Navigating MVPs
A New Founder's Guide to Imperfect Success

In the dynamic landscape of digital product development, the notion of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can be daunting for founders. This guide aims to demystify MVPs, positioning them as powerful tools that don't demand perfection. Drawing inspiration from Reid Hoffman's advice, "If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late," let's explore how new founders can confidently steer through the MVP journey.


For founders venturing into the realm of software & app development, launching an imperfect product may seem counterintuitive. However, this guide unravels the essence of MVPs and their role in the iterative process, offering insights that empower you to embrace imperfection when it comes to their product development.

You might be thinking "Where do I even start?", and "What even IS a minimum viable product?" - well, it does mean different things to different people, and it depends on what you would personally deem "minimum". From our point of view, we see your MVP as the most minimal, cut-down version of your product that still has the capacity to generate revenue for you.

So long as you have 2 things..
  • The ability to provide value to your users, and
  • The ability to charge users for that value have an MVP.

Understanding MVPs

At its core, an MVP is about introducing a product with the minimum features necessary to resonate with early adopters. It's a strategic entry point, focused on learning and adaptation through genuine user feedback. New founders are encouraged to view MVPs as an evolving foundation, allowing ideas to be tested, insights gathered, and products refined based on actual user experiences.

It's all about measurement - you better get used to measuring things!

What about my MVP - what should I focus on? As programmer Kent Beck said a long time ago: "Make it work, make it right, make it fast", meaning it's most important to make it work primarily, and build from there. Making it "right" means making it right for your users, and making it fast comes later.

At this early stage of your product, addressing your users' needs is paramount. Without returning users, your product won't exist (..obviously!) so it's really important to work out how to measure their satisfaction levels with the product.

Over time, we'd keep an eye on (among other things):
  • Active users:
    • How happy are they?
    • How can we ensure they return?
    • Are there any aspects of their usage of the product that annoys them?
  • Lapsed users:
    • Why did they leave?
    • What can we do to mitigate users leaving in future?
Something to think about: How do we gather this information without bugging them too much?

Release Early!! Reid Hoffman's Wisdom & Overcoming Perfectionism

Reid Hoffman's quote, "If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late," should be a guiding principle for new founders. It underscores the importance of embracing imperfections in the initial stages, recognising the first version as a pivotal step in the journey, rather than the final destination.

We know - you're a perfectionist. It's gotta be perfect. But, is anything ever actually perfect?

The fear of presenting an imperfect product can be paralysing for all founders. However, launching quickly and improving quickly based on recent, actual user data can facilitate market entry, feedback collection, and rapid iteration. Transparency and responsiveness to user needs are valued by audiences, making an MVP a true reflection of a product's early stage.

Don't be afraid of launching - the earlier you're in-market, the earlier your offering's revenue will begin to recoup your investment.

MVPs in Action

Examining success stories from app development giants like Facebook, Dropbox and Uber reveals beginnings rooted in imperfect MVPs. New founders are encouraged to draw inspiration from these narratives, understanding that initial imperfections can pave the way for substantial growth.

Your MVP needs to:
  • Prioritise User Experience (UX). While functionality is crucial, it's equally important to ensure that your MVP not only addresses a problem but does so in a way that is user-friendly. This guarantees that users not only comprehend the product's value proposition, but also understand how it can simplify their lives.
  • Be Flexible. Encourage a mindset of adaptability around your MVP. Be prepared to make changes and improvements quickly to make your product work better.
  • Stay Laser-Focused. Identify and prioritise core features that align with your product's value proposition. Avoid adding too many features at once (this can cause feature bloat) and maintain a streamlined focus on what truly matters to your users.

Forming a Supportive Team

For new founders, working with a team with technical expertise is pivotal. Collaborating with developers and designers who grasp the iterative nature of MVPs fosters a supportive and energising environment.

Here at OK200 we build our team based on attitude - the technical stuff can be learned or coached. Finding a capable techie with a great attitude is a bonus! Our outlook is this: if we can fill the room with energising, engaged people who love the industry they work in, there's no way we can fail in providing a great software product to our clients. For the MVP of your crew, we'd suggest doing the same.

In Summary

Embracing imperfection, learning from user feedback, and following the advice of seasoned professionals empower founders to confidently launch into the digital realm. Remember, an MVP is not about perfection, it's the first step toward creating a successful and impactful digital product.

Are you a founder / startup looking to build your initial MVP and begin gathering your first rounds of feedback? Look no further. Get in touch right now to chat to us about your product idea. Alternatively give us a follow on LinkedIn.