Let's zoom into MVP


A major part of all app owners doesn’t matter web, mobile, or other, are looking for “first app version”. What is more, the first app version is considered as MVP. They think “I have a great idea. Oh, I will launch the app, put $5 per download and will generate a lot of profit. Sure, I need to make some promotion” etc etc. Unfortunately, a lot of them don’t take into account that their app, their “child” doesn’t need to anyone in this cruel world. If there is no plan of how to get the market, your “child” will be stillborn.

Quite often we need to explain what is MVP and what does MVP means. It is not NBA related Most Valuable Player and not Model View Presenter, in Product development, it is Minimum Viable Product.

So, Why and what should be in any MVP?

minimum viable product (MVP)

Let’s take idea of restaurant review based app to show the difference between first app version and MVP. What are the main points in such app? It is not enough just create it. You need to connect restaurants and bring a lot of users there to push place-owner to generate profit for you.

So the main efforts should be on getting first users who are really seeking for such app (innovators). As for the places, we can take their info by ourself and add it into the app as it is available on the internet to anyone. What is more, you don’t need to waste the time and visit every place to negotiate with the owners to get some funds for promotion - let’s keep this task for later app version. We would suggest testing your idea in your own city. Why? There should be people who would like to leave feedbacks about the place and check the rating before visiting any. If you couldn’t find such people you need to be lost in thought: “Are your audience really interested in such app?”. The only exception to this rule is if you are living in the middle of nowhere or somewhere in Tibet - monks don’t often visit restaurants.

So, why do we suggest start with own city for your MVP? Sure, you can spend dozens of thousands to be promoted on Super Bowl but are you sure you can afford such promotion?

© Eric Ries

We totally agree with Eric. It is required testing idea and hypothesis systematically according to Lean methodology. It is better to waste couple thousands and understand that the world does not need your “child” rather than lose hundreds of thousands and come to the same conclusion. This is the main point why do we suggest to concentrate your efforts on one city where there are enough restaurants and people who are visiting these places.

After getting all places data we can work on attracting our users. You would say, “my users is every person”. Yes, you are right, but all users are divided into categories: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. So, for the first step, we need to concentrate our efforts, even app features, on these innovators. Let’s assume that our innovators are girls who are hunting guys with big wallets. Let’s think where we can find them and how to attract their attention to our app. Let’s say, they are using Instagram and Snapchat. They should be keeping an eye on such groups as “stylish accessories”, “fashion shoes”, “I’m princes”, etc. Let’s get in touch with them and simply send the link to our app presentation and ask for their opinion. If we receive 20-30% of positive feedbacks - make sure this can work.

Since now, we can start on development part, here is the difference between MVP and first app version:

How to Manage the MVP

Let’s go through the spreadsheet in details:

  • we don’t need leave feedback and comments offers as we won’t have a lot of users at first. The main is to test the idea and unique feature;
  • there should not be login and registration as there are no any required for this feature (comments, personal discount system, etc);
  • Admin Panel = we don’t need to use Custom Server Side. Yes, a lot of apps have Cloud Based Server, such as Firebase or AWS, but to launch the app faster and save couple thousands on development we can store all data inside the user device - just to test the idea. You can’t use this variant all the time, as the app size would be growing and it won’t be comfortable to update any info. What is more, you won’t be able to use “comments” & “feedbacks” after too;
  • Analytics = this is your eyes and your ears in the app. The more you know about user behavior in the app the more attractive you can make the app for them. So it is highly required;
  • Unique feature = any app should have this to light you up among your competitors. Everything should be built around this uniqueness.

Sure, the app also can have discount cards, coupons, a lot of animation but these features are not highly required for your minimum valuable product. FOCUS ON YOUR MAIN FEATURE: your app should solve your user's problem! Don’t focus on side-features. If your app solves real issues you will have users even without great UI and animation. Do you know craigslist.org? Do you like their design? So FOCUS ON PEOPLE’s PROBLEMS. It should be your mantra.

© Paul Graham

What tools is better to use for your app promotion we already wrote here.

Hope it is much more clear for you and you would be able to explain MVP definition to anyone now. If you still have questions about the article or you have own idea of “next big thing” drop us a line and we would be pleased to support you.


molfar.io team.