You (probably) don’t need a MVP. You need a list.

Over the past few years, it’s become fashionable to recommend that startups build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in order to reduce risk and “be” a Lean Startup.

Every mentor says it. Every accelerator teaches it. Every book recommends it.

So now we’ve ended up with an incredible number of “tech” startups that think predictable sales machines can just be bolted on at any time.

But consider this: some of the most successful companies originally started as email lists before any code was ever written. See AngelList, Product Hunt and Mint as just a few examples.

What if we encouraged more startups to see themselves as media companies that might make a product in the future?

What if we encouraged more startups to see themselves as email marketing companies that happen to have a product?

Whether you’re a founder, investor or community leader, my guess is that you’re interested in creating more sustainable (and, hopefully, valuable) businesses.

If that’s true, then a startup’s ability to acquire attention is just as important — if not more important — than their ability to build a product.

Also published on Medium.