You Need to Be Able to Create Your MVP

By Daniel Scocco

A couple of months ago I wrote a post titled Do You Need to be a Programmer to Found a Startup?, where I argued that yes, you do need to know how to code and some other technical stuff to be able to found a tech startup, be it a website, a mobile or a web application.

That being said, the technical skills you need to have are not that hard to develop. In fact I am not saying you need a Computer Science degree (though one wouldn’t hurt), what I am saying is that you need enough technical know-how to be able to create the MVP of your idea, at least.

MVP stands for minimum viable product, and it’s a version of your product/service with the bare minimum of features you need to be able to launch and test it on the market. For instance, the an MVP of Facebook could be a website where people can signup, upload their photos and connect with friends.

Here’s a story that illustrates the points:

Back in 2008 Andrew Mason came up with an idea: to build a website that would offer deals to customers, as long as enough of them would make the purchase. Andrew had a BA in Music, so he wasn’t a hardcore coder. He did have some web design skills, though. That’s why he decided to install WordPress on the website and hack it a bit to display the offers, the first one being a pizza from a nearby store. The first deal was a success, and so was the following ones. Once the concept was proved Andrew hired professional programmers to evolve the project, and it became what we know as Groupon.

The key point is that the MVP will prove your concept. It will prove that your idea might actually work. Once you have that you’ll be in a better position to evaluate how much money you can actually make, and therefore how much money you should invest to get it off the ground. And the money could either be yours or from investors, as once you have an MVP going it will be much easier to find people willing to invest in it.

Bottom line: your MVP could be as simple as Groupon’s first version, which was a hacked WordPress install. It could be a simple PHP application, an HTML page with some JavaScript and so on. But you need to be able to develop it yourself, cause relying on other people to build your MVP is a nightmare. Once you prove the concept then you’ll be able to hire professional coders to take care of the technical part.

On a future post I’ll mention some places and strategies you can use to develop enough technical skills to be able to create your MVP.




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10 Responses to “You Need to Be Able to Create Your MVP”

  • Siegfried

    I dont think you need to be a programmer to do a startup – you NEED programmers, but you can always hire one.
    I think it is better to pay someone to do the job the right way than do it yourself and make it bad because we dont have skills
    Best Regards

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Siegfried, check out the post I link to in the very first paragraph to a better explanation of why hiring programmers right away don’t always work.

    Is it possible? Sure. It’s likely to succeed? I don’t think so. In fact you just need to check the stats: over 80% of the successful tech startups were founded by technical people.

  • Matt Baran

    I think this is something that keeps a lot of people from bringing their ideas to fruition. When I first started I knew nothing about HTML, CSS, etc but slogged along in wordpress and learned little by little. Now I know enough to be dangerous and I am starting to see the results of my hard work 😉

  • Joseph

    I learned coding all by myself and I am a psychologist. So.. everything is possible. Not even the sky is the limit! 🙂

  • Vikas

    I think learning some technical stuff is good investment for blogs’ long term success.

    It is good for the starting people.

  • Ferb

    Technology is also my favorite subject to learn about, it helps you so much and be able to fix or develop so many things. MVP is really interesting but based on skills I have on Tech, I’d need to hire a professional Technology to do it.

  • Ebrar

    Hey daniel 100% Agree with you , you need a start at least .

  • SL Marketer

    Yeah, I agree with you Daniel. One of my client is a Great Copywriter and he was unable to start even his MVP also. He doesn’t know about Technical stuff and spend lots of months to start his first Blog.

    I found him on Fiverr, Also I think investing lower than $50 on Fiverr is not a bad thing, Because he started his website with the help of me.

    Best Wishes Daniel,
    Shyam

  • Lawrencia

    I do agree with you Daniel Scocco as I have learned programming myself. Although I take help of books and some of my friend but now I can manage my site. Sometime few technical problems make me very anxious but it’s make me feel great when I got the solution.

  • Mridula

    Learning new things is always good. When i started my blog I was completely dependent on my programmer but then when I had to make some changes he was not available all the time. So I started to google few things and then now I have basic coding knowledge.

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