Minimum Viable Products

Minimum Viable Products

Raphaël: Hey, and welcome to
the small tech podcast from EC.

I'm your host Raph.

And today we're going to be talking
about MVPs or minimum viable products.

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Let's talk about MVPs.

What is an MVP, a minimum viable product.

And what does that mean?

Like, does that mean you're
going to be building out.

Your thing, your product for real and
putting it into people's hands, or are you

going to be putting together a prototype?

What does a prototype mean?

Is it something that you're
building and Figma and it's just

visual, but people don't actually
store their data or what, yeah.

What does it mean?

Basically, at least from my
perspective and the work that

we've done and that I've done.

I see an MVP.

As meaning the simplest easiest, cheapest
thing that you can do that actually

provides some kind of value to the
person that you're providing it to.

So, sometimes that means getting rid
of some things that you might value.

But that your customer doesn't
and that's always a really

difficult line to straddle.

And I think, especially with entrepreneurs
and startups, who've got like a

mission, a vision, this beautiful thing
they want to put out into the world.

It's hard to like lop off the
bits that don't provide value

to your end user, your customer.

But that you know, is potentially
valuable down the line is

potentially valuable to you.

Or things that you think are just good.

Sometimes that means losing some
polish being okay with bugs.

Not always because there are customers for
whom a bug makes your product not viable.

It doesn't provide value.

So it's, it is not something that
they would be willing to pay for.

And that's the thing that's always
like hard to straddle is to figure out.

Where are the things that would
make the best product not quite

as good but it would still be
good enough for enough people.

To pay you.

Or whether that is financially
or compensate you with

their time with whatever.

To use your product.


That means different things
in different contexts.

You might be able to get around,
like, depending on the value that

you aim to provide, you might be
able to do that with a mailing list.

For example, if the.

Value that you aim to provide
is primarily informational.

Maybe down the line.

You need to have a custom platform because
the information you provide is complex.

And for people to really get
the most out of it, they need

a custom UI to navigate it.

And to really break it
down into different.

Whatever, like you can
imagine, for example, starting

off a course or something.

With a newsletter, maybe a blog.

But then eventually moving
to a custom CMS or an LMS.

A platform, a hosted platform, like
a Thinkific or a teachable and then

moving into something custom because
you have specific requirements.


That is always going to be dependent on.

Your customer.

And your relationship with them and
the value that you can provide to them.


Yeah, it might be it
might be a newsletter.

Or in some cases, let's say
you're providing infrastructure.

Maybe you're building a platform
for people to deploy apps onto.

You cannot really do that
with off the shelf tools.

Like you're going to need to
build something technical.

You will have to write code if your.

Customer is a developer who
needs to deploy something.

So where that line is
really, really varies.

It's also going to dictate.

How you're going to move forward,
what bootstrapping means whether

you need to raise money or not.

All of these things kind of feed
into your journey in different ways.

And they change what an MVP means.

So don't think of an MVP as a prototype.

I don't think that's a real MVP.

To me an MVP means something
that actually provides value that

people are willing to pay for.

If people are willing to
put dollars on the table.


There are contexts where
dollars don't matter as much.

But where people are willing to
give you either their time, their

money or something else, a value
to them to use your product.

So yeah, and.

In some cases that might be their time.

But yeah, it could mean other things too.

Like, are, are you somehow gating off
your product with information do they

need to provide their I don't know,
phone number or some other information

and not in a sort of creepy collecting
data about people way, but do they need

to put in a certain amount of effort to,
for example, get past a free tier and

actually start using your product fully.

You can gauge things that way.

But to me, that's the, that's
the, that's the real MVP.

Is when they are willing to give you
something in exchange for whatever you've

provided them whether that is something
that truly looks like your end product

or is maybe just a loose facsimile of
what you intend to build down the line.

If someone is willing to give you
something of value to them in exchange for

what you are doing and that it's the type
of value that you want to provide down the

line, whether the product looks the same.

That's, that's an MVP.

So if we're talking about something like a
web or mobile app, I think what you start

with like any business, really, whether
it's a digital product or not is kind

of getting a sense of, is there a market
for this or are there people who actually

have this problem and would use my
solution to solve that problem for them?


Most importantly, are they willing
to give me something for it?

Ideally dollars.



Before you actually start building
anything, even if it is low fidelity

MVP or, or something that is a
simplified version of what you want

to accomplish in the end, still
want to sort of get a sense of.

Do people care about this now
there's different levels of this.

Like, I think it comes down to what
you're willing to put into it as well.

Like if, you know, you've got
five people who are friends

of yours who might pay for it.

That might be a good
starting point like that.

That's fine.

If you're willing to only put
in a little bit of time, you're

not putting a whole lot into it.

But they're willing to pay for it.

That's a good starting point.

But always be aware that, you know, those
people might not be the actual people

that you want to reach down the line.

So if you can reach other people.

Do that.

If you can't, start with what
you got, but yeah, you want to

get a sense of whether people are
interested in what you're doing.

Next is designing something putting
together a user experience flow,

like getting a sense of how they
navigate through this product.

If it is something with a user
interface, which in our cases, web and

mobile apps, that's kind of a given.

Then you will do that.

So make sure that you've got the
screens mapped out, how they're

going to move through your product.

Again, this, this might.

Be like, if you're doing it as a
newsletter, for example, or you're

using an off the shelf platform.

Like you might just want
to map that experience out.

You might not need to have specific
visuals of what each interaction looks

like, the way you would with a mobile app.

If you are going to build something
like a mobile app or a website.

You do want to have a good sense of.

These are the types of components we're
going to need even if they're simple.

Uses much off the shelf stuff as you can.

There are plenty of libraries
out there that make it a lot

easier to build user interfaces.

Depending on what you're doing.

You can use no code, low code builders.

There's tools like Bubble, AppSheet.

I don't know, there's
a bunch of other ones.

Bubble is the one that comes up
most often for me, there's whole,

agency's built around Bubble.

So you can find service providers
who will build you products on this.

No code.

Low-code tool.


So you get something
designed put together.

And then you build it on some level.

If you are doing this with
a low-code no-code tool.


That's a, that's a good place to start.

A lot of products in the context
that we're talking about, will

eventually need a developer.

So be aware but do not be put
off by the fact that if you start

with a no-code tool You will.

Often need to transition off of that
and that transition may be painful.

But it is worth doing it that way
initially, if you can, because that is

how you're going to validate that people
are going to give you dollars for it.

And that's what the MVP is for.

There are some things that are a
lot harder to do with off the shelf

tools, and that's when you build.

And this is where things sometimes
get a little difficult with folks

who have a certain idea about what
they want to see in the world.

Which is you're going to have to...

Building building tech is hard.

Writing good clean code.

Feel free to not be so clean
at the beginning, right?

Like you might have to scrap a
good bunch of this eventually.

Build something fast.

And be willing to
sacrifice on the aesthetic.

Depending on your use case.

I find that a lot of effort
put into aesthetics is wasted

on productivity style tools.

And it's, it's not wasted down the line.

But upfront the people who
you want as your sort of.

Your initial cohort and who
you're going to use to validate.

I think you want people who
care more about what they get

out of it than the experience.

That being said, experience
can be a differentiator.

So if there are other tools out there
that do what you want to do your MVP

might be about saying, Hey, we don't
do everything that they do, but we

provide you a better experience.

So in that kind of context, feel
free to build something that is like

really smooth looks really beautiful.

Maybe does less, but that is the value
that you're trying to offer to people.

I tend to find that with productivity
tools, you, you want to sacrifice on

aesthetic for sort of consumer tools
you want to sacrifice on functionality.

That's not always true but I think
aesthetic takes more effort than people

think and functionality in my experience
often takes less effort than people think.

Yeah, getting a really polished aesthetic
and smooth user experience and web or

mobile app is actually really hard.

Like doing it well is really, really hard.

So if you can keep things
minimal clean simple.

Good, but without making it really
beautiful and complex user inter

interactions, user interface, elements
that move around, that would be amazing

down the line, but that would take
actually a lot of time to build then

that's, I think usually a good trade off.

But it depends.

And then, yeah.

A thing that I think is really
important is if you're going to, if

you're going to build this thing,
He want to measure what it's doing.

Like you want to be able to
know, not just that people are

using it and paying for it.

But why and how?

So it's really important that you
have at least ideally, and in, from my

perspective, you should have analytics
tools installed in, in your products.


You can make decisions about what
kind of data you want to send how

you want your users to consent
to that data being collected.


Having something to get an
understanding of what people are doing.

So that you can find.

Faults in your product that
you can then improve on.

But also to identify where things
really work, like are people doing

a thing over and over and over
again, and obviously loving it.

Or are they doing it over and over and
over again because it's not working

and just gathering as much data.

As you can intelligently, not, not
just vacuuming up everything, but

really aiming for the things that you.

Expect and have a qualified as pieces
of information that are valuable to your

end users and really getting a sense
of those interactions around those.

Yeah, those pieces of your
product is, is super valuable.

We like to use tools like Segment.

We've been using RudderStack
lately on a couple of products.

And we use those tools to pipe data,
into other analytics tools like Mixpanel.

Google's BigQuery, which we then hook up
to a Google data studio or Mixpanel and

we can, we can just visualize stuff there.

On websites it's really valuable
to have Google analytics, there's

all kinds of analytics tools.

Each of those have different use cases.

It's also useful to have like with with
BigQuery, specifically having a data

warehouse where you can just pump in.

Your data from different
sources is also valuable.

You don't need to get
complicated at the beginning.

Just, I would say hookup Segment and
Mixpanel or RudderStack and Mixpanel.

To me, those are, are the key tools.

Just get a sense of what people are doing.

Or if you're doing something that's
not technical, that you're not

actually building out like a full.

A full coded custom product.

Make sure that you're hooking
into the analytics for the given

platforms that you might be using,
whether it is something like Bubble.

I don't know if they have
analytics built in you.

Surely it can integrate with other
tools through them, but if you're doing

a newsletter, for example, make sure
you get a good sense of like your open

rate and click through rates and that
sort of thing, and really, really pay

attention to what people are doing.

And also ask them, like, if you can reach
out to those people and get a sense of

why and how they're using your product.

Do that a lot.

I think, honestly, my favorite
thing is qualitative feedback.

When you can really get a sense
of like how and why someone

interacts with the product.

I think that's amazing.


So I'm going to give you a little sales
pitch from our end, which is twofold.

First off, if you're thinking
of building a tech product.

Whatever it might be.

We're happy to talk to you
and help you figure it out.

You can book a free consultation.

I'm happy to honestly chat about.

How you could do that
sort of thing, right?

And if we chat for 30 minutes,
I can give you some ideas.

If it's not something that you're
already aware of, how to do.

If you do have something a bit more
substantial that you'd like to explore.

We are really good at
whipping out products quickly.

That are usable that are a
good starting point for someone

to test their business model.

We can also do bigger, more
full-fledged products, but I really

think that one of the things that
we love is to test ideas with people

and to get something off the ground.

That is a good foundation to build
the rest of your product on top of.

I think one of our strengths really
lies in figuring out what the needs are

of our clients as businesses but also
exploring what their end users need.

And figuring out how that intersects
with technology and design and really

figuring out what are the right tools,
what are the right strategies to get

from this idea to that initial value
that someone gets out of a product.

So yeah, feel free to hit us up and we
can do a free consultation or yeah,

if you're further along, we're happy
to help you get something custom up and

running and into people's hands that you
can start measuring and building off of.

So, yeah, basically What did we cover?

What is an MVP?

It's the cheapest simplest
path to providing value to

your customer as a product.

Not necessarily as your final
product, but as a product.

Yeah, I think we talked a little
bit about the structure of how

you go about building something.

Some of the options from a technical
and non-technical perspective,

the no-code tools, low-code tools.

And yeah, I think that's
that's pretty much it.

I think that is most of what I
have to say about MVPs anyway.


What that word means to different
people is kind of interesting.

Because it means a lot of different
things to a lot of different people.

So, yeah.

Thanks for listening folks.

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If you have questions also.


Leave us a question in the comments or
let us know what you think an MVP is.

And have you built one, what
did you build and how did it go?

And were you able to build
something bigger off of it?

We would also love to have you.

You there on the podcast.

So if you want to talk to me on
this podcast, You want to talk

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small tech journey, or you want

to just talk about the tech world?

Building products, that sort of thing.

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Also a quick reminder.

Free consultation.

Like let me know.

I am so happy.

I love talking to folks about their
ideas and the possibilities, like

the things that they could build.

If you're someone who's interested
in building a tech product,

And you're not a developer.

Like that is, that is
my favorite thing to do.

Is basically talking to people who
are not developers and helping them

figure out what the possibilities
are like, what can you build?

And really you can build anything.

This is just a question of time
budget and some other stuff, but let's

explore the possibilities together.

So yeah, free consultation.

Hit us up.

So that's it for this week's
episode folks, and we all want to

do something good in the world.

So go out there and build
something good folks.

I will see you next time.

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