The fastest and cheapest way to validate startup ideas: Smokescreen MVPs

The fastest and cheapest way to validate startup ideas: Smokescreen MVPs

What if I say you that there is a way to validate your startup idea within a week, without writing a single line of code and without spending more than $50 ( or even $0 ). Well yes, there is and it is probably one of the best ways to validate your startup ideas. I am talking about smokescreen MVPs ( MVP stands for minimum viable product )
Now let's get straight into what smokescreen MVPs are? what are they awesome? And how do you use them to validate your startup ideas?

What are smokescreen MVPs

No, I am not the guy who introduced this term or the first one to invent this either. But I have become widely known on Twitter for using smokescreen MVPs. We launched the initial idea as well as the believers deal for Basch.io using this very technique.
I think this technique was originally brought into use by Dropbox. Drew Houston made a simple video explaining what dropbox was and then launched it. Their Beta waiting list went from 5k people to 75k people overnight. remember they didn't have a product, it was just a video.
And that is what exactly a smokescreen MVP is. An MVP that is non-functional but still conveys what it is capable of. It could be anything, a video ( most effective ), a picture, a simple landing page.
 
Dropbox video
Dropbox video
 
The only goal is to launch that video and make people join our waitlist. And we did nothing similar at Basch. When we launched, we wanted to see if this product had any demand.
I already failed once at building @VizardLab by focusing way too much on the product and not on customers. ( I spent 5 months just developing the product without even single feedback or customer) This time we wanted to:
  • Fail often
  • Fail fast
  • and iterate faster!
We figured the tech. Made the logo. Made the website. Made the video. and Launch!!
24th March 2021: Damn!!!
the launch was amazing! 3k+ Views 150+ signups 10+ mails 100+ Twitter Notifications and a lot of love from everyone!

Why are smokescreen MVPs awesome?

  • Because you can validate your startup Idea in days and not months!
  • Because there is no cost involved! ( or very little )
  • You do not need to hire a programmer or write even a line of code if you can code yourself!

A red flag you should be aware of

After we built and launched the product, the waiting list jumped to 200 quickly and we asked whether people were ready to pay for it. But most of them were hesitant. They signed up because they thought it was cool, not something g they would pay for.
Signups are not validation. The only validation is people who are ready to pay you.
This time we did a minor pivot to the older model and launched the believers deal: A smokescreen MVP but with real money involved ( Pay now, get the product later )
We acquired 30 Users, $1500, without even delivering the final product, all in a smokescreen MVP! And all within 15 hours of launch!
We kept an irresistible deal for early believers of Basch. $49 for lifetime access to Basch and opened it only for 30 people.
and that's what we did
And besides that:
  • We went viral, 50k tweet impressions!
  • All 30 deals sold out in 15 hours of launch!
  • We got 5 VC offers on that day itself!
Have a look at the launch video: