Often referred by the acronym MVP, it is a product or service that has just enough core features to effectively deploy it to a select set of customers and early adopters, who can give direct and valuable feedback while it’s still early and inexpensive to make changes.
As an example, Eric Ries noted that Zappos founder Nick Swinmurn wanted to test the hypothesis that customers were ready and willing to buy shoes online. Instead of building a website and a large database of footwear, Swinmurn approached local shoe stores, took pictures of their inventory, posted the pictures online, bought the shoes from the stores at full price after he’d made a sale, and then shipped them directly to customers with little to no profit. Swinmurn deduced that customer demand was present, and proceeded with moving forward with the business. Zappos would eventually grow into a billion dollar business based on the model of selling shoes online.
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