When showing a product to a potential customer, the best outcome is those fantastic words, “How do I pay for this”. Those words were said at my first pitch and it’s all because of ditching MVP.

Instead of MVP, my approach is to make a “pretty good slice”. Build out a single feature (vertical slice) and polish it to about 75%, then try and sell that feature. The feature you pick has to be the most important feature that you think users will pay for. And it needs to stand on its own, everything else is manual.

So what does a “pretty good slice” have in it?

  • It is designed, not to the highest level of polish but it feels close to finished and is pleasing to the eye.
  • An onboarding so that users can quickly understand what the feature is about.
  • A blank slate that gives the user a sense of what will be there once content is added.
  • Any graphs, info, etc that make the feature complete.
  • Copywriting that has been reviewed but might not be perfect.

What shouldn’t it have?

  • Animation (unless they are at the core of what you are trying to make)
  • Links to other features

The default mindset for MVP is “the worst version of all features”. I know this is incorrect but it’s what happens. Even with the correct version an MVP includes a larger set of features, e.g.

  • Users
  • Passwords
  • Emails
  • Accounts
  • Lots of domain specific features

But there isn’t any proof that anyone would buy the core single feature. And because all of the features are implemented without any love, potential customers take a lot more work to get over the line.

When showing my first customer and they were able to use the feature, see the value and from there I had a sale. A lot of “things that don’t scale” were happening in the background but I have proof that a customer will buy this key feature and they didn’t get scared off by a sad experience.