MVPs for the Win: Leveraging Minimum Viable Products

Written by Nevin Decroo on April 27, 2023

Today we are talking about MVPs. We’ll cover them all, from Tom Brady to Michael Jordan, and go over this year’s picks.

Okay, so maybe that’s not the type of MVP we want to cover.

What we’re really talking about are minimum viable products (MVPs). MVPs are initial versions of more sophisticated products. Instead of building out an elaborate prototype with all the bells and whistles, an MVP focuses on the bare essentials. The minimum features needed to make the product viable in the marketplace, if you will.

What’s the need for an MVP?

If you’ve never heard of this concept before, you might think this is crazy. If you have a larger vision for a product that can bring value, why not just build and deliver that?

The problem is that doing so takes a lot of time. And a lot of money. And, because it’s a new product, you don’t know for sure if it will be as successful as you dream it to be.

MVPs come in all shapes and sizes but share a common goal, test the most desired features and assumptions with a core group of key users to get feedback. Because of its lightweight design, an MVP can quickly be adapted based on feedback.

Relatively speaking, the investment in an MVP is much lower. It allows you to fail without steep consequences. And when you fail with an MVP, you can iterate and move forth toward eventual success.

This overall process and its invaluable learning opportunities and adaptability are made possible by the MVP.

Minimum Viable Product Examples

This sounds good and all, but do successful companies actually use this process? You bet they do! Check out these three examples:


Maybe you’ve heard of this company. I think they do pretty well for themselves. But can you recall all the way back when they were just an online bookseller?

That’s how this giant company started back in the day. Founder Jeff Bezos thought he may be on to something with the online selling idea, but he wanted some validation.

Viewing books as an easy, low-cost way to enter the space, he created Amazon with readers in mind. As the idea was validated and began to catch on, more and more products were added. And here we are today when you can buy just about anything with a few clicks.

Amazon may have started with books. But it was about so much more. Behind-the-scenes testing and iteration allowed the company to work out the bugs, understand how to sell online effectively, and eventually grow in ways that would not have been possible if they choose to go big from the beginning.


Before you could rent a house or apartment anywhere in the world, you had to rent a specific room in the founders’ apartment in San Fran. That’s right. The initial version of Airbnb was based in their extra bedroom. Talk about starting a business out of your home!

As they got better at marketing and figured out how to get others on board with this idea, they grew. However, they started in a way that wasn’t so flashy.

Now a wildly successful company, they can look back at their MVP and laugh. But they wouldn’t be where they are today without it.


The story of Facebook is widely known, but it again showcases the power of iterating upon an MVP.

Initially built for Harvard students, Facebook expanded over time. The social network eventually reached millions, but it started out as a simple way to connect people.

Features were added over time as the company perfected its ability to deliver upon its core mission. I doubt Marketplace was part of the initial vision!

Building Your Own MVP

Are you convinced of the power and value of MVPs? Want to build your own? Good. Start here with these three steps:

What’s your main value proposition?

Answer this question to clarify what value and benefit you want to bring to your customers.

Maybe you’re trying to make it easier to connect bank accounts with stock investment options. Maybe you want to use flower-trained AI to enhance people’s green thumbs. Whatever it is, get clear on it!

How can you deliver this in the simplest way possible?

Whatever your answer to the above, you could go about it in an elaborate way. Perhaps you’ll get there eventually. But for right now, we want simplicity.

Think about the core idea of your value. How can you accomplish that with simple features that are straight to the point?

Go a level deeper!

Take your answer from the previous question and make a plan for how you and your team can build it in the next 30 days. Is 30 days too short of a timespan? Make the idea simpler. Remember, you’re after the bare minimum here!

If you’re working on a digital product and are struggling to figure out how to start small and learn fast, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to carve out time to help you work through your MVP and perhaps identify a few creative ways to test your assumptions.