Minimum Loveable Product: A Useful Concept

by Diana Ecker on March 7, 2014

MVP, or “minimum viable product,” is a wonderful concept — and one that gets misinterpreted surprisingly often.

Last year, a startup founder reached out to me to talk about the website for his business. His particular service required customers to hand over very sensitive information.

In other words, using it required a very high level of trust.

The website itself looked like a rough draft — plenty of potential, but not ready for prime time. Typos and design problems were just the beginning.

I suggested going in to correct the typos and fix the design, at least as a starting point. The founder heard me out and then politely said that he was not going to make the fixes, explaining that he was using Lean Startup methodology.

He interpreted this to mean that he was creating a minimum viable product and didn’t want to invest too much of his resources fine-tuning the site until the idea had been validated.

Generally speaking, this is a very sensible approach.

The gap in the logic, however, is that when just using the product requires a high degree of trust, creating that trust isn’t a luxury or an add-on. It IS part of the minimum.

Until today, I never quite had a perfect way to sum this idea up in one concise phrase. With “minimum loveable product,” U.K.-based Spook Studio has done it!

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