Creating A Minimum Viable Product Should Not Be This Hard

Since getting into the tech world, I’ve started to learn a lot about startups. The what to do’s, the what not to do’s and everything else in-between. One of those on the to-do list is to create what’s called a minimum viable product, also known as an MVP.

What is a Minimum Viable Product?

An MVP in short is a draft of your final product. For example: let’s say you had a really great idea for a pink elephant themed t-shirt company. From a biased perspective of course you think you have the greatest idea in the world.

“Everyone is going to love this pink elephant t-shirts!”

Wrong.

Just because you think the pink elephant t-shirts are great, doesn’t mean everyone else thinks so. You’ve got to test the marketplace and see if it’s something they even want.

“But Chris, STeVe JoBs crEated thE iPhONe anD pEoplE Didn’T kNoW ThAt thEY WaNteD OnE.” ????????‍♂️

This of course is true, but you are probably not creating an iPhone and you most certainly aren’t Steve Jobs.

Testing the marketplace for a product idea that you have, be it a software, item of clothing, service, or experience is extremely important.

The last thing you want to do is invest $50,000, $500,000 or $5,000,000 of your money, or worst of OPM (other people’s money) in a product that nobody actually even wants.

Think of your MVP as not a prototype but as a pre-prototype. Sell the idea of oxygen and only until the market responds that they want air should you begin creating the atmosphere that creates it. Make sense? Good.

In short: See if people actually want pink elephant themed t-shirts. If they do, create them. If not, gauge weather pursuing the business is worth it.

The Startup Hiccup

I’m going to do my best to avoid cliche startup buzzwords like:

  • Disrupt
  • Revolutionize
  • Epic
  • Never-before-seen

But it’s sort of hard to when what you’re creating will quite literally shift (fuck, used a buzz word) the landscape of how residential homeowners go solar. Not to mention, they’ll SAVE a ton more money.

Anyone who goes solar with this startup will save tons.

Here’s the problem: I’m not a programmer or software developer in any way. In fact, I understand a little bit of HTML but couldn’t code something if my life depended on it.

Herein lies the dilemma––do I learn how to code, or do I get a co-founder?

I recently spoke with a successful businessman who used to head a $150million startup––who’s name I will not mention––I ran the idea by him and he said it was brilliant.

**Feelings of validation ensue**

He then said to me, “Chris, that’s going to take a lot of fucking money. We spent $1million on our website alone.”

Startup people definitely know more than I do since they’ve been there and done that. I just want to do things differently.

After reading countless startup stories, the new wave seems to be to NOT take outside funding. If you can in-house it all, do that. Too many expectations get created and ever investor expects you to be the unicorn of tech. Most startups that take outside funding actually fail.

Will definitely try and do this all in-house. The question now remains.. do I learn how to program to create something simple?

Or do I outsource it to some dude in India or South America for under $5,000?

These are the thoughts.

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