Reading this article about building minimum viable products reminded me a lot of what we learned in our Entrepreneurship and Value Creation class. The general idea is that when starting a venture, you should not attempt to build your entire view of what your business is going to do at first. You should start with just the barebones set of features. This way, if you realize your idea should pivot a bit, you're not too far down the wrong path, and on top of that building an entire business's product or service takes a lot of time and/or money.

One of the more interesting types of MVPs in this article is the "Wizard of Oz," which Zappos used. Their founder did everything by hand (e.g. photography, shipping, returns) but to the users it felt automatic. This can quickly become unmanageable, but it's better to gain traction with a lot of manual processes than to never gain traction at all.

Another good point the article brought up was that GoFundMe and such can be used as ways of getting initial funding. The interesting thing about this is that (I think?) a startup could get its first funding from online crowds, who pay for a copy of the product/service, rather than paying to get a percentage of the company's value, as traditional investors do. This means that if founders successfully crowdsourced all of their funding, once their company grew to a valuable size, they would have all the equity to themselves, rather than being contractually required to give a lot of their stock to investors.

by Vladimir Blagojevic