What is a Minimum Viable Launch?

You have an idea for a product — an ebook, a course, a game, a SaaS app — that you're really excited about.

You're so excited, you're willing to dedicate the next few months of your life to building it.

You can't wait to get started! 🚀

But instead of sitting down to write/record/code right away — like you did last time — you think about what you really want out of this experience.

  • More than a few hundred people checking it out
  • More than a couple of people purchasing it
  • A lot of feedback from the community to keep you motivated and focused while you develop it

What do you do that you didn't do last time?

  • You post a tweet responding to someone else who once worked on a similar idea, asking them if they think your idea is good
  • You join a small community of like-minded creators and ask them what they think of your plans
  • You send an email to friends and family telling them what you're thinking about working on and why

These are all examples of Minimum Viable Launches.

  1. You put an idea out there
  2. You see what people think
  3. Then you get to work

If you get a good response, you know you're onto something. You can do a slightly bigger launch the next time around —

  • A Twitter poll
  • A full blog post
  • A small landing page

...maybe even a quick prototype! 👾...💎

That's the whole idea behind a Minimum Viable Launch: you don't start with the finished product. You start with the minimum amount you need to test if an idea is any good — and then build on top of that.

So, what do you need to do a minimum viable launch?

  • A headline
  • An image or video
  • A quick description of why it's exciting

That's it!

You can launch with a Twitter post or a blog post or in a quick message in a Discord community with just these three things.

What will this approach get you?

  • You'll get feedback early in a small community before launching to bigger communities, guaranteeing it'll be improved before getting wider exposure
  • You'll know if your headline is good before you build an entire homepage or article around it
  • You won't launch to no one on your big launch day! 🎉

A real-world example

3 weeks ago, I sent an email to my friends about an idea I had for simple animation app. One of them commented about how cool it was.

I used the next few days to throw together a rough prototype and posted about it on Twitter (and a small Slack community I'm a part of).

I got lots of bug reports and feature requests: it didn't work on mobile, it wasn't clear how to use it, and it would be cool if it could do more (like resetting the animation).

So, I improved it and posted about it in those communities again — again, getting positive feedback.

So I decided it was ready... I then posted it to Hacker News, where it stayed on the front page all day and a total of 12,000 tried it out! 🎉😍

Animatize's public traffic stats from Plausible

The advantages of this step-by-step approach to launching:

  • By sending the idea to friends first, I got to see the idea through their eyes and understand why they thought it was cool, which gave me more confidence while building out the prototype
  • By posting it to Twitter and other communities, among friends and fellow creatives, I got to fix a bunch of early issues before releasing it to a wider audience

I think it only did so well on Hacker News because I took small steps... I took the time to make sure it worked well and made sense to people in these smaller communities first.

And the whole process only took one week — it was a cycle of constant feedback and improvements that felt magical to be a part of.


Build your new product idea — building is fun!

But make sure people know about your idea ahead of its big launch by releasing smaller mini-launches, like tweets, blog posts, and prototypes.

That way, you'll have an audience who can give you feedback to make it the best product it can be — before the big launch day!