Today’s question comes from Gary. What does it mean to build a codeless MVP? Is this something a pre-product startup should consider?
I’ve seen people talk about codeless MVPs on a lot of channels lately, such as ProductHunt, but it’s not a new concept.
A codeless MVP is product that you build that doesn’t force you to write custom code in order to launch it. An example would be setting up a SquareSpace site, using a template, and then a Stripe checkout form. Then, the work on the backend is manual rather than done with code. You aren’t necessarily tricking your customer because you are still providing the advertised service, it’s just not being done by backend code yet.
Imagine I’m the founder of Airbnb and I want to put up a version of my product without building the backend code.
So what would a codeless MVP look like? I would start by putting up a WordPress site without custom code. I would add a theme that’s for rental listings and then whenever someone posts a listing on a form, I publish it to the site. One step further would be setting up a form that asks them to sign up for deals or discounts and then when they sign up I just send them an email with the deals – not automated in any way.
In this case, it’s not the exact final product offering, but I would be connecting with people who want to list their properties and then sending them out to people who want to rent them.
Not every startup can do a codeless MVP and if you can, it may be to a different extent than the example I’ve discussed. I’ve seen very few startups where a codeless MVP wouldn’t work unless what your startup does is intimately tied to the code itself. If you are saying that you will use AI to analyze emails (or something similar) then you can’t really do this withoutI've seen very few startups where a codeless MVP wouldn't work unless what your startup does is intimately tied to the code itself. Click To Tweet
Most B2B startups can use a codeless MVP because they serve to solve a problem for other businesses that is tangible. For example, let’s say you are starting a business where you are helping businesses automate their Instagram posts. What you could do is build a landing page that allows them to signup and have them checkout with Stripe or MoonClerk. Once they checkout, you can contact them and get their Instagram info so you can access their account to start automating their posts.
You can then use that money to validate the idea and then build out the actual product. Tim Ferriss used to use a trick with AdWords and landing pages to test keywords and ideas, which essentially served as a codeless MVP. The landing page wouldn’t charge them for anything but would let them checkout and tell them they will be contacted when the product is ready.
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