Categories: Business / Mobile Apps

We read with interest a recent article on Forbes that proposed that the current obsession with MVPs for mobile startups might actually be working against startups’ interests.

The lean startup approach favored by many investor-hungry new businesses encourages entrepreneurs to put their product in front of an audience ASAP. The preferred way to do this is with an MVP, or minimum viable product. MVPs let startups see whether their product resonates with audiences before investing huge amounts of time and effort. If the idea is a winner, the startup can move ahead with a more fleshed-out product. If not, they can pivot or move on to the next idea.

MVPs are basically a way of reducing risk – and doing some preliminary market validation as well.

Mobile phone with text "hello"
Are MVPs for startups too basic to deliver any real value?

From MVPs to minimum wow

The author of the Forbes piece argues that MVPs emphasize “minimum” and “viable” over the “product” side of things, resulting in apps that are rushed, poorly conceived or without an accompanying business model. For customers, the outcome is a glut of half-completed products. Investors, on the other hand, are asked to participate in the trial and error process of the entire startup world.

The article proposes that startups should be focusing not on MVPs, but on “minimum wow” products. More polished, more functional and backed by a clear business model, “minimum wow” apps deliver an experience that will appeal to both users and investors. They do away with the quick win in favor of a longer-term, more considered approach – and will ideally help reduce the number of half-finished apps in the App Stores.

Woman holding iPhone and taking notes on paper.
In our world, MVP stands for maximum value proposition

MVPs as maximum value proposition

A consult with our team yielded some rich feedback about MVPs for mobile startups. The general consensus was that MVPs are a solid start if done right. In fact, an MVP done well should naturally have “minimum wow” baked into it.

Additionally, our team agreed a true MVP should be more than a rough draft idea with no monetization strategy. To meet the “viable” part of the MVP definition, there needs to be a supporting business plan behind it. Even if this itself is minimally viable.

Because we believe that an MVP should contain the right amount of value, wow factor and functionality to go to the market in a powerful way, we prefer to think of the term “MVP” as standing for maximum value proposition instead. Our goal as a studio? To get as much value into an early release as possible. And to continue iterating beyond the MVP until we have a rich, mature, fully fledged product on our hands.

If you’re a mobile startup working on an MVP and are looking for a digital partner, get in touch. We’re here to help bring out the best in your idea – and bring it to market with the wow factor it needs to succeed.

Touchtap is a digital agency specializing in mobile-first development.We can build your mobile app for you.

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