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Minimum AWESOME Product

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Eric Ries's book The Lean Startup offers a framework for building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as the cornerstone for building a startup that survives its early months.

I find the definition of MVP on page 77:

The MVP is that version of the product that enables a full turn of the Build-Measure-Learn loop with a minimum amount of effort and the least amount of development time. The minimum viable product lacks many features that may prove essential later on. However, in some ways, creating a MVP requires extra work: we must be able to measure its impact.

The measurement can tell you if a product has engagement, but it cannot tell you why, or more importantly why not.

So perhaps the emphasis on what is viable misses something important: being awesome.

Here's how I define being awesome:

Being awesome means delighting users in some meaningful way.

Being awesome means making some facet of the product freaking useful.

Being awesome means exceeding customer expectations in some important way.

Startups, don't be viable. Be awesome.

Don't make a Minimum Viable Product. Make a Minimum AWESOME Product.

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Adam - Thanks for sharing this.

Maybe another way of saying this is the an MVP should be looked at from an end-user's perspective and not a product manager's perspective. Or in other words, awesomeness is a precondition for viability.

That is a great way of putting it!

End users determine minimum awesome product, not product managers.

And yes, the Xconomy Steve Blank story in the link above truly inspired me.

I would also add Minimum Viable Personality

MOST IMPORTANT STEP FOR BUILD PRODUCT IS BUILD PRODUCT.

SECOND MOST IMPORTANT IS BUILD PERSONALITY FOR PRODUCT.

NO HAVE PERSONALITY? PRODUCT BORING, NO ONE WANT.

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And my personal favorite:

SELL TO FRIENDS, NOT STRANGERS

PERSONALITY MAKE PRODUCT FRIEND. YOU HELP FRIEND. YOU FORGIVE WHEN FRIEND NOT PERFECT. YOU WANT FRIEND WIN.

BORING STRANGER?… YOU NOT.

PERSONALITY IS API FOR LOYALTY. NO ONE CARE WHICH BORING STRANGER IS NEXT. BUT ALWAYS WANT FRIEND NEXT.

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I'm adding this to my daily affirmations: Be the bacon, not the bread.

Thanks for reminding me of the awesome personality post!

Yea, that's a great daily affirmation :)

Although making an awesome think looks like the way to go, in my own endeavours I've found that making a MVP is the point after all. For example, a few weeks ago I wanted a time tracking app for my iPod. There was nothing available that met my needs: easily export plain text, better if free, quick and just offering the most basic click-track (then I found out an app covering these options, more or less). I thought about making an iPhone app: problems were time (I don't usually have much) and knowledge (I don't know enough o-C to do it yet). So I settled for a simple HTML5+JS web app. This just moved me away from a MAP toward a MVP. With local caching, it's just like an app. Now, I could go the rockstar way and do some jQuery and jQtouch wizardry, but again, my experience with jQTouch is close to nil (I rewrote some examples like a year ago, and ended quite dissatisfied with how easy it was to advance). So, why bother? Get it done, get it fast. I did it with plain JS, rewriting DOM elements to show the timestamping. It has 4 buttons: track (timestamps current time in a string in cache), dump (show all timestamps since last clear), clear (clears cache), send (creates an email with the timestamping). It also has a select element to select what to track, which then appears in a textbox where I can fine-tune what I was doing. Now I have an MVP... There's still room to get to the MAP, even if I want,

Sometimes simple is the most awesome.

But it's hard to make things simple because that's about NOT adding things.

Thanks for this post and convo. It even has a great acronym: everyone talks about "MVP," but "MAP" is cooler on so many levels!

Heather, I wholeheartedly agree!

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