My professor once introduced me to a concept he called FRUST – an acronym for frustration. Its premise is that products should be built solving a problem or pain for the customer. So is the minimum valuable product (MVP) a systematic, disruptive approach to product marketing. Google, Twitter and Spotify apparently get it. Say no more.
At its shortest, Eric Ries coined the minimum viable product:
.. the minimum viable product is that product which has just those features (and no more) that allows you to ship a product that resonates with early adopters; some of whom will pay you money or give you feedback.
In this Venture Hacks interview with Eric Ries, it is put even more simple:
The minimum viable product (MVP) is often an ad on Google. Or a PowerPoint slide. Or a dialog box. Or a landing page. You can often build it in a day or a week.
More recently, voices of the Customer Development/Lean Startup community have made an excellent effort in elaborating the idea, e.g. Andrew Chen; Minimum Desirable Product and Ash Maurya; How I built my Minimum Viable Product.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the minimum viable product would deserve its own least common multiple. Adapting the Featuritis Curve, here is a conceptualization as a basis of discussion.
The MVP Curve questions whether resonance with Early Adopters is relative to the number of features or amount of complexity offered. The minimum viable product does not necessarily mean that the product should be dead simple. Rather, the resonance with customers should peak when the product offering is designed to solve their core problems or jobs-to-be-done, as suggested by Clay Christensen. In accordance with the Customer Development model, this implies not only listening to the customer, but getting out of the building and carefully studying the customer.
I leave to you the question whether the minimum viable product can be conceptualized. In different use cases, what would be the pitch of the curve? Further, the curve might be tested by applying metrics to it: how to measure resonance with early adopters over features, and are there alternative variables?