Steve Blank - Minimum Viable Product
A tool often has many functions and we as developers love each of them, but in the end it's all about the value contribution and the "Minimum Viable Product".
If you have a vision, then you usually think (substantially) beyond the product that will arrive at the customer. While your team is working on the famous version 1.0, you're already marching towards the upcoming updates and version 2.0. In your passion many details are very important and one function doesn't make much sense - from your point of view - without this other function. And if this one is in your product then this other feature should not be missing in any way. That's how it goes day in and day out. In addition, your marketing team is also working on strategies and the sales team is ready to go. You know exactly what's going on - especially what your customers need and want. Highly motivated you show your entire portfolio of functions at trade fairs and reap a lot of enthusiasm... so it can only go forward. People on fairs, yourself, your team, everyone seems to love your product. But why aren't the customers standing in line? Why don't they bubble with enthusiasm?
I'm referring here to my own experiences. Alugha was originally intended as a player in YouTube. At some point we also built in that title and description would be translated as well. Then we added a Wordpress plugin, then our own video page, later a completely new state-of-the-art HTML5 player, an uploader, encoding server, CDN server, self-hosting, single video pages, multilingual META data editor, our own blog for authors, producer pages, subtitles, subtitle editor, features for dubbing, ... I could go on. I myself had stepped into this trap repeatedly. I love the details and every single function that my extraordinary team incorporates in alugha. But our customers don't care much, if at all. And that's fine.
There are now two options to take on the market and customers. You wait... and wait... and wait. Each function makes sense and builds on another. But this will lead to the fact that we will never really win customers and generate sales, which will inevitably mean that we will have to close the doors and the store at some point. So our goal is option 2. We put all the cards on the table and decide what is the lowest requirement that our customers expect from us. Here it is often the pride and self-indulgence in the product that prevents us from doing so. But the ego left aside, changing the point of view, we often find that one or the other function is enough to win customers and not overwhelm them at the same time.
The first step is crucial, because once we have been able to convince our customers - as was the case with us - with the player, the features gradually arrive. We have it easier in sales because our customers have got to know us and are open to optimizations. We collect analysis data and create long-term customer loyalty in sufficiently small steps.
First, we extract our minimum viable product from the whole, approach the customer with it and then successively expand it.
This article is written by our CEO, Bernd Korz. With his experience as an entrepreneur, he shares his vision about the lessons provided by Steve Blank. Join us every week for a new article on Steve Blank’s lectures.
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