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MVPs Are The Hair of the Dog

There’s been an article floating around the web lately, maybe you’ve seen it. It’s time to talk about MVPs.

WP Engine dissects a lot of the problems with MVPs. I have to agree overall, too often do you see entrepreneurs rushing their products only to fail disastrously. However, MVPs don’t suck. Entrepreneurs are just becoming more and more reckless. I have a problem with creating a new-hip pneumatic called “SLC.” It isn’t going to rally everyone to arms about how to deliver a badass product.

In the article they claim:

MVPs are great for startups and product teams because they maximize validated learning about customers as quickly as possible. But it’s a selfish act.

Well… learning about your users is not selfish. In fact, it’s the very opposite of selfish. It’s a huge reason why the Dot Com Bubble happened in the first place. Too many companies were cannibalizing each other’s features without considering the consequences of users. To make matters worst, VC’s and investors were moving too much money into bad ideas without sound research.

In the old days, startups had little to lose with money moving that fast. Just build it, gather feedback, iterate and repeat.

But things have changed haven’t they? MVPs are a symptom of a new problem post Dot Com Bust — user expectations have inflated.

Products have become increasingly complex. Solving problems becomes more and more difficult and that tends to follow a quadratic curve. Naturally, competition does too. That should go without saying.

Since users grow along that curve too, customers will have loftier and loftier expectations. You’ve’re up against the likes of Google and Apple. It ain’t easy being a startup.

Users have grown drunk with their expectations, and while that sounds bad, it’s not. MVPs are the hair of the dog.

It forces us to focus on delivering complete products out of the box. It forces engineers to deliver, designers can ideate further, sales teams can unify under one message and users can more efficiently share products via word of mouth.

Everyone wins.

There’s no reason to think that MVPs suck. Customers just want a complete experience. No one wants to go to a carnival with no rides.

Stick to your wits and make a damn fine product. Focus on what you want. Focus on what users want. Make it fast, make it complete. Table your conquer the world ideas for later and simplify your product design before launch.


While I have a lot of problems with WP Engine’s take on things in the valley, I do agree that delivering a complete product from the beginning should be your highest priority.


But there’s no reason to create a new pneumonic device for product development. Just maintain focus and never lose sight of satisfying the experience of the users.