MVP: Winds of change in France

September 13, 2011

MVP! MVP! MVP!  In the States you can hear this chant on any given Sunday afternoon at the ballpark, as well as frequently in the open workspace of any given web startup.

The only reaction this three-letter acronym would elicit in France, however, would be ‘Tony Parker’. And even that is limited to a select sub-segment of the general public.

Now, I have a feeling that all this is about to change. Within the span of a week, I’ve heard two separate entrepreneurs boast about their Minimum Viable Product.

The concept of Minimum Viable Product is anathema in France, running counter to almost everything product development here stands for… and I think it’s brillant.

Minimum Viable Product is not merely a beta version or a stripped-down service, it is a methodology and a mantra for product development (I defer to Eric Ries’ comprehensive explanation). And I think that as a guiding principle it has the power to transform tech entrepreneurship in France.

An MVP mindset will give entrepreneurs no choice but to throw out the part of their engineering training that encourages the pursuit of technology sophistication and perfection, forcing them instead to start with their hypothesis of the market need, and ask what is the bare minimum necessary to validate their hypothesis in order to develop a v2.

I’ll be looking forward to hearing more entrepreneurs pitch me their minimum viable products. Perhaps even one day Ecole Polytechnique will institute a course on the methodology like Harvard has done.

I think we’re on the verge of something monumental.



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