Building a MVP - The Box and Ball Problem

  • Every product has a USP, the unique selling proposition. The one feature that sets you apart from the competition.

    Imagine, you want to start an eCommerce store and your USP is one day delivery. Consider this USP to be the ball and all other things like the actual store, payment integration, design etc. to be the box.

    What do you build first?

    Most people try to build the box first and then put in the ball later.

    They are doing it wrong.

    With your MVP what you want is to validate is your USP. You want to know that are people willing to buy what is unique to your business?, competitors HAVE everything else.

    The appropriate approach here would be to first build the ball and then build the box around it.

    Taking the same example, first work on your logistics to make sure the one day delivery service works as expected. The rest of the stuff can be made later, you can just copy that from your competitors if you want :smiling_imp:

    What are your views on the topic?

  • I agree. I'm inspired by Peter Thiel where in his excellent book Zero to One, he says a company should aim to become the last one to monopolize an industry or as a corollary: competition is for losers.

    This is echoed in 'How Google Works' where Eric says that unless you have a unique technical insight into a hard problem, don't do a startup.

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