Uber wasn’t so Über: Launching a Minimum Viable Product is Not About Perfection

Uber’s current valuation is US$68 billion. Above is a screenshot of their website at launch.

Let’s let that one sink in.

It seems almost impossible for Uber not to have a beautiful brand, slick user interface and irresistible service design. However, it didn’t, at least not at launch.

I love this screenshot. It’s a perfect real-world example of the advice I give startup and small business clients when we begin a journey of innovation: build an MVP… and no I don’t mean James Harden for you NBA lovers.

What is an MVP in Innovation

MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. It’s a simple idea we use to ensure we make sound and financially rational decisions throughout the design and development process.

Breaking down this acronym, we find the real magic in the idea:
1. We’re creating a product for an end-user, who is driven by some basic human need.
2. What features of our product will viably solve the basic human need?
3. What is the minimal number of features that the product can have to satisfy the basic human need still be financially viable?

Therefore, to make a new product in the most cost-effective and high-impact way, you must always remember to create an MVP and an MVP alone.

How does it work?

Start thinking practically not emotionally about your new business, app idea or venture. Remove the emotion and be ruthless about one thing:

Clearly define the problem you’re solving, and for whom you’re addressing it.

Hold this definition up as the lens through which you make decisions about what features your product will have.

Apply this method to your decision making, and you’ll ensure that your product indeed solves your customer’s problem and is devoid of your vanity about its aesthetics.

Just like Uber did.

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