πŸ“» β€” The Risk of Building Larger, Multi-Feature MVPs and Flywheel-Focused Products

Reading Time: ~ 3 min.

Good morning yeniverse!

All I know folks… is that I don’t make anything off of this newsletter; not like this type of money, that’s for sure. Holeeeeee sheeeeeet. But, I love writing them day after day after day. It’s kind of my fetish.

A few links from around the webs:

  1. Community in 60 seconds… or an hour. Your own philosophy first.
  2. Advice for VC associate. Everyone, no code! WSB. Fanfolk. Comm over code.
  3. Diem. Culture cultivates. Real innovation. LOL. Questbook. DevRel content.
  4. Mergers. Principles, not popularity. Pricing strategies. Marketing too.
  5. Everything is white. A better version. Gumroad’s IPO. Pinterest. Gardens.
  6. Crossovers. Illusions. Pomp / Cramer. Howl. Among Us community.
  7. Ricky Desktop. Too much power. Technical backgrounds. Zoom, eww.
  8. Startup credits. Landing page teardowns. Inflation. Community flywheel.
  9. First 1k customers. Pretty! Last mover. Sample Slack CoC. Belonging.
  10. Money, sports. Avatar maker. Asian Americans, the film. Party!

To infinity & community,

β€” john


I keep going back to this long-form article and pulling out pieces to wrestle to the ground β€” there are so many different, individual topics to explore and Eugene has done a good job of surfacing them for his readers.

I finally made it to the very end but I wanted to share this blurb on “markets” and “technology” and “flywheels”:

Markets in the internet and technology age are conducive to winner-take-all effects thanks to preferential attachment. This means that if you are first to stumble upon some flywheel in your business, the returns are even greater and accumulate more quickly than they would’ve in any other era in history.

Building a flywheel, though, often requires connecting a series of features at once. When I advise various companies, big and small, I often run into objections to my recommendations because of the popularity of agile or other incremental development philosophies. We end up at loggerheads on the V of MVP (minimum viable product), V having always been contextually determined.

If a flywheel requires three or four or even more things to connect in your app, it takes more work to ship all of them at once, and that feels like a riskier expenditure of your team’s time. But, I’d counter: 1) often, testing a flywheel by definition means you have to build multiple features that work together 2) the returns of achieving a flywheel are often so high as to be worth the risk and 3) if you don’t achieve any flywheels you are, as investor updates are so fond of saying, default dead.

via American Idle

I won’t lie β€” reading this was very encouraging because I agree that the definition of MVP is difficult to lock-in and pin-down. If you look back at all of the MVPs for some of my major projects (that all pivoted at least once!) none of them were in similar shape, scale, or size.

Even for YEN β€” I shared a fun update in yesterday’s issue β€” I’ve intentionally combined a number of “things” that make the entire “thing” work; elements and features that we’ve discovered (through data and our own collective intuition and gut-instinct) that our customers (i.e. creators, early-stage founders) really want.

They want things like speed, simple monetization tools, and immediate results that actually matter (like making money via their audience and community fast). This doesn’t feel or even look like an MVP in most ways but it is to us and our special band of early yenizen testers (πŸ‘‹πŸ» β€” THANK YOU!).

It’s been worth the risk, but, we’re also running out of money (as all venture funded companies do). This is our last attempt at making the project work (i.e. profitable) and I’m excited and anxiously-nervous to finalize things in the next few months.

But, this is what we’ve trained for.


Uh huh, cool:

Equity-based financing for individuals is about to go mainstream and will be particularly valuable for creators and influencers. There are already examples of this model, such as the income insurance pools that some minor-league baseball players rely on and the income share agreements that some students use. But to ensure that these models are equitable and safe, we need to build some guardrails.

via Sam Lessin

There’s a lot more of this coming, this year even. Be ready. It’s time that folks bet on YOU.

/end

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