Minimum MVP: Build your startup in 24 hours.
A guide for product-obsessed developers to build a minimum viable startup in days, not weeks
When I believed I was Mark Zuckerberg in 2017, I spent a year building a startup that got 0 users.
20+ startups later and countless months spent on useless features, I can confidently say this: We overthink startups.
Here’s how to launch in weeks, not months.
Estimated reading time: 3 min 48 sec
The hard truth
Let’s say you’re getting started and just launched your startup on Product Hunt. 1,000 visitors. Pretty cool! 900 will read your headline, 500 will scroll past the first section, 50 will sign up, and 5 will pay to use your app.
That is a 0.5% conversion rate, which is optimistic for a first startup. Spending 3 days on a password recovery form wasn’t probably worth your time…
Most of your efforts have 0 financial outcome—that’s entrepreneurship. Spending months on a startup that will get 5 users and $100 in revenue is a recipe for burnout (I was there in 2021). Shipping minimal MVP in weeks is an alternative for mental well-being and financial success.
Every startup has a 24-hour version
Airbnb is a spreadsheet
Instagram is a Google Drive
McDonald’s is a pop-up store
I’m not saying you should launch a scrappy product in a day (the product-obsessed developer inside of you will resist anyway, I am the same).
But there’s a version of your startup that can be published within 24 hours. What does it look like?
Start from that baseline and only add the bare minimum to get your minimal MVP in days.
What’s enough for a minimal MVP?
A headline, a buy button, and 1 feature.
Your headline is the most important. It’s like the thumbnail of a YouTube video: people will decide to invest their precious time on your site based on that sentence. I wrote about how to make memorable headlines.
You can only validate an idea if people pay for it. A waitlist isn’t enough. Your minimal MVP should have a buy button.
Finally, the feature should solve the most painful customer’s problem. If that feature requires smaller features, it’s OK. But don’t overthink it.
What you should ditch:
Anything that’s invisible to the customer: Code testing, git branches, new frameworks
Anything that doesn’t add direct value to the customer: Forgotten password, dark mode, a professional logo
Any secondary features.
Shipping startups fast isn’t about working 12 hours a day. It’s about removing noise. Ship minimalist. Be comfortable being imperfect.