Minimum Viable Product

This article is written by Milambo Kabeleka, a Contributor Author at Startup Turkey.

Claus Werner, one of the speakers at Startup Istanbul 2017 event has worked with Amazon for five years, in all those years, he has worked with startups from all over the world, helping them scale their companies from their city, out of their country, out of Europe, and onto the global market.

Most startups will have an idea of the problem they are solving but will not know who exactly their customer is or how they will respond to the product. This is a cycle that t goes around while they try to validate their business.

According to the lean startup methodology, startups learn and adapt. Because nothing is constant and the situation is always changing.

The process that a startup usually goes through:

  1. Focus on a simple implementation of your idea.
  2. Start with a minimal core set of features.
  3. Release and listen to your users.

This is called a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). It involves creating the simplest version of your product. The smallest thing you can do to test your idea and get feedback.

The MVP is usually misunderstood. Most startups treat it as a finished product that can go on the market.  Whereas, it is a much simpler version of a product and should only be used to test the market.

For example: Creating a landing page to see how many people click on a “buy” button set up on a page.

It doesn’t have to be a big thing backed up by angel money. It just has to be simple that you will keep trying to tweak, till you get to an MVP that you can release.

An example of how an MVP works to the startup’s advantage would be a startup that was originally known as Audio and was a site for creating and sharing podcasts. After a lot of alterations, it became a huge micro blogging site known as Twitter.

Another example is a startup from Finland that developed 51 games, that were small with no real huge success until they got to game number 52 which they called Angry birds and hit the jackpot.

How Does Amazon Web Services Help?

A small team may have an idea for a mobile application, 3 months to get to launch, with unknown customers, unknown problem or solution, and no money.

Amazon will create a simple architecture for a test environment for the application, for free. After the alpha release, a second server is added to make sure the alpha users are not disturbed. This can be run at 10 to 15 dollars a month, depending on the size. The beta stage is where an auto scaling layer is added to allow the application to take in more users.

Amazon offers these services to help tech companies build MVPs at almost no cost. The importance of creating an MVP is usually overlooked by startups, especially when they are excited about going to market and scaling. However, it is worth remembering that, it is easier to correct and change something on a smaller scale than on a larger scale. This is the main benefit of Minimum Viable Products.

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