The whole notion of a minimum viable product stems from the fact that you don’t want to work away on ‘the next big thing’ only to launch it and find out that you’re the only one that thinks it’s worth any money. But there is some danger in getting something bare bones out.
Sometimes, though, a Minimal Viable Product turns into a Mediocre Value Proposition. A company might introduce a product in the marketplace. A few customers find it interesting (you can always find a few customers). Results fall short of expectations, but the company says, “Well, it’s just a minimal viable product for learning.” The company makes a few tweaks, scales up spending . . . and falls flat on its face.
It’s certainly a hard balance to work out, when is the product good enough to let it start earning money? No matter what decision you make it’s likely that someone will think you launched too early because you don’t have feature X.
My plan is to bring some beta testers in early, beta testers that are my possible clients. In theory I can get them using it and get some feedback on the product before I’m charging for it. I’m also very lucky to have a local ruby meetup to show off the product to during development and get decent feedback on it without fear of someone stealing the idea.