With all of the buzzwords in the tech startup community, one of the top phrases I hear, day in and day out, is MVP: Minimum Viable Product.
Although I do believe in the concept, the term itself has gotten so popular that people are quick to use it — without genuinely understanding what it is, or what its purpose is.
With no fault to Eric Ries – who very clearly explained the idea of MVP — people are quick to dump a less than half-baked product in the name of putting out an “MVP.” Then they look bewildered when they don’t get proper support or traction.
Within the startup world, there are conflicted views on the topic; Seth Godin isn’t a fan of many software startups. Then there’s Reid Hoffman’s #6 Rule, which states that you should “launch early enough that you are embarrassed by your first product release.”
When I started my first company, I was 21 years old and still in college. I had absolutely no money.
If I did have any money, it instantly got spent on beer. (Didn’t I just say I was a 21-year-old college student?)
Fast forward three short years, and I now run one of the top five fitness services on the Internet. I’ve got all the money I need, and I spend my time either working on innovating new products, or traveling and experiencing everything the world has to offer. I never got VC or Angel funding, and I never got a giant cash infusion from an investor, a bank loan or anyone else, in any capacity.
So how did I get here?
Lovesocial came to market just as Twitter was opening its virtual doors and Facebook was beginning to pick up steam outside of colleges and universities. Since then, much has changed. You could say that we’ve not only been sitting front row center — we’ve also been on stage, engaging in the social show that’s since drawn in more than one-seventh of the world’s population.
Although the mediums for social media may change, this paradigm shift in the way brands, organizations and international communities connect isn’t going anywhere. Not this year, and not in the next five, either.
Below is an infographic we created visualizing some of the biggest trends and observations we walked away with in 2012 — and those believe will come to fruition throughout 2013. Notable takeaways include the long-anticipated shift from desktop computers to mobile devices, consumers’ desire to engage with more “humanized” brands, and smarter, more thoughtful design being a core building block of products we will see succeed in market.
At the height of the 2008 economic crisis, I started my company with a six-month runway to cover my basic expenses. I designed and printed business cards myself with my name and title, new email and domain name, and my logo on the front, plus a little blurb about what we do on the back.
They arrived in mail a week later. I put them in my wallet and started handed them out to people I met, whether they could be a potential client or not. I had 2,000 cards to give.
Then my six-month runway ended. I wasn’t profitable, even though I was working 80-100 hours per week networking, calling, emailing, blogging, etc. and I was already halfway through the box of cards. Over a year into my business, I realized that my business cards weren’t bringing me business.
QUESTION: WHAT’S ONE UNUSUAL SKILL EMPLOYEES NEED TO GET PROMOTED FASTER AT A STARTUP OR SMALL BIZ?
Hear from 12 CEO’s
1. SELECTIVE BLINDERS
“The ability to focus and execute is essential in a startup business, and the employees who can ignore bright, shiny objects and accomplish their objectives are golden. It’s a balancing act, surely, but the essential and well-executed project is more valuable than a dozen could-have-been-great and abandoned projects.”
– Kelly Azevedo | Founder, She’s Got Systems
2. PROFESSIONAL FRIENDLINESS
“Many people, especially Millennials, want to work with their friends. Knowing how to share or take a joke and balancing openness with professionalism are both important in making the work environment comfortable and sustainable.”
– Lisa Nicole Bell | Founder/CEO, Inspired Life Media Group
Online education is blowing up. We have everything from higher-level classes with platforms like Coursera and 2u(formerly 2tor), to mid-level education like Lynda,TreeHouse, Udemy and Skillshare, all the way to basic how to’s from platforms like SnapGuide, Instructables, and the millions of videos and guides already on the Web.
In short, it’s clear that the consumer is becoming more comfortable with the concept of learning online.
But while all of these platforms do many things really well, what about skills that require a physical, hands-on experience? As adults, many of us want to learn how to cook, how to build, how to paint, how to fix things … hands-on skills that would improve our lives forever. But sometimes, just watching a video isn’t enough.
A few years back, I wasn’t stoked about my position as a financial analyst, and I knew I wanted to run my own business. The problem was, I had no idea what I wanted that business to look like.
I could go one of two routes. I could take one of my crazy ideas and go the startup path, try and chase down funding, spend 80 hours a week to found a company, and take years off my life while trying to make it happen.
Or I could build a lifestyle business, where I was the only employee and made just enough to support myself while having more freedom to do the things I really wanted to.
I took off to Thailand and decided to give the latter a shot. Three years later, I’m absolutely convinced that for the majority of people with entrepreneurial aspirations, you’re better off starting a lifestyle business than pursuing a startup. Here’s why: