Minimum viable product – soft launching Evilpak

[ update March 7 ]

Holy 1-week pivots, Batman! has been absorbed into the Evil Empire, #13 to be precise. Long live the emperor!

[ original article follows ]

Something you hear over and over again from smart start-up artists and VCs is: begin with the minimum viable product. It means: don’t wait until you have everything all figured out … boil your business idea down to the absolute bone, and start.

So that’s what I’m doing.

I’m starting a web content business: Evilpak.

The genesis of the site was this picture. As a kid I had always been kinda ticked off to open my package of chips and find it only 2/3 full. As an adult I was seriously PO’d to find that the monstrous plastic bottle that had been formed out of oil messily extracted from some well in the middle east, shipped to the vitamin factory, partially filled with pills, and then shipped to the store (burning gas and taking up space all the way) was holding so few vitamin pills.

I took that photo in 2008, four years ago. Today, I’m starting the site that I thought of then. And hopefully, with many of you, we’ll be exposing wasteful packaging of products. That’s what I’m doing with that mini environmental disaster: the unfilled bottle of pills.

Minimum viable product
When you go to that site and look at it, you’ll be staring at the definition of minimum viable product. Basically, you see an ugly blog, with three posts.


Because the minimum viable product, for me, is photos of wasteful packaging.

There’s so much more to come

  • some kind of cool logo
  • a site look & feel that doesn’t suck
  • social sharing features (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)
  • invitation to participate and functionality to upload and share your own photos or videos
  • email newsletter for info/updates
  • voting on each post for degree of evil (from almost angelic to the just a slice shy of satanic)
  • metadata with each post to track the company with the wasteful packaging processes, link to their home page, and to their contact page
  • gamification process for top sharers
  • adding ads of some kind
  • badges for awesome, non-evil companies who package minimally and sustainably
  • ethically produced products for people who care (both physical and virtual): badges, t-shirts, mugs, “you suck” reply cards for companies with horrible packaging … you name it

So there’s a lot of work to do
But the biggest danger is not shipping. Waiting until … until the logo is done or the site is awesome or the sky turns purple or the ground dissolved.

As Steve says, great artists ship.

And then they iterate.