Wonder what the MVP for Airbnb/Uber/Google/YouTube looked like?

This afternoon I built a site that showcases some famous MVPs!

Inspiration to validate by launching fast before wasting hours trying to build something that no one wants.

Hope it's helpful or at least interesting!


  1. 5

    Someone in YC, maybe it was PG, said you shouldn't feel proud of your MVP. If you do, you have worked too much on it.

    1. 0

      Reid Hoffman says this a lot:

      If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late

      Nice showcase by the way @jonathancai. I don't think looking back at sites from ~10 years ago is super useful because what worked before isn't going to work now, nonetheless, there is lessons in those old MVPs

      1. 1

        Thanks :) Just meant to make starting something feel less daunting, nothing too serious going on here!

  2. 3

    Very humbling and promising to see where everything started. Thanks for building this.

  3. 2

    Thanks for sharing this! 😂
    This reminded me of a mantra shared by our CEO:

    1. make it work
    2. make it pretty
    3. make it fast

    And the famous saying of Voltaire: Perfect is the enemy of good

    Essentially, releasing an MVP that is something good enough, but not perfect allows you to get feedback earlier and start profiting from the product sooner.

  4. 2

    Pretty interesting. Have you compared the "ugliness" across time (meaning, have you noticed startups that launched/succeeded more recently have more comprehensive MVPs vs. those that launched in the 00s like Facebook)? Of course, the answer would be subjective, but still curious on your take on this.

    1. 1

      Definitely way more "ugliness" the farther back I went.
      The technological/design improvements over the years just drastically exaggerate the difference in design.
      Design standards have improved incredibly, a long with pre-made templates, drag and drop editors, and design programs.

      There's certainly a big difference between "ugliness" vs "comprehensiveness" though.
      Eg, these days you see a lot of beautiful landing page with 0 functionality beyond email signup.
      Thus on the "comprehensiveness" front, it seems like the inverse correlation occurred w.r.t. time.
      But again, we have survivorship bias, as we won't be able to see the low functional landing pages of all the companies that failed years ago.

      Of course, my evidence is just anecdotal, and I only researched 30+ companies (mostly pre 2010s) to create the website.

  5. 1

    I loved this. It really makes me feel better about our MVP.

  6. 1

    suddenly I feel very good about the fact that we just shipped and that it's not up to par with my... standards

      1. 1

        thank you! exciting times for sure

  7. 1

    Thanks for sharing this. It reminds me to just ship the MVP even though how much I would feel embarrassed. Just need to let go off the getting things perfect mentality.

    1. 1

      Absolutely! Glad to hear it :)

  8. 1

    In Dropbox MVP Hackernews MVP contains fix that.

    1. 1

      ?? Their HN post was a component of their "MVP"?

  9. 1

    This comment was deleted a year ago.

    1. 3

      I totally disagree. I think there's this myth that these big companies were totally revolutionary; it's perpetuated by media and certainly the companies themselves don't mind the myth being propagated. But when you look back, you'll see there were often companies very similar or exactly the same and the ones that survive today do so because of execution.

      Here's some of the competition I'm talking about:

      An article outlining some of YT's early competition: http://www.betaboston.com/news/2015/02/16/why-did-youtube-win-an-interview-with-co-founder-chad-hurley-from-2005/#:~:text=But why did YouTube become,“Saturday Night Live” shorts.

      Airbnb's original pitch deck lists some competitors: https://www.slideshare.net/PitchDeckCoach/airbnb-first-pitch-deck-editable

      Google was certainly very unique and set apart from its competition; I remember watching some documentary where people mentioned that at the time search engines were super cluttered. So when people went to google and saw just a search bar, they wouldn't touch their mouse for minutes, and when asked why, they said they were waiting for the rest of the page to load.

      Uber on the other hand though, I don't think they faced any competition early on (that I've personally come across).

      1. 1

        Yep, same thing with the myth of founding stories.. History always gets glorified

    2. 2

      You're right! Market saturation probably played a role here when designing MVPs.

      But I think it's still to an extent. Best counterexample is ProductHunt, Ryan just made a LinkyDink group, but there was already many communities surrounding tech products on Reddit/HN/etc at the time in 2013. With the knowledge of how dominant these companies are these days, in hindsight, I think it's easy to discount the competition.

Trending on Indie Hackers
I redesigned my landing page to something completely unconventional/unprofessional 14 comments Breaking down one of the most successful ecommerce SEO strategies (IKEA) 10 comments 44 products by bootstrapped startup founders you can use 9 comments What is the #1 problem why aspiring entrepreneurs won't start their dream business? 8 comments How we automatically provision SSL for SaaS customers with custom domains 5 comments On productized services, a crappy logo, and a shift in perspective that changed everything: Jaclyn Schiff's story 5 comments