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Minimum Viable? Maybe It’s Minimum Learnable or Saleable Instead

I’ve written a few articles about Minimum Viable Products (MVP), and after deliberating with various entrepreneurs about what they believe is their MVPs, I wanted to do more research about the concept.

I found an article by Vishal Chandra called “Understanding Minimum Viable Product : MLP vs MVP vs MSP” referencing not just an MVP but two other Minimums: Minimum Learnable Product (MLP) and Minimum Saleable Product (MSP).

Eric Ries, author of the Lean Startup, defines a minimum viable product as the initial step to begin the learning process as quickly as possible – paramount to the central idea of the ‘build-measure-learn’ feedback loop.

Vishal distinguishes what an MVP is by defining the two other types:
  • Minimum Learnable Product – the minimum product needed to learn what will need to be built for the MVP. These can include designs, articles/ blog posts and the conversations that flow from them, surveys, etc.
  • Minimum Saleable Product – the minimum product that motivates customers to pay for the product. In this case, Vishal cites an MSP for B2B customers may include additional features like security, integrations to other tools, etc.
I definitely see how MLPs and MSPs fit in the startup cycle (product, marketing, sales, etc.). However, I’d argue that MVPs can be saleable, too, but not necessarily SCALEABLE.

For example, a new clothing subscription service may manually curate subscription boxes while charging customers. That enables the startup to learn the process, pricing, etc. But as the company grows, they may then build a robust “fitting” engine that takes earlier learned lessons into an algorithm. There was no MSP per se as much as the MVP evolved as they should as the product reaches product-market fit.

What are your thoughts on distinguishing other minimum viable/ learnable/ saleable products? What are other minimum _____ products, and how would they work?

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