What Does Derrick Rose Have to Do With the Startup Scene

What Does Derrick Rose Have to Do With the Startup Scene

In my everyday life, from the eight hours I spend in the office, to the ones I spend at home doing more work and hanging out with my kids, I very often came across an abbreviation whose meaning I used to take for granted: MVP.

At home, MVP refers to “Most Valuable Player.” My son is a big fan of basketball, and he spends a lot of time watching NBA, playing NBA games online, and reading all sorts of information to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of each player. As his mom, I have to spend significant mom-son time listening to these endless stories and explanations, watching videos and all sorts of analysis of scores, rebounds and assists (not that any of it actually sticks). My husband, of course, does that too, but he is actually an apt conversation partner to my son, while I only nod and ask questions. Most of the time, the same question gets repeated: “Which team does he play for?” However, in these frequent Q&A sessions, I only once asked what an MVP was. This is the one thing in this whole sports discussion that came easy to me: the Most Valuable Player is not necessarily the number one scorer; it’s the one who is the best performer in the game.

In a letter that serves as guidance for MVP voters, it states that, although there is no clear-cut definition of what “most valuable” means, it is up to the individual voter to decide who was the most valuable player to his team in each league. The part of the story I liked the most is that until 1980, the MVP in NBA was selected by a vote cast by fellow NBA players. In baseball, it was the baseball journalists who did the chosing. The guidance letter states that all players are eligible, regardless of their team, and what should be considered includes “offense, defense, number of games played, character, disposition, loyalty and effort.”

Most Valuable For Your Business

The most important part is that the MVP is not a title that is nowadays limited to sports, or to the scores in US and Canada, or to games (I also learned in these mom-son conversations that Call of Duty 4 uses the same expression). MVP is now a part of our everyday life – and it is a role that can often be found in business. Now, think about one person in your team who is the MVP. It’s not the one who works the most, or the one who knows everything, or the person that helps everybody, or the one who is the boss. It’s the one who is most valuable to the business. You can also apply it to one of the products your company offers. Which is the one to which you owe the best publicity? Or the one that is perceived to be the best among your customers? Which promotional effort gives you the most value? That’s what your business should be focusing on, and that is the basis from which it should grow.

The other part of business, as in life, is the secondary meaning of MVP – the Minimum Viable Product. This is startup language. According to Eric Ries, the MVP of a startup is “a strategy used for fast and quantitative market testing of a product or product feature.” In his book “The Lean Startup,” which serves as a primer for all the startups in the world, Eric explains:

A core component of the Lean Startup methodology is the build-measure-learn feedback loop. The first step is figuring out the problem that needs to be solved and then developing a minimum viable product (MVP) to begin the process of learning as quickly as possible. Once the MVP is established, a startup can work on tuning the engine. This will involve measurement and learning and must include actionable metrics that can demonstrate cause and effect question.

This is an approach that many people recognize in building their own businesses. We all tend to “lean in” and do stuff, make small steps, and then turn around and measure what have we done and if we are going in that direction or steering a little bit left or a little bit right. Then when we see that we are on the right track, we speed up. Realizing that you have made a mistake and turning back to do something completely different doesn’t hurt as much if you’ve only made a few steps anyway, unlike doing miles and miles in one direction without ever looking back, and then realizing that you were on the wrong path all along.

It’s All About the Focus

MVP is mostly used for web-based startups, but you can also apply the term to many aspects of a business. It also refers to carrying out market analysis. In other words, you do your research and look for data about how people perceive your product. Then you adjust, or test smaller campaigns and see how people respond before launching a bigger one. Big companies can do this internally; other companies do it within their communities, through early adopters or social media.

So what does MVP stand for in the end, or what do Most Valuable Player and Minimum Viable Product have in common? It’s the focus – focusing on important parts, when it comes to both business and life. It’s creating value by listening to people around you; it’s about adapting without losing focus. It’s about creating an optimal path for optimal achievement. Minimum Viable product is a path towards the Most Valuable Player. MVP simply stands for excellence.

We, at home, are big fans of Derrick Rose (this includes wearing a T-shirt with his name on it). We are all very sad when he is hurt or sick. And we loooove the antagonism with LeBron James. Because we don’t like LeBron James. Nobody explained why, but that’s not important. Even though I can vote online for the MVP, I don’t have a say in my house when it comes to sport. I just listen and nod. 🙂


Natasa Djukanovic

Natasa Djukanovic is Chief Marketing Officer of .ME Registry. Her interests include domain industry development, Internet governance, and virtual brand-building. Natasa is an occasional speaker at domain conferences and she was featured in Financial Times Business Diary.

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