly polished apps. We buy them, we write about them, we celebrate them, and we buy the t-shirt. We pay $2.99 each to try two different alternatives to the free Twitter app. These fans love what you’re making so much that they can support your business.

We call these folks prosumers. Consumer enough to care about polish, craftsmanship, and the emotion behind your product, yet still pro enough to put money where their mouth is. They are enthusiasts, either of the task at hand or of apps as a craft.

A prosumer seeks out Maximum Viable Products.

Interesting thought, although maybe more difficult to execute than minimum viable product. After all, spending the time to build out that maximum product before knowing whether anyone will pay for it is dangerous.

Given that, a lot of minimum viable products don’t implement a revenue generator, which means that the MVP isn’t testing the most important piece: will anyone pay for this? While not charging at first might have worked for Dropbox and Twitter and Facebook and a few other big companies, they also all had access to vast amounts of capital. They are the exception to the rule; we are not.

My focus is on minimum viable product to start, one that has enough to charge for so we can see the reaction, but also one that has legs and can become a maximum viable product over time. After all, I don’t want to become someone else’s feature.