I grew up with the startup ecosystem in Bangalore, and the early 2010’s were all about the lean startup method. To take that to a bit more of an extreme, I used to follow “The Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris to the teeth, so automating stuff and experimenting very quickly have become a part of my DNA.

It’s time to unlearn some of that. There are two reasons for it,

  1. It hasn’t worked so well in the past for me - user retention in most of the products I’ve launched have been a problem
  2. I’ve always bootstrapped by design, but this time I have a bigger team and a budget to work with, which allows me to create more delightful experiences via collaboration


But the balance between scrappiness and perfection is still a very hard to question to answer ? Because the trade off here is time, and time is of the essence.

While going through the notes of a friends Stanford PM course, I came across a potential answer to this question. My eyes literally lit up because it seemed like the answer I was searching for all along.

Minimum Lovable Product (MLP) was a concept around building for customer delight, not just customer validation. The point of this wasn't to just put out something there and see what sticks, it was to make a concerted effort to build something that sticks.

It didn’t have to be just viable, but lovable.

It also struck a chord with the struggles I’ve had with the MVP model in the past, the biggest one being that its very hard as a designer to accept the fact that you’re making trade off’s in UX because you want to be scrappy and quick.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like, design is how it works - Steve Jobs

My timelines for iterations and launches in the past have always been less than two weeks to a month - this was most of the times a landing page with some basic version of the end product itself. At max it has been a few months with more complex products like Ezether.

Short timelines obviously had their benefits, but gave you very biased information sometimes. Plus post launch of product you realise a lot of the assumptions don’t fly.

The philosophy is a simple upgrade to the MVP model. Being scrappy isn’t enough on the internet anymore. Customers don’t want or have to deal with bad design, that's your problem , not theirs.

Your customers will stick around around if you add value and make them happy. They’ll leave if you don’t.

Now to be fair, the people who came up with MVP, never defined it as something scrappy. The point was to keep the build process iterative and keep customer feedback at the core of the build process.

Starting from something less full fledged and improving it over time is always a better use of time, than what status quo was back in the day, which was sort of building products end to end over years with every feature possible.

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