Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a term that has lost its meaning due to misuse. Originally, MVP stood for a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future development. Yet, this concept has been distorted to justify launching half-baked products. MVPs are not about cutting corners or reducing quality. They are about identifying the smallest possible thing that can be done to test a hypothesis.

A more appropriate term might be ‘Risks and Assumptions Test’ (RAT). This term focuses on the core purpose of an MVP, which is to test the biggest risks and assumptions in a business model. RATs can be anything from a landing page to a conversation, or even just a single button on a website.

The key difference between MVPs and RATs is that an MVP implies a product, while a RAT does not. This distinction is critical, as the goal is not to build a product, but to learn about customers. Misunderstanding this point can lead to wasted time, effort, and resources. It’s crucial to remember that the goal is to learn quickly and cheaply, not to build a product.

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