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Michael Seibel - How to Plan an MVP. Summary.

I watched a video with Michael Seibel (YC CEO and Partner) about how to to build an MVP and getting your first users as a pre-launch startup. My summary:

  1. Some understanding of the problem is very helpful when you're building an MVP. Please, talk to your users before writing code.

  2. A strange question: "How do I get my first users?".

Theoretically, you decide to solve a problem that you know someone has. And your way you get your first users – as you talk to that person that you know has the problem. And if it's you, it's even easier.

If you're building a product for a mysterious set of users, that you have no idea who they are.

  1. The goal of a pre-launch startup:

– Launch something bad quickly (MVP).
– Get some initial customers. Get anyone using your product.
– Talk to your users (any of them) after you've launched this MVP and get feedback.
– Iterate. Continue improving on your solution until it actually solves a problem.

  1. Your idea should be very flexible because it might turn out the full thing that you want to build isn't what your customers want at all.

– Hold the problem you're solving tightly.
– Hold the customer tightly.
– Hold the solution you're building loosely.

  1. Lean MVP (in most cases):

– Very fast to build (weeks not months).
– Focus on a small set of initial users and their highest order problems.
– This is a base to iterate from. It's just a starting point. Make sure you don't feel your MVP is too special.
– Many billion dollars companies started with something that most people would say is pretty shitty.

  1. Heavy MVP (in very few cases):

– Significant regulations (insurance, banking)
– Hardtech
– Biotech
– Moonshot

  1. If your MVP is not heavy, you can even start with a simple website that explains what you do.

It's helpful when you talk to people who interact with that. They can refer back to something.

  1. If you have a magical idea of the magical launch you want to do, throw it away. It's not that special.

Do you remember the day that Google launched?
How about Facebook? How about Twitter?
No.

It turns out that launches aren't that special at all.

  1. Number one thing that's really important – is to get some customers.

Launch simply means to start getting customers.

  1. Learning from customers is easier with an MVP than without.

It's a lot harder to learn from your customers when they don't have a product they can play with.

  1. Time box your spec.

Spec is the list of stuff you need to build before you launch.

Time box it. Say:
– Ok what happens if I want to launch in 3 weeks?
– The only things that could be on my spec are things I can build in 3 weeks.

That makes your life a lot simpler. It allows you to remove all the features you can't build in 3 weeks.

  1. Write your spec. Cut your spec. Don't fall in love with your MVP!
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