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New v. Old Way of Building Products
MVO v. MVP
The old way of building products went something like this:
Build an MVP (rarely one that was minimal, usually not good enough to be viable & usually using the wrong prototype model)
Measure the results of that MVP out in the real world
Learn & iterate based on the learnings
This approach was focused on validating a solution.
But in the modern world, that approach - that early focus on building out a solution - can be extremely dangerous.
There’s 16x more competitors today than just 10 years ago.
That means all the obvious solutions have already been built!
That means that finding opportunity in the market requires a lot of work.
For an aspiring product leader like you, that means you have to be extremely good at discovering unique opportunities in the market (not just building a functional solution).
But… How to actually do that in practice?
The New Way
Focus on the new way of building:
Define a unique value proposition
Define your target market
Validate your target market actually values your unique value proposition
If yes, think about building a solution
Rather than jumping to building an MVP & seeing how the market reacted, we spend time validating whether there would in fact be demand for what we were offering. Following those steps:
We defined a unique value proposition: Rather than looking at helping people “build better presentations”, which MANY competitors do, we focused specifically on 1) the specific problem of creating a product update and 2) Doing so in a unique way, by pulling in live product data, focusing on story structure & sharing asynchronously.
We spoke to Product Managers specifically, to give us greater focus, as well as a deep understanding of that target market
We then put a few posts up on LinkedIn outlining the unique value prop, then directed our target market to a simple landing page & survey. Having got 44 responses, we realised there was at least interest - if not demand - for such a product.
Only once we got that validation did we then start thinking about what the specific solution would be (clearly we had a rough idea, but didn’t waste time roadmapping it until we had completed steps 1-3)
(By the way, I go into detail about how to craft a compelling product strategy & value prop using the Minimal Viable Offer model in this article)
In the highly-competitive world we find ourselves in you simply do not have the luxury of building something you have not validated demand for.
There are just too many products out there to assume that what you’re offering is particularly unique and valuable.
That doesn’t mean we never want to build a solution, by the way! We definitely want to apply the MVP approach. We just need to understand that it is a huge distraction too early in the process. It’s more fun & interesting to build something new, but it’s also incredibly time-consuming.
🚀 P.S. Want to learn how to build the new way in the real-world? And fast-track your path to Head of Product in the process by building a real product from zero to revenue?
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