Dearly beloved programming community:

We are gathered here today in remembrance of a former titan in the great journey of a startup’s life: the prototype.

That’s right — prototypes are dead. So are MVPs, actually (at least, the kind most people think of).

Today, we recognize their passage into obscurity and celebrate a new, better way to build products that has arisen in their place. 

The prototyping pitfall

Let us take a moment to remember all the value that prototypes and MVPs once gave us.

The purpose of a prototype was to have something to put in front of potential customers to validate a product concept and see if the startup’s business idea was viable. They usually didn’t have any or much real functionality at all — just glorified mockups, if you will.

From there, prototypes typically became MVPs — minimum viable products — rudimentary but functional versions of the product with the bare minimum number of features needed to drive the next round of user research and business insights. Once enough of those insights were collected, the product could be built “for real.”

This has long been the way most startups begin their lives. The problem is, this cycle has become the entrepreneur’s Sisyphean task. 

That’s because prototypes and MVPs are traditionally designed to be thrown away. All that work, flushed down the drain. All that time spent learning how to use the tools, lost forever. 

But…when do you throw it away? How can you bear the heartbreak of putting that beautiful prototype on a shelf to gather dust for eternity? And how many insights are enough before you’re ready to halt everything, evaluate robust, scalable platforms, and toss your MVP in the bin? When will it be “safe” — much less financially viable — for you to stop iterating, stop serving your earliest customers, and divert your resources into a full rebuild? 

Just as Sisyphus pushed that boulder up the hill again and again just for it to roll back down, entrepreneurs get caught in a never ending loop of user testing, tweaking, testing, and tweaking. Before you know it, they have an MVP held together by paper clips and rubber bands and no clear path forward.

Modern entrepreneurs know there’s a better way

When it comes to programming, nobody knows better than the no-code community that the way things have always been done probably isn’t the best way to do them anymore.

Galvanized by new technology that allows you to take a product from concept all the way to full-fledged, scaled enterprise operation without having to rebuild from scratch — aka Bubble — founders everywhere are ditching the idea of a prototype and simply … building their apps.

As Eleanor Jacobs, founder of holistic long-term planning app Familial, put it: “Our developer had named something ‘Familial MVP,’ and I said, ‘It’s not that. It’s Familial V1.’ That’s a really big difference in mindset.”

Hear, hear.

In today’s fast-paced world, every company is a tech company, and nobody has the time — or resources — to waste building something that won’t get used.

But a good entrepreneur also knows that you never launch plan A. Philip Lakin, co-founder and CEO of NoCodeOps recently told us, “I’ve talked countless founders off the path of either hiring a CTO, giving up on the company, or paying $100,000 up front to build their idea, because I’d argue that you don’t even know what your problem is yet. Your job as founder is to find out the cheapest, most effective way possible to find out if people really care.”

Bubble is that fast, efficient, effective way — quite literally buying you time. Just read any of our customer stories for examples of founders who built fully realized products in weeks, not years, and usually with their own two hands. In fact, Bubble apps that accumulate more than 100,000 users hit that number less than five months after they launch.

But testing and iterating doesn’t stop once you “officially” launch, or when you finally decide to “build it for real.” Which is why more and more founders are turning to Bubble to build and evolve and scale their product all the way from prototype to IPO on the same platform.

Plus, for founders who plan to raise funding, having a fully functional product when they approach potential investors or partners gives them a huge edge. Try this out in those pitch meetings: “We have a product concept, we built it in three months, and we already have paying customers.” And then follow that up with: “Oh, and we have a roadmap to build out these key features our users have asked us for in the next six months, in house.”

The ultimate mindset shift is here

Goodbye, prototypes, and thank you for your service. Hello, V1.