I want to help you organize and manage this project. I don’t want to be paid, I just really like the idea of Mugsy, and I want it the idea to become a reality. Please let me know what your thoughts are on this after reading the rest of it. From our discussions so far, it seems your larger goal right now is to get a version of Mugsy seemingly working well enough from your own internal testing, that you feel comfortable shipping a small number of kits to buyers that are sort of like beta testers, in that you trust them to give you good feedback so you can make further improvements as necessary. Does that sound right so far?
Therefore, I created this post as a poor mans version of a project management tool or todo list. This approach seems to have the benefits of being both simple and transparent. The transparency is good in two ways. First, it allows curios backers a view into what is going on the project, even being able to provide comments, ideas, and feedback along the way. Second, this transparency can create some positive accountability. There are two types of stress, distress and ustress. Distress is harmful, but ustress can help you. The most successful people seek out ustress in different forms, including public accountability. Your body knows when it is in danger, and pumps you up with power to help you succeed (ustress). Many people claim in our modern times, this is a bad leftover thing from outdated threats, like when we were often confronted by tigers, lions, and bears, or my! Those people claim the body gets confused by more common concerns mistaken as threats, by producing unhelpful stress. This is totally the wrong way of seeing it! Your body and mind are very intelligent and are trying to help you deal with our modern day environment. The fact that your body and mind are capable of realizing that threats to your happiness, reputation, dreams, and personal standards, are just as important if not more important than immediate physical threats that you rarely face means that your body and mind are accurately seeing the importance of those things, rather than downplaying them. The ustress response can help you even with those types of threats. But it is up to you to see it that way, it is up to you to learn to interpret stress as ustress and not as distress. One way to practice this is to take a cold shower every morning, staying in the cold water for a bout a minute. You can wait for the water to heat up a little before letting it hit you. This way you won’t be jolted by cold water before even being used to the feeling of water on you. Jumping straight into the cold water would certainly be energetic, but it might unload too much energy at once, draining your reserves too quickly. Then as soon as you get used to some slightly warm water coming on you, crank it all the way to cold. Keep deeply breathing to help you through it. As soon as you are about to turn it to cold, get really excited about how much energy you are about to be filled with, energy you can use as you see fit, after you get out of the shower. Then turn it to cold, and make sure to interpret those feelings of the shockingly cold water as tons of energy. Once you get used to doing this, you can do use the same basic idea, interpreting strong reactions as energy and power you can harness, to turn what used to be distress into ustress.
I named this post after an outcome that seems like the one you need to reach next. I’m referring to it as an “interim” outcome because it is merely a means to an end. Yet it is still an outcome rather than just a step, in that it will take many steps to achieve it, yet is an achievement all on its own. You will actually produce this outcome, that is the whole point of this process. It is not just a hope, dream, or goal, it is outcome you will produce. Many people believe in different versions of the idea that anything is possible, and you can accomplish anything you want. Some people wonder how practical that idea is. But in this case, you can produce this outcome. It is not rocket science (although many rocket scientists have done amazing things). It is a product you have already taken most of the way to a successful launch. Mugsy is not about bending the laws of physics, you are not trying to remove gravity at will, or cure cancer. It is just a device to make us some coffee, a really cool one. You’ve got this.
There is a subtle danger with embracing accountability and other forms of ustress to achieve an outcome. While making commitments can be fantastic, you have to make sure only to commit to things that are in your control. With your current plan, you cannot commit to shipping Mugsy by a certain date. Based on the current blockers you recently mentioned on your blog, you can’t control when those get fixed by. All you can control is that you keep trying new and practical approaches to fix them. Each of these is an experiment, which means it may work or fail. You can’t control whether an individual experiment fails or not, you can only control whether you keep trying new ones and learning from each one. Even after you address these 3 issues, how do you know another legitimate one will not pop up?
“MVP” explained (as used in the post title). An MVP is a minimum viable product. When a project is having a hard time getting off the ground and becoming real, shooting for getting an MVP released into the real world is usually your best option. MVP has nothing to do with sacrificing quality. You should have very high standards"" and ship a product of very high quality, to the best of your ability, to the extent this is reasonable and practical. This helps ensure your customers have a good product, something you are proud of. MVP is about deciding which features of the product are necessary in order for it to fill a real need that the interested customers still have, something that is not currently being filled by any other product. So it might involve temporarily not including certain features, at least for the MVP version.
Based on your recent blog post, here are a list of issues you have ran into that you apparently feel currently prevent Mugsy from being the MVP it will become:
- Hopper Mount Issue.
Mugsy’s bean hopper requires a mounting bracket to keep it attached to the grinder. The existing bracket has been failing in certain situations. This causes the hopper to disconnect from the grinder, spilling the beans into the rear of the machine.
- Rear Screen Panel Mount Issue
Mugsy’s has an internal panel that sits behind the screen. It’s purpose is to keep moisture and grounds from getting into the screen related electronics. It is also used to hold the RGB LEDs.
Currently, the enclosure design forces these mounts into the same space as the side panel mounts, pushing them out of the correct position. This then causes the rear screen panel to sit too far back, allowing for material ingress.
In terms of an MVP, you should ask yourself if either of those issues could be ignored for now, if you scaled back the scope of the MVP shipment. If you instructed customers not to put extra beans into the hopper, would that prevent it becoming detached from being a problem? In other words, perhaps for the MVP shipment, it is only intended to hold enough beans to make one cup of coffee. Mugsy would then still be filling a need that no other coffee maker fills. Shipping that kind of Mugsy might lead to feedback that reveals a more important design issue, but you will never get that feedback until you ship the MVPs. However, rather than speculate about which of those issues you might be able to ignore if you scaled back the MVP, I prefer to take a more action oriented approach. So I think a better question is, are either of those issues something you would definitely want to address in any kind of Mugsy MVP? If so, you we have done enough planning for now, as you can just pick one of the critical issues and start working on it. It is okay to procrastinate about other MVP decisions until later.
Are either of the 2 issues you mentioned clearly, obviously, and definitely something that should be fixed before the MVP shipment? This is your judgement call to make.