Conan's Newsletter: No. 3
A metaphor for MVP. The e-commerce surge and the software IPOs. What's more, the fun from Tayor Swift.
I hope you’ve had a great week! Here are the recommendations for this week:
Making sense of MVP (Minimum Viable Product) - and why I prefer Earliest Testable/Usable/Lovable. This great essay from Henrik Kniberg explains minimum viable product (MVP), an important concept in lean development. An MVP is a product that is released to collect customers' feedback as early as possible for product iteration. Because the main purpose of an MVP is to learn customers' feedback rather than to build the final product, it needs to be minimum yet COMPLETE. The figure above is a metaphor for the idea: if your goal is to build a sedan, your MVP should be a skateboard, which helps collect customer's feedback on transportation tools, instead of a perfect tire. From the early adopters who try the skateboard, you may learn that customers want to enjoy fresh air while moving. As a result, you could build a convertible car that fits customers' needs better than the original design.
This essay from Benedict Evans gives concrete data about the surge of e-commerce during the pandemic in the UK and the US -- The UK e-commerce penetration went from 20% to over 30% in two months, and the US from 17% to 22%. Prior to the pandemic, e-commerce penetration in the two counties has been increasing at a quite steady pace. However, the pandemic lockdown has pulled forward a huge amount of future adoption within a short period. It would be interesting to see how much of those adoptions would stick to.
As the e-commerce boom continues, Amazon itself has become one of the largest shipping carriers in the world and shipped 415 million packages in July alone. Besides, other US shipping carriers also saw a surge in the volume. UPS saw volume grow 26% in July compared with the average monthly growth of 23% in the April to June period. FedEx volume rose 22% compared with 19% average growth in the first three full months of the coronavirus pandemic.
Many software companies are lining up for IPOs as the capital market is booming. One particular interesting thing is that the percentage of enterprise software companies is super high in this round of IPOs. In the past decades, the enterprise and consumer software industries in the US have diverged into two directions. Most of the consumer businesses like Facebook and Google build walled gardens, making it very difficult for new players to enter the market. In contrast, enterprise software companies are embracing specialization and eagerly integrating with other enterprise vendors. This makes it much easier for new enterprise startups to reach IPO stages. Besides, this review of high-growth SaaS IPOs in 2019 would give you an idea of the enterprise companies that went public in 2019.
Taylor Swift as B2B software...a thread. A hilarious tweet that shows how the Taylor Swift and Software Company CEOs have similar tastes of colors.
Other interesting facts: