Contrary to MVPs, where the goal is to get something barely usable out the door and into the market for initial feedback, an MLP takes the opposite approach, treating, among other things, the first-time experience of a new user very seriously.
This is the first time they’ll see your product, the first time they’ll experience who you are and everything you stand for. And if what they experience is bare bones and clunky, that’s how they’re going to remember you.
Instead, they think solely about the core product features, “the value proposition” and worst of all, what their marketing strategy is going to be. How a new user experiences the first 30 seconds using that product is almost an afterthought.
Imagine if that’s the approach Apple took. Imagine if your brand new iPhone came in a worn cardboard box — instead of the pearl white vacuum chamber that feels like you’re being given a prized jewel. Or imagine if, the moment you turned on your brand new MacBook, it was out of battery. Or it couldn’t locate your local WiFi signal and easily connect to the Internet.
As a new user, you would immediately feel frustrated, upset, let down — instead of excited, joyful, or eager to start playing with the product.
When we were building Crashlytics, we discovered that the first-time experience for developer tools for mobile were abysmal. Facebook was the creme de la creme, and theirs was a long, instructional page with endless links that took 20–30 seconds to scroll down. Others had wikis with 72-steps (“Oh, you use a Mac? Click here…” 26 more steps… “Now go back and resume.”). Or even 10-minute long YouTube videos with a guy speaking in monotone voice: “Now.. drag this… here. Then… click… there.”