The Most Important Letter in MVP is the V. It’s the Viable in Minimum Viable Product.

The most important letter in MVP is the V. It’s the Viable in Minimum Viable Product. Viable means highly useful. Minimum means incomplete and imperfect.

When should you ship your new thing in a software startup?

When should you push that marketing campaign, new website, leadership hire, new feature, or pricing change?

Most founders (and big companies) delay these new launches longer than they should, which slows their progress toward achieving their big vision. I’m guilty of this, too.

But there’s a trick to increasing speed and cycle time and not disappointing your customers.

Jeff Corn explains the MVP approach he used to start and scale a successful tech company that is changing the real estate business in the US.

Jeff is the co-founder and former CEO of Virtuance, one of the US’s leading real estate photography and marketing providers.

Virtuance started with the vision of a software-only solution, but the business started growing with a high-quality, done-for-you service with a fast turnaround, powered by its technology, partners, and systems.

The company grew steadily every year without any outside funding, eventually serving more than 20,000 real estate agents with 100 employees and more than 300 local photography partners.

They were constantly launching new things and improving old things. It never stopped.

As Jeff explained on the Practical Founders Podcast this week:

“The biggest reason that startup founders fail is that they actually fail to launch. The hardest thing to do is to fricking push your product and get it out in the world—because it’s messy.

“Your early product is certainly far from perfect, and it may not even work very well. But getting that feedback is so important to figure out what to do next.

“I see too many founders try to perfect it before they get it into the market. And then when it gets into the market, they might think it’s perfect, but the market may not. And at that point, they already invested too much in it.

“It’s not that we’re shipping something that we don’t think works. WE ARE SHIPPING SOMETHING THAT WE KNOW CHECKS JUST ONE OF THE BOXES THAT OUR CUSTOMERS NEED.

The only way to succeed is to let go of some of our perfectionism and Type A thinking and allow our teams to do the work, and be able to ship an imperfect product to get real feedback.”

What’s viable and what’s not viable? It depends.

Your quality bar increases as your company grows, but you need to keep shipping and deciding early enough to get real feedback to improve. It’s easy to skip that step.

Practical founders ship “early,” get feedback, and keep shipping.

In 2022, Jeff successfully sold Virtuance to Diakrit, a global real estate marketing technology company backed by private equity investors.

You can hear Jeff’s story here on the Practical Founders Podcast.

What’s your definition of Viable in MVP?


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