Yesterday I posted a Dropbox link to the Liberty mini-comic. You can check out the comic, and a couple of fun extras, here.
This is what a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) should look like. Everything the audience needs to know / needs to have to interact with the product is here, even if the product isn’t perfected yet.
There’s some controversy over this in the tech world.
Some people have taken an MVP to mean, basically, releasing shit and “seeing what happens”. Products are released but not functional. They’re filled with bugs or gaps that may or may not be fixed later. This is a good way to piss off potential customers.
Others will tell you that an MVP should be the completed product, but in its most basic form. So for example an app that does everything it’s going to do, and does it well, but leaves a lot of room for upgrades based on customer feedback.
The customer knows the thing isn’t finished, but it’s sort of irrelevant because they can do whatever it is they need to do in a quick and enjoyable way.
See the difference?
There may be a bug or two in the latter example, but it’s nothing serious or nothing that’ll keep people from enjoying themselves while using the product. Which, by the way, is fucking excellent, because if they KNOW the product isn’t finished, and they enjoy using what you have, they’ll be willing to give you feedback and suggestions on how to improve it or what to do next.
In other words, they won’t be pissed by you wasting their time with something that doesn’t work or solve the problem they need solved.
In my case, Liberty is the latter. The comic is not perfect. I could have used another page to fill in some action panels. And my own style of not having caption boxes or thought bubbles could be confusing to some.
For example, Lady Claw’s mood seems to change wildly, but if you look at her closely, you’ll realize by her actions that she behaves the way a cat would. (Page 6 is the best example of this. Look at her body language and reaction to when she’s told they’re going to take a dive into the Chicago River.)
Despite those issues, the comic as a product tells you everything a new reader would want to know in order to enjoy it and want to see more. So, it has a bug or two, but nothing that keeps someone from enjoying the product, understanding it, and (hopefully) liking it.
As far as Liberty goes, I’m not quite sure what to do next with it.
It sounds like the thing to do is to do one full issue. That’s 20 pages, which averages out to $4,000 assuming $200 per page for the Artist with me forgoing any payment. Which if you’re a founder, you absolutely should not be paying yourself anything until you see that the thing you’re working on is viable as a product and has a business model. Then there’s the cost to print about 1,000 of them and, on top of that, going to conventions to give them away.
Some people go to cons and sell their books, but I don’t think that’s a smart choice.
For starters, the odds are terrible you’ll make any money back. For another, people go to those things with a limited amount of cash. So you’re asking them to part with that cash already set aside for something else in order to buy an entirely new product. That’s a really difficult sales proposition.
Instead, the goal really shouldn’t be to make the money back (yet), it should be to build the audience and get as much info as you can from them. The same way you would by releasing the functional product out on the Web or on mobile.
Thinking about it from an MVP point of view, once you’ve tweaked things from that initial customer interaction, you then want as many people as possible to get the damn thing so you can: 1) Collect their info (like emails) and 2) Collect feedback.
This way when you have the actual product you want to sell them, they’re invested in it (because their feedback helped shape things) and you have a way to reach them in order to sell them the actual product.) THEN you make your money back.
Until I figure things out, enjoy what’s done and let me know what you think by sending me an email. It’s on the contact page.