The minimum viable product is one of the more interesting concepts I’ve come across in the Lean Startup community. I’ve had some lively discussions with my co-founders about what would constitute the minimum viable product for Stylous. Our vision for Stylous is to create a product browsing experience that lets you focus on the design of the products without being distracted by irrelevant information. Against conventional wisdom, we’ve removed prices, buy buttons, brand names and almost anything not related to the actual look of the products.
Instead of building and testing something that meets only these goals, we didn’t launch until we additionally had:
- 25 categories of products
- Price information
- Ability to favorite products
- Tracking of previously viewed products
Before we had any promising results we also added:
- Filtering of products based on brand, price, sale price, color, store and previously seen status
- An innovative navigation UI
We added these features because we felt that the site wouldn’t be very useful without them. All of this took months to build. As a result, I often wonder what form the MVP could have taken for Stylous. Would one category of aggregated products with very simple navigation have been useful to people? Would there have been any evidence that they loved the site enough to tell other people about it?
I find the concept of the minimum viable product to be very intriguing as a way to limit the risk of spending time building something no one wants. In practice, it seems very difficult to decide what form a good MVP will take.
I would like to hear about other MVPs that people have built. If you haven’t created one, then how would the MVP look for your product?