The famous Dropbox cloud file storage service is one of the most famous cases of this methodology. In fact, Eric Ries has highlighted it on several occasions. But how did they apply the lean startup ? the answer is: with a video . You see, by then cloud-based services hadn’t been popularized yet, and every time Dropbox founder Drew Houston tried to get funding for this brilliant idea or even seek input from future users, they simply rejected it because or not. They understood how it worked or they commented that that market space was already full of the same products that had not made much money.
Drew believed that if he could just make the software work well, then customers would be interested. The problem was that investing time in solving important technical difficulties and developing an entire quality product was a risk , because in the end I did not know if people would buy it and you could lose money that is crucial for a startup. So what he did was make a short 4 minute video where he demonstrated the basic functionality of Dropbox, what people could do with his product .
People really wanted the product because they were going to the website to sign up for the beta version, so even though Dropbox didn’t get any feedback, they knew they had nailed it because people’s actions (subscriptions) proved it. his MVP had worked. The next thing was to improve the video so that every time a person entered your website, they would find a simple explanation of the application and a registration button.
The Airbnb case is quite unique. As you surely know, this is one of the most successful and recognized startups today because it allows people through its website to rent a space in their own house, apartment, sofa bed and even castles. But how can such a company create an MVP and apply the lean methodology ? You might be wondering… Well, in this case, the hypothesis was tested thanks to the founders themselves and, surprisingly, accidentally .
In 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were roommates who were in trouble because they had increased their rent by 25%. It was impossible for them to pay for it, so they took advantage of the fact that there was a designers conference in the city and that all the hotels in the area were practically reserved to rent an extra space that they had in their apartment.
They bought three inflatable mattresses and created a simple website (which they decided to call Airbed & Breakfast) where they offered to rent the extra space in their apartment for a much more affordable price. They got their first three customers, and they paid $ 80 for the inflatable mattresses plus breakfast. In all the time that the conference lasted they obtained 1000 dollars.
Unintentionally, Chesky and Gebbia had executed an MVP (at a very low cost) and realized they had a chance in this market. Of course, later they tried to grow and although there were some stumbles they were improving the product through the user experience (iterative development), which led them to be a multi-million dollar company.
Of the three cases, this is the least popular. However, it has caught our attention as one of the simplest ways to test a product / service.
Food on the Table was a mobile application that allowed people to upload recipes, track deals from nearby grocery stores, plan their weekly meals with these products, and create a shopping list, easing the work this entails for busy families and saving their money. money.
By the time of their MVP, they had not developed any software or website and only had one client who paid them $ 10 a week . However, through it they managed to obtain feedback to improve their business model. This person was recommending them and thus they gradually increased the number of clients. It was then that they decided to invest money to optimize the process and, now, to develop a more automated application.
These first tests with the client allowed Manuel Rosso, its founder, to know if people would actually use the service and pay for it . The startup was so successful that it was acquired in 2014 by the Food Network / Scripps Network.