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Since the last quarter of the 20th century, entrepreneurs have been striving to develop the most efficient and versatile model for startups. They managed to do it with the Lean Startup method described by Eric Ries in 2011. The cornerstone of the Lean Startup method lies in the development of a Minimum Viable Product — MVP. This approach has turned out to be one of the most effective. And if coupled with a flexible programming language, the MVP development can be affordable for startups with different budget sizes. Today, for example, you can easily find a React Native development agency which provides MVP development services.
However, there are people who still doubt the all-purpose nature of this model. They believe that it is not applicable to some areas. Cloud is one such area.
Indeed, there are not many examples of successful cloud MVPs. But we did our research and collected two success stories of cloud startups and their MVPs. But first, let’s decide on what we should call an MVP.
MVP be like
Over the years, there have been ongoing disputes about what can be called an MVP and what cannot. Most people believe that exactly “Minimality” is the primary value of any MVP. From our point of view, the MVP is:
● A product that has the minimum required range of features that bring value to users and solve their problem;
● A product that you can either quickly abandon, or add features to transform into a full-fledged product;
● A product that helps to validate a hypothesis, check a segment for a problem, or check the performance of a solution.
Ideally, an MVP is a solution that is created with the least amount of work but still brings the most value.
Stripe’s story is about two brothers, John and Patrick Collison, who have managed to create a solution to one of the main problems of the Internet. They have done it with a few lines of code.
In 2010, the brothers worked on a common project, which would be called Stripe later. At the time, Patrick was moonlighting other projects, and could not allocate enough time for Stripe. The main task of Stripe was to improve payments on the Internet. The project would make online transactions much easier, and such a solution, if successful, would help both companies and ordinary users.
The brothers managed to test their future product thanks to 7 lines of code, which, in fact, were their cloud MVP. After that, they added a few more lines of code to their website and the issue of online payment was resolved.
However, anything that relates to money requires people to take extra precautions. Having received the approval of their idea from companies such as Facebook, the Collisons later spent 2 years building trust-based relationships with banks and other financial institutions.
Stripe’s competitive edge was in simplicity. Small companies no longer needed finance departments and managers to maintain their financial systems. Stripe made it possible to connect the financial system to the site within a few minutes of the programmer’s work.
Once security and regulatory compliance was achieved, Stripe has become the major solution for online payments.
Dropbox, in its turn, has managed to fully implement the model that we call the Lean Startup.
The story of Dropbox is very similar to that of Stripe. In both cases, it was a brilliant idea that only had to be tested through a working MVP. In 2007, Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi decided to explore the cloud file-storing segment. They found out that most of the services available at the time were extremely inconvenient to work with. They required a large number of add-ons and, in general, performed slowly. They came up with the idea of creating a cloud storage solution, which would get rid of these flaws.
The development of a full-fledged product was extremely costly. The team simply didn’t have time and money for this. Their decision was brilliant. The entrepreneurs created a 2-minute video, where Drew Houston explained the advantages of Dropbox over all existing solutions on the market. At the end of the video, he suggested to follow the link to the landing page and leave an email if there was an interest in such a service. It couldn’t be easier.
The success of Dropbox is also in simplicity. You just download a set-up file, install it, and then a folder appears on your computer. Everything that you put in this folder is automatically synchronized with the cloud storage. Top it all, the access is available from any device, including mobile. Therefore, you get an ingenious solution to an urgent problem.
Was the Dropbox MVP a true MVP? Definitely. Drew and Arash were confident about the existing problem. It remained to be seen whether their solution could solve this problem and be useful. There is nothing more “minimal” than a video. Ultimately, with its help, the team proved that their solution was demanded. The same could have been achieved by developing a prototype or even an early version of the working product. Drew and Arash did it with a video clip.
Therefore, the next time you will be thinking about how to create an MVP, think of Dropbox. Perhaps, a video clip will be enough for you too.
Do these two cases indicate a pattern? Of course not. Launching a startup always involves risk and no one is failure-proof — regardless of whether it is a cloud segment or not. The Lean Startup and MVP give entrepreneurs the opportunity to minimize this risk and test their idea with minimal