“Move fast and break things”
The famous mantra of Mark Zuckerberg when he was building Facebook.
The rationale goes that it is better to get a Minimum Viable Product out there even if it breaks, rather than being stuck perfecting a product that hasn’t been validated by the market. Although a wise statement, the environment that exists for emerging startups is not the same as it was when Facebook was founded in the early 2000s.
The modern digital environment is highly competitive and the barrier to entry continues to decrease with the advent of low code, managed cloud-computing services and the globalisation of engineering talent. Both consumers and regulators now have substantially higher expectations of digital businesses and those who prematurely release products run the risk of undermining their efforts.
When building a web product Bubble.io is a great place to start. As I said in my previous post Bubble’s unique offering has the potential to outperform the traditional code-heavy approach to building early-stage digital startups. The platform allows you to build quickly but gives you the flexibility to engineer complex products while offering many industry-standard features out-of-the-box. In my opinion, Bubble is the platform for people looking to build a Minimum Remarkable Product rather than simply a Minimum Viable Product.
Building the user experience and site aesthetics as a small startup is frustrating. WordPress themes lack the bespoke functionality you require yet you don’t have the resources to code and maintain a custom site like well-funded companies.
Bubble.io has positioned itself excellently in this regard. Bubble allows you to start projects with high-quality templates built on its platform. Although you can change WordPress themes Bubble templates are more like starting points that are much easier to modify because they conform to the common design principles of building on a common platform. This allows you to modify both the frontend and backend with ease meaning you can build a beautiful site with custom functionality in days rather than months.
Bubble’s approach to allowing users to build their backend is unique and distinguishes it from competitors. It provides a simple interface to build and manage data models, ‘Data types’ in Bubble terminology, which can be easily accessed in the frontends via the drag-and-drop designer.
Anyone who has ever had to design and manage a relational database with an object-relation mapping to expose data to the frontend via APIs knows that this is a non-trivial technical task that can consume aeons of time and send you down technical rabbit holes.
Bubble allows users to build complicated logic via ‘workflows’ which are like a drag-and-drop approach to coding. ‘Workflows’ are powerful and allow your site to execute actions in response to events. Bubble has done an excellent job of providing complex actions out-of-the-box such as sending an email or authenticating a user which allows you to build complicated sites incredibly quickly.
Another great feature of Bubble is that it offers users the option to one-click install plugins onto their site. Some plugins are built by Bubble but the majority are built by other “Bubblers” which has led to a thriving ecosystem of useful plugins. Using plugins prevents you from dealing with unnecessary complexity and can result in creating a highly functional MVP. A great example is the Bubble built Stripe plugin for payments; it completely removes the complexity and security considerations of integrating Stripe but allows you to leverage the different Stripe APIs via Bubble’s ‘workflows’.
If you are trying to build a bespoke technical project sometimes Bubble’s current workflows and plugins won’t meet your requirements. Unlike other website builders, this isn’t a limitation as Bubble allows you to call and expose custom APIs. It means that you can integrate your site with other services or export more technically complex processes to a custom tech stack effectively creating a hybrid low-code/cloud-computing application. This feature opens a world of possibilities and I think will lead to a new generation of ultra-agile technical startups.
When building an MVP you should be thinking about how you can delegate responsibilities and avoid locking yourself into ongoing technical maintenance. Bubble as a low code tool is friendly to non-technical people and with an adequate runbook, simple customer support tasks can be handed off to an ops team without requiring the input of your development team.
Additionally, Bubble has a marketplace of agencies that can be hired to build sites. For startups with limited engineering capabilities, these agencies can be leveraged to build and augment your MVP. This can accelerate your growth and allow your engineering team to focus on high-value tasks.
Bubble.io is one of the most competitive website builders on the market if you are looking to build a Minimum Viable Product for a digital startup. What differentiates Bubble is it allows startups to focus on value-creating engineering, building technology that is at the core of their business, instead of wasting resources on rebuilding features that are universal to all businesses. In the right hands, Bubble.io is an incredibly powerful tool and I am looking forward to seeing the next generation of ultra-agile digital startups built on Bubble.