The Mariachi MVP

By | June 20, 2016

“We’re taking a 4-piece professional mariachi band around the City of London on 27 July 2016 to celebrate small wins that teams have.”

Imagine the following:

Scenario A

  • Your team has a small success (maybe a release of a significant feature. Or they hit a milestone in terms of subscribers. Maybe someone announces their engagement or pregnancy)
  • Someone goes for a high-five but is left hanging. Another person puts out their hand for a shake. A lone clapper starts and quickly stops. Someone else gives their nearest colleague a pat on the back
  • Everyone looks a little embarrassed and they all drift off back to their desks feeling they could have celebrated that small win better

Scenario B

  • Your team has a small success (maybe a release of a significant feature. Or they hit a milestone in terms of subscribers. Maybe someone announces their engagement or pregnancy)
  • Someone pulls out their phone, hits the ‘order’ button
  • A few minutes later, there’s a knock at the door. Someone in the team opens it
  • In walks a 4-piece mariachi band that plays a rousing rendition of “The Mexican Hat Dance
  • The mariachi band leaves (maybe after a few Instagram pics with the team) and the team gets back to work

mariachi-jalisco

It’s a bonkers concept and, as a business idea, it has more holes than a block of Emmental. But dial-a-mariachi (as it became known) is the example I’ve been using to explain how the concept of Minimum Viable Product could be used to prove that such a business idea is/is not a good one.

I’ve ranted previously about how concept of MVP is widely misused and have often been seen fighting to get people to use it correctly. The definition of MVP is:

Minimum Viable Product is a process of validating ideas to prove that something has potential. It is drawing something on the back of a napkin and getting feedback. Or putting up a website with a call-to-action that you can measure interest. Or selling an inferior version of the product to see if people have a need for your product, etc. Unfortunately, there is a trend of people using it to mean the minimum version of a product that a company believes is releasable to the public, which is not what it means.

So how could you validate dial-a-mariachi using MVP?

  1. You might tell people about it down the pub or in training sessions
  2. If people show enough interest, you might then build an inexpensive website explaining the concept and measuring interest by inviting people to click an ‘order’ button (which doesn’t actually order anything) or sign up to a mailing list
  3. If there is enough demand, then you might hire a band for a day and take them around a densely populated business district (such as City of London) – you might not charge customers for this day so that you don’t have to worry about a time-consuming payment concept
  4. If you manage to supply the band to x teams in an hour, you might then repeat the process but charge customers and/or run it as a regular weekly event and/or try it in different locations (e.g. Canary Wharf)
  5. You might then go for funding on something like Kickstarter (offering investors a visit from the band)

The problem is, stages 1 and 2 have passed successfully and people seem to love the idea! That wasn’t meant to happen; it was meant to fail early on. I’ve raised a raft of problems with the idea, but I’ve also found solutions to each one.

Therefore, on 27 July 2016, I will be visiting a number of teams that expressed an interest (i.e. signed up to our mailing list) for a quick burst of musical joy from four members of a professional mariachi band. On this occasion, our visit will be free of charge. Who knows what will happen next.

There. That’s what an MVP is.

 

Are you too late to subscribe to the mailing list for a possible visit from dial-a-mariachi? You are too late for our first visit (click here to see what happened on the day we went around London), but feel free to subscribe to dial-a-mariachi.com for information on future adventures.

mariachi-512x512

The original drawing from a prototype acts as an inexpensive logo.

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