Venture Hacks has a great interview with serial entrepreneur Eric Ries that discusses the value of launching a startup with the “minimum viable product”: basically, the absolute most barebones product you can launch with while still being able to appropriately gauge customer interest, to avoid the common pitfall of spending months developing an idea only to realize that no one cares.

In spite of the fact that parts of the interview sound like it was recorded at a high school basketball game, Eric provides some great insight, even suggesting at one point to “launch” an idea with just marketing materials and an ad campaign, and no backing product. Based on the clickthrough/conversion rate when customers move to subscribe or purchase your product or service, you can reasonably gauge how the idea might do.

There may be an argument to be made about potentially losing those individuals as sales, but you can ask their email, make up an excuse, or explain that things aren’t ready yet and thus limit your costs to just a simple ad campaign and marketing/informational site. If you’re presenting the idea as you will once it’s built, and no one is clicking through, it’s a good indication that you’re going to want to tweak the idea or that you’re headed down the wrong path.

The interview is split into two parts, and I’ve embedded the first part below.

What is the minimum viable product? (Part 1) | Venture Hacks
Opening Board Meetings (Part 2)

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