Approaching a Minimum Viable Product - The OtherNum Prototype

I was just reading the 37signals "Signal vs. Noise" blog and they had a link to a great post by Kent Beck about the concept of the Minimum Viable Product.

The idea is really interesting because it addresses the one limited resource that you can't really do anything about: time.

I was thinking about that a lot when I first created the prototype of OtherNum. I was working on it all by myself and I have a day job and 3 kids so I didn't want to develop any features just based on my "nerd lust". I knew that the core of the service was: A phone number with a simple menu system and voicemail dropboxes. I had 10,000 ideas for features to bolt on to it. It was crazy.

So I took a step back. I built a simple prototype.

Now I've brought on a co-founder, Walter Duncan, to help with the work. We let a local Atlanta startup have a free account they could play with. We're hoping to do that with a couple more startups and then start getting to what Kent calls "Potential Fatal Answers". It goes along with the "Fail Fast, Fail Often" mantra.

So we're asking hard questions. We're seeking answers, even PFAs. If you'd like to try our service out and send us feedback we would really appreciate it!

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