How to Put the “Minimum” in MVP

An argument for simplifying even more

Billy Frazier
3 min readApr 1, 2022


People working with phone mockups and paper.
Credit: Pexels

If you work in the tech industry long enough, you inevitably here the term “minimum viable product,” or MVP for short.

Hell, if you’ve seen an episode of Silicon Valley, you’ve probably stumbled across these three words without realizing it.

Like most things in tech or business, they sound way more complicated than they really are.

In his book Lean Startup, Eric Ries defines a minimum viable product as:

“…the version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

In other words, what is the least amount of time and money we can spend in order to learn the most and improve?

This sounds pretty simple, right?

Notice I said “simple” and not “easy.”

Things become much more complicated once the rubber meets the road and you have to convince a client that what they want isn’t absolutely necessary to the first launch of their product.

In some ways, this comes with the territory when you work with technology.

It’s not necessarily your client’s fault they’re asking for the moon and stars. After all, they’re probably used to working with past vendors who have been taught “the customer is always right.”

This age old adage still stands, but the tricky part is convincing your client that they aren’t the customer — their customer is the customer.

Still following?

This fundamental shift is the central idea behind human-centered design.

Gone are the days when product creation was one way. In today’s fast-paced, technologically-driven world, consumers are now also producers. They can (and should) be involved with the creation of the very products they will end up buying and using.

With this shift comes a desperate need for simplicity.

You may think you know what your customer wants, but have you ever asked them? Have you created open lines of…



Billy Frazier

Writer. Designer. Fumbling forward through a creative career while helping others do the same. Subscribe: