The problem with MVP

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The long tail of users dissatisfied with “MVP” will grow, and lead to unbundling of both products and business models.

 

 

The on-demand economy has spoiled us. We press a button, and an Uber shows up. Pizza (ordered over an Apple Watch, no less) needs to be delivered within 15 minutes and arrive hot – or it’s free.

Is that bad? Not really. This is the reason technology exists – to make our lives better, faster, easier, cheaper. Efficiency might as well be a synonym for Technology.

The problem, however, is that innovation is still gated by a select few. Don’t like the search options in Youtube? Tough. Want to sort by number of ratings in Amazon, while maintaining your filters? Don’t hold your breath.

Having worked in software product management for a while now, I am well aware of the “prioritization” decisions that are made on a daily basis. The conversation boils down to, “well, only 0.0034% of our users have expressed an interest in feature X, so we are backlogging it”. The product quickly derails into pandering towards the least common denominator. This is the state of affairs for most products today.

The problem is that, collectively, there is a huge long tail of underserved users that the gatekeepers of innovation are not catering to. Also, there are hundreds of developers out there, who would love to launch a better frontend for Youtube, but of course, that won’t play nice with Google. Giving up access to content, user data, will mean severely hurting current business models.

Think about it…there are existing users, that could be served by existing developers, yet they are unable to. Does that sound efficient? Remember Technology = Efficiency?

So, that’s the problem with MVP. And we won’t be able to solve it, until we have another similar acronym take over – MVC. Yes, a true Model-View-Controller for the Internet. Free access to data (Model), independent UX (View), and freely available software/apps (Controller). Connecting anyone who can innovate, with anyone who needs said innovation.

That’s when magic could happen. And it’s trending that way. That long tail of underserved users is getting thicker, and existing business models will come under heavy pressure. That day isn’t far, when you could access the innovation you want, without having to wait for the next “app update”.

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