Stuck Between Wow and Minimum Viable Product

Starting a business? Reading much?

Do enough research on developing a new business or product and you may find yourself paralyzed by competing ideologies.

In Michael Hyatt’s book ‘Platform’, Part One is entitled ‘Start with Wow’.

Now go read ‘The Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries and you’ll learn about the minimum viable product.

And these are not the only business building ideologies that are out there.

And now… your head explodes…

How do you reconcile the seemingly diametrically opposed views of product development and building your startup?

I believe it’s possible…

I loved Platform and I got a lot out of it.

I loved The Lean Startup and got a lot out of it as well.

Creating Wow

Wow is subjective. One person’s ‘wow’ will inevitably be another person’s ‘meh’.

Example: I want to provide the small business owners that are the primary market segment that Beyond 50 Percent is designed a ‘wow’ experience. That same design and content is not likely to create value for someone comfortable in their career working for a large company.

The distinction is the target customer and that distinction matters. It matters a lot.

The first time I read Platform I really tried to think how the Wow would be for everyone. The people’s right to Wow is going to begin with me. Viva la Wow!


There aren’t too many products that are universally Wow. Yeah… Legos, bananas, Apple’s Magic Mouse… After that is a long list of second stringers and products that I love that other people might not.

While it’s hard to argue with the Lego… I do know someone who claims to dislike bananas and I hear, that even now, there are still people who don’t use Macs.

Yep, even these self evident Wow truths can’t survive scrutiny – and that’s the point of course.

It’s all about Wow for your target customer. If you understand what matters to the people you’re trying to solve problems for, you can focus all your Wow Energy on them.

Staying Lean

Now then, one of the tenants of the Lean Movement is the introduction of the minimum viable product followed by iterative cycles of feedback and revision. In short, getting to market with the minimum product development investment with something that your target customer will pay money for then leveraging the customer experience to improve and evolve the product.

That doesn’t sound very Wow… does it?

Small businesses and startups have a long standing relationship with cash poverty. Understanding that, it’s easy appreciate spending as little as you can on product development before getting it out into the marketplace generating cash and preventing years developing a product no one wants. Waste not want not after all.

Is Lean the Magneto to Wow’s Xavier or vice versa?


Well, if your head is still exploded from earlier – I don’t blame you. Let’s see if we can’t pick up the pieces and reconcile these seeming philosophical differences.

The Pieces (at least the big ones):

  1. Wow is NOT a universal constant.
  2. Minimum Viable Product
  3. Your Target Customer Profile
  4. Investment Cash Available
  5. Available Time to Market
  6. Available Working Hours
  7. Expertise
  8. Vision for the Company

Putting all of this together is key to the success of product development, startups and small businesses. We are often constrained by cash, personal expertise and the amount of time we can possibly allocate to a project.

This means that by really identifying and understanding your target customer profile and what problems you want to solve for them, you can identify the part of your Minimum Product that must be Wow to make it Viable in a way that fits the brand you are trying to build (vision).

Combine the laser focus of your problem solving with the Wow you can create using the resources available. This generates the viability of your minimum viable product for your target customer. They’re really the only ones you need to worry about.

Will you have to make compromises?


Leave a comment and share some ways that you’ve ensured your minimum viable product had the Wow needed to be viable!

Break time’s over… it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work!

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Find out what’s inside Beyond 50 Percent.


Platform by Michael Hyatt

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries


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