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illustration of a decadent palace in a desert wasteland

"MVP" is dead!
Long live "FPC".

Most modern MVPs are neither minimal nor viable. Some are not even products.

Imprecise terms (e.g. “minimum”) create conflicting visions. Was Juicero an MVP? Google Glass? OUYA?

The MVP philosophy plagues us with broken products made for imaginary customers.

Talented (yet misguided) teams developed everything in the Museum of Failure. For example, consider mobile phones. Amazon made a phone that nobody wanted. Microsoft made a phone that nobody wanted. Twitter made a phone that nobody wanted.

Platonic products rarely work. We bemoan those overdesigned apps that slowly accrue features that nobody wants at the expense of the few features that people need. They yearn for Craigslist and HN, but instead receive Facebook and Reddit.

MVPs are products. FPCs are customers. Products aren’t people.

To make a customer happy, go make a customer happy.

Sit down with a literal physical person and convince them to give you money for something. Usually this means either (1) solving problems or (2) building things that solve problems.

Problems are easy to find, but difficult to understand. Assumptions and biases occlude systems’ true dynamics. Designers frequently miss the true sources of friction. Engineers often misunderstand friction and relocate it elsewhere.

Learn to listen to people and systems. Be slow to prescribe antidotes. Hone your curiosity.

Assumptions create hypothetical people. Curiosity guides you to real people. Real people have real cash. Real cash is more sustainable than hypothetical cash. It’s no surprise that hype is fabricated from the hypothetical.

To earn your First Paying Customer, go help somebody. Help more people. Keep helping people, and those people may pay you to continue helping them.