Happy New Year! On the last day of 2012, Redfin published The Maximum, Beautiful Product, a TechCrunch post questioning whether the lean startup’s relentlessly incremental approach to shipping the minimum viable product is likely to lead to big technology breakthroughs:
If Steve Jobs had shipped the minimum viable iPhone, might we have concluded that people preferred a keyboard? If Tesla had manufactured the minimum viable car, would anyone still be driving it?
Maybe the reason we don’t have big ideas is because our entire approach to building them is sometimes so frugal with time, money, and belief. Lean startup techniques have revolutionized how we build software, but the lean startup has also turned the a startup’s only initial asset – the conviction that an idea will work — into a villain rather than the hero. This is why we so often see startups pivot rather than persevere.
It also talks about “the beast at the back of your mind always yelling ‘FASTER, FASTER,’ so loud that the little poet in there hardly has a moment to think.” It was the second time we appeared on TechCrunch in December, the first being an interview about Redfin Collections, our new feature for sharing pretty pictures of homes for sale:
Despite coming out late in the day on New Year’s Eve, the post about product design was shared by more than a thousand people, especially designers and engineers, which surprised me since I almost didn’t publish it at all.
A combination of factors, including just being busy with work, the way I feel about the Internet since being on the wrong side of a mob, and the broadening of this blog’s audience, got me a little shy about blogging.
Thanks to Michael Arrington for giving me a little push.