Speaking today at a Wired conference in NYC, WarbyParker cofounder Neil Blumenthal prophesied that “you won’t be able to hire talented people over the next 10 years unless you’re a mission-driven company.” I think he’s right. Some entrepreneurs think “mission-driven” means taking an Uber to a bar at 19th & Valencia, but in actuality it’s what binds teams together during both fruitful and challenging times.
Too many founders have sacrificed the WHY in the process of speeding up the WHAT and HOW. The Minimum Viable Product approach is not fundamentally at odds with thoughtfully articulating the longterm vision of the company. In many cases the founders bring this with them to the startup – it’s why they selected this path. Other times though, founders are only coached on mission & vision in the context of selling the big picture to investors. If it’s not in your heart, writing on a slide won’t make it true.
If your Minimum Viable Product is the simplest implementation that will add value for your users, your Minimum Viable Vision is the most succinct version of why your company matters and what you hope to become. A MVV isn’t just for your employees or press or VCs. It’s your product true north too. If you don’t know the destination, then it’s hard to ensure your product isn’t just a collection of parts.