MVP has grown

Wed 07 May 2014 Written by Evi

The Minimal Viable Product (MVP) approach has become extremely popular with “appreneurs” who hope to develop and launch the next Vine, WhatsApp, SnapChat, and Instagram. 


The main idea is to develop and launch a thin mobile app with minimal features, yet one that still offers the core functionality. You can then see how the "crowd" responds to those features. If the app gets traction with users, it means that there's a good reason to continue developing the application. If not, the appreneur needs to perhaps stop working on the project and move on to the next idea.


It’s essentially the same as a lean startup process. We want to burn as little cash as possible while we get our product out there for a fraction of the cost and see how it's received. MVP and lean startups are designed to protect the entrepreneur by minimizing investment until the concept has been accepted by users and there’s solid evidence that the market is viable.


The MVP approach has been redefined in recent years thanks to developments in the app market place.


When Apple announced the launch of the first iPhone and introduced the app store on iTunes, it was a goldmine for developers. It was an opportunity for quick and smart appreneurs to launch applications and then with minimal effort get huge numbers of users. 


Why minimal effort? Simply because there were no other apps out there to compete. All you needed was to get there first. Once there, you reaped the benefits of “first come, first served” and then cashed out with a nice profit.


In order to do that you needed to have an MVP product to guarantee being first to market, and it’s worth noting you really didn’t need anything more than that to launch. You just catered to your market segment, offered a decent product, were first to market and you were off to a great start.


What's changed since then? 


The app market has become crowded. It's much harder to develop and launch a hit app today than it was several years ago. In today's market, whatever idea you have and whatever you're thinking of developing as a mobile app, there’s a strong chance that it's already out there, in some type of variation. If it's not, there’s a good chance that someone else is developing a similar product. 


How does that affect the MVP concept? 


It expands the idea of the MVP in terms of what you need to launch. Today, in order to attract attention and bring downloads (plus active users) you need to be both on Android and iOS. This is a must for every B2C (business to consumer) app. As a result, your MVP must expand horizontally to cater to both platforms.


You also need a landing page for the application as a minimum requirement. Finally, you must have first class graphic design capabilities and a very clear understanding of what your segment is and how you'll approach it effectively. 


These requirements are mandatory. There are countless opportunities waiting for you appreneurs in the App Store and Google Play, but you must understand how to expand your offering on the initial introduction of your product.