Fact 1: The first version of the iPhone did not have the ‘copy-and-paste’ feature, although the WinMob did, and the classic Mac OS had it, many many years ago.
Fact 2: When Jeff Bezos started operations at Amazon.com, ‘get it up and get it out’ was the motto. Function preceded style and editorial content. Low on graphics and animation, the site loaded fast and excelled at the basics – making it easy to search and buy books.
What can we learn about building software successfully, from the above seemingly straight-forward facts? Quite a few things actually.
A decade ago, many software startups would be in stealth mode for ages, building the perfect product, burning huge amounts of cash – without actually getting users involved. The “build it and they will come” mentality was all too prevalent.
Today, the concept of MVP or Minimum Viable Product is gaining importance. (MVP is not a very new concept – in fact, it’s a core tenet of modern product marketing) Many software companies have started to realize that building software without customer validation and feedback can be a complete waste of resources. Tech start-ups, especially, can really benefit from building ‘just enough’ features that (a) make the software functional (b) enable early adopters to sign-up and pay (c) help bring real feedback from the market.
Most ideas don’t play out the way they were envisioned. Very rarely can you get the right product out the first time you try. By scoping right, startups not only burn less cash but increase their chances of success by being able to take their products to actual customers, fail fast and continue to iterate quickly based on regular feedback.
NOTE to regular readers: We’ve been dormant for a while on the forum now – our apologies – but we’re back, along with a minor update to the forum and we hope to keep the momentum going! Come join the discussion!