The Objective Blog

Keep up with what we're thinking, reading, and doing.

MVP is a Relative Term

April 27th, 2018 - by Brett Derricott - Salt Lake City, Utah

We talk to a lot of potential clients who have heard or read about the concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Thanks to the lean startup methodology, starting your new venture with an MVP is no longer a new, innovative approach; it has become the norm. In some ways that’s a good thing and in some ways it’s problematic.

First, the Good

Entrepreneurs are usually visionary people who dream in big, expansive ways. The lean startup movement has done wonders in countering the natural tendency of entrepreneurs to overthink and overbuild the first version of a new software product. Rather than spend all the money building what the entrepreneur believes is the right product, the lean startup methodology says to build only the minimum product that is necessary to prove viability. Entrepreneurs are now being taught to attempt smaller, more reasonable iterations of their product and I say that’s a good thing.

Now, the Problem

MVP is a relative term. A product’s viability is directly determined by the maturity of the market into which that product is entering. A product that is defining a new market can be viable at a much earlier point in time than a product entering a more mature market where healthy competition already exists.

Here’s an example to help illustrate:

One of our own products, a robust PTO tracking system, is called Built for Teams. When we launched our MVP version of the product years ago, the market didn’t really have any products dedicated to PTO tracking. There were some HRIS products that had a basic PTO tracking module, and there were some time tracking products that could record days off, but there was a lot of opportunity to define a new niche in the market.

Because of this open niche, we were able to launch Built for Teams with a fairly basic PTO tracking feature set. Our MVP quickly attracted customers who were willing to put up with the “minimum” state of our product because the few things we did were so valuable to them. In solving a few real problems, these early customers were happy to accept that our product didn’t yet do everything.

Fast-forward to the present and the market is quite different. Quite a few competitors have sprung up and, like any maturing market, we’re now in a race to do more and be better. To enter this market now, a new competitor has to build an MVP much more complex than we built for our MVP.

Your MVP

As you consider your own MVP, be sure to study your market and make sure you have a good read on what it truly takes to be viable. If you’re charting new territory, your MVP might succeed with just one feature and a poorly-designed UI. If you’re entering a competitive market, your MVP either needs to have a very unique value proposition or needs to be more complete in order to provide a compelling alternative to the established players.

Continue reading: I recently wrote about the product-market fit that an MVP sets out to accomplish.

User Experience – The Whole Picture

September 17th, 2014 - by Brett Derricott - Salt Lake City, Utah

At Agency Fusion we design and develop digital products like Tweak CMS and Built for Teams, and we also let companies hire us who want to leverage our skills and experience to create and launch their own products. To create the best possible product, we focus heavily on designing the ideal user experience. The graphics we create and the overall “look and feel” are an essential part of creating a great user experience, but our definition of the complete user experience involves more than just the pixels the user sees on the screen.

Maybe an example will help illustrate what I mean and get you thinking about how you can improve your users’ experience.

I’m a list maker, so I consider a good to-do app essential. I’ve tried a lot of to-do apps over the years and one of the best apps I’ve found so far is Wunderlist. I love that they have native apps for both Mac and iPhone, as well as a browser-based web app. Their cross-platform syncing is absolutely fantastic; events are synced in near real-time. There are a lot of other things I like about Wunderlist, but earlier this year I decided to switched to, in large part because I liked’s user interface better.’s UI was aesthetically more attractive to me, and there were a few features that saved me time and better matched the to-do paradigms under which I operate.

After a few months of using, I’ve switched back to Wunderlist in spite of preferring’s user interface. Why? Because the rest of the user experience was so sub-par. An attractive and intuitive user interface got me to switch, but it wasn’t enough to make me endure’s sub-par customer support, buggy software, and seeming indifference to quality.

User interface design (both in terms of aesthetic appeal and ease of use) is a critical component of a great user experience, but make sure you spend equal time thinking more broadly about your product’s total user experience. Great design alone won’t make your product loved and shared.

New HTML5 Blog

July 2nd, 2010 - by Objective - Salt Lake City, Utah

Our clients are asking a lot of questions about HTML5 so we decided to put together a simple blog where we can centralize information related to HTML5.

If Steve Jobs has you all hyped-up on HTML5 and you decide you ought to know exactly what it is, check out our HTML5 blog: What is HTML5? Be sure to click the RSS link in the footer to subscribe if you want to be notified of updates.

What is HTML5

iPhones, Netbooks, and Websites

April 8th, 2009 - by Brett Derricott - Salt Lake City, Utah

If you design websites, build websites, or own a website, you might want to take note: iPhone users are surfing the web with a 480×320 screen resolution. The popular Blackberry 8830 has 320×240. And netbook users are surfing the web with resolutions as small as 800×480.

Read the rest of this entry »

Flash Gets SEO Friendly

August 5th, 2008 - by Brett Derricott - Salt Lake City, Utah

I’ve been wanting to blog this for nearly a month now but haven’t had time. This is big news. Adobe is now providing major search engines with an optimized version of the Flash player technology. Using this new technology, Google and Yahoo! can now read and index the text in .swf files.

Animations and other graphical elements will still be ignored, but text and hyperlinks will be indexed and spidered.

So, the long-running argument that sites cannot perform well in search engines when using Flash isn’t quite as strong now. Google claims to already be using this new technology and Yahoo! is planning to implement it soon.

The press release has basic information but I’m sure there will be more information released in the near future.