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Ugly, ugly, MVPs.

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

In 2018 I started a company focused on 3D printing carbon fiber road racing bicycles.

My goal was to produce the first 3D-printed bike to win a stage of the Tour de France.

How long does it take to traditionally engineer a competitive racing bike? Years. How long does it take to build a product capable of winning the TDF? Decades.

Did that stop me? No.

I had a secret: rapid prototyping!

The prototypes weren’t pretty, but they provided enough data to validate geometries with printed lugs and PVC pipes. Check out an example in the attached photo.

When we talk about validating a hypothesis with an Epic and MVP via #SAFe, this is what we mean. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It should be the least amount of effort and investment needed to prove a hypothesis valid or invalid.

– How do you feel about MVPs? – What is your organization’s appetite for rapid prototyping? – Do you have the psychological safety and self-confidence to risk being wrong?

As for  Valor Cycles, let’s just say that my early learnings invalidated my hypothesis. I learned a lot and had the self-confidence to say “I don’t have the time or capital to make this work.”

I’m cool with that, and now have a story to share. Cheers!


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