• Facetrom

Part four (last): Completing MVP- Villa Savoye / Le Corbusier

In this last part of the series, I will analyze how Villa Savoye / Le Corbusier signifies the embodiment of the MVP concept (Minimum viable product) enabling comprehensive fundraising for the development of the venture.

Villa Savoye built in 1928 is considered one of the greatest modern architectural works of all time. I will explain in short why this is so, and in fact, how it proves the feasibility of MPV and how it portrays the full meaning of the MVP.

Le Corbusier was one of the modern architecture fathers. He fiddled with complex architectural issues in an innovative way, and he developed unique architectural elements.

He considered the structure to be a functional tool/product, which is meant to serve. Every detail within it should be useful and allow the users to maximize their needs.

In saying “A house is a machine for living in” = you can understand how Le Corbusier felt towards structural design.

This concept is especially true for a technological product that you are building. The product must show value using Key Performance Indicators(KPI) like a machine. A machine that does what is needed is a machine that can be trusted and as a result can raise significant money for the company.

The product must be very functional, especially at the MVP state where you check the feasibility with minimum features and code lines. A part that does not serve the MVP should not exist in the first phase.

In order to support the concept of the machine Le Corbusier defined 5 necessary criteria to enable the structure to be a functional tool. This structure should be as flexible as possible because its use and need varies from person to person, just as your product should adapt to the users’ needs.

The MVP should fit the specific users you have defined (The color works/ Luis Barragán market fit). The product should solve a clear and valuable user problem already in the MVP stage.

The 5 criteria are:

  1. Elevating the building above ground level allowing the garden to be incorporated in the space beneath.

You can compare this section to the need for creating a user experience on approaching the product itself, in the “towards the structure” stage. In architecture it is called “Temenus” (in the classical period, Greek temples were built in natural complexes known as “Temenus”). In terms of building the product, the user should feel drawn to the product from the beginning, even before use. This can be done by creating a uniquely special quality brand which causes the user to feel part of the product itself (like the wonderful Lemonade brand).

At Facetrom, from the very first days, even before the product was ready we began creating the brand and innovation. We held presentations in many places as key speakers and talked to global companies from Brazil, India, Mexico and others in order to make us known and to establish relationships from the initial concept stage.

In order to make an unforgettable impression everywhere we went, I needed to grow a beard to appear extraordinary☺.

It probably worked, because I was remembered as “the guy with the beard from the cool science fiction company.” One day I received an email from Wharton school, one of the most regarded business faculties in the US, saying they would like to do research on Facetrom on the prospect of acquiring the company (all of this was before the product launch).

2. A functional roof is serving as a garden and terrace, reclaiming for nature the land occupied by the building.

Villa Savoye is a building whose mean structure based on orthogonal and geometric lines as opposed to a more naturalistic approach.

Both the ground floor and first floor are divided into 16 units.

As nature changes and transforms the environment in every second and minute, it is roof of the Villa Savoye that breaks the symmetry and strict design, allowing freedom and creativity in the frame.

The product that you create has to be characterized and orthogonal as possible.

The development stages must be well defined and it must be clear what are the stages that the user has to experience.

However, room must be left for diverging from orthogonality.

A complete product must provide space to move outside of the frame, enabling individual opinions expression within the vision of the company. This freedom is essential for the future development of the company and its creativity.

We at Facetrom allowed external developers to use our technology for entertainment apps along with Fintech & Insurtech verticals that we focus on as they are considered very complex and heavily regulated.

3. A free devoid floor plan, which allows walls to be placed freely designed.

The freer the framework you create, the easier it is for you to change and build the product in the future, without complicated infrastructure intervention.

It is preferable in the initial stage to put in place to generate in first place a generic system that could conform to many changes that you might need to implement. It is best to minimize the specifically fitted features as much as possible (a mistake we made initially by adjusting the system to a very particular server), since the adjustment and precision of the product requires time and a large number of users in order to fully understand and fathom the proper look of the “house”.

Le Corbusier designed a ramp and stairs to the second floor. These two features might seem unnecessary in a small space; however, they allow much mobility freedom between the floors, both for people in different circumstances.

Having greater freedom and possibilities in the product makes it far more interesting and available for a wide number of users. This creates data and information on the one hand, and high user traction proving the products attractiveness.

4. Long horizontal windows for illumination and ventilation.

Do not produce a sealed system (see Part Two — Guggenheim Museum Bilbao). The users would want to share a good product with their friends, they would want to respond, and in fact, the users are the movement of your sun, that will define if the product is effective (see Part Three — The Color Work / Luis Barragán). The users will make you develop the shades, and with their help, you will be able to raise significant funds and develop a necessary product.

5. Freely-designed façades functioning merely as a skin for the wall and windows, and unconstrained by load-bearing considerations.

The framework of your product, whether it is the UI or UX, will change with time, as well as the onboarding process. Therefore the system must be solid enough to support the changes of future development. Develop an engineering system that will allow changes without “breaking walls”. By allowing freedom you will be able to find the most suitable system, with a higher value relative to others.

Just like in any other design and implementation, there were several features that did not succeed in the current design, but these were details that could be fixed easily, without massive structural change.

If you have in place a properly design system although they will be uncovered “bags” by users who report them, this is a positive occurrence because the user will feel part of the improvement of the product. This will create true user engagement.

The user won’t want to abandon the product or give it negative feedback to other potential users.

Design problems:

  • Each autumn and winter, the roof suffered leakage through the roof.

In the initial stage processing and system response time will not be stable limiting the scale and your ability to provide the solutions.

Wix is a wonderful company that achieved an amazing worth of $6B, however, when the user creates a website using Wix, they have to spend a lot of time waiting while moving from one page to another within the website. The measure times are long both objectively and subjectively — in light of the response times available today, which the user expects. The waiting times are Wix’s waiting time is 15 seconds and even more…

Despite this problem, the Wix users are quite forgiving, thanks to the understanding that the overall product is good and meets their needs. The waiting times are also negligible, since after the initial design of the website, the product does not require much engagement. If the user needed to use the tools of website creation and management on a daily basis, change or update content etc. the forgiveness would probably be harmed, and a lot of users would move to another company that offers a quick website creation with short response times to page loading, or even hire programmers to deal with the task.

  • Villa Savoye was planned to be white, but the leaks made stains on the white Facades.

Your competitors will (mostly) slander you, and will publicly expose your less successful features because they need to stand out just like you do.

If the substance of your product is good and innovative, then what competitors say about you won’t really affect your reputation. Of course, it is not nice to receive negative feedback, especially when it is true, but if your product is good despite its defects — it would be forgivable knowing that with time, the “stained white” will be recolored and fixed.

  • The Facades of Villa Savoye showed cracks due to improper material design.

It is reasonable to assume that many of the initial codes written in your company won’t be useful after the first stage, and most of them will be shelved. It is fine and even very common. The old codes will crack your foundations and will sometimes create scale and performance issues, that would require paying a lot of money (for servers, for example), which will harm your budget. To deal with this kind of problem, keep around 10% of each department’s budget (see Villa Rotanda) aside, for “Unexpected” purposes in order to repair the problems while not affecting the overall budget of the company.

  • The pillars in the first floor were designed to bear the weight but in practice, they only exist only visually (to extend the view of pillars from the exterior view of the pillars).

If so, maybe they are not needed at all; their absence will make the space more dynamic and functional.

You might think that some features are the foundations of your product, sometimes even just because of the impression they make — just as many companies like to pride themselves on using AI.

Building AI requires a lot of money and effort, from foundations to great computation power. If the product is successful by using Machine learning or basic algorithmic and, then it will be good and effective as well.

Don’t forget that your investors do due diligence. If they find out you weren’t truthful they will not proceed with you, and will tag you as problematic, and if you built something unnecessarily large and complex then you wasted a lot of time and resources, and after all the investors will look at it as if it was their money was being wasted.

Don’t build unnecessary “pillars” in your product!

In four chapters I tried to present the things I find most important to do from the concept stage up until the ability to raise $1M funds. There is one last and maybe most important thing, that I deem critical to mention at the end of the series.

The team — to design something complicated, a team of designers and builders are required. Don’t compromise on planners; a bad planner will design a bad building/company. Don’t compromise on construction people; a bad construction people will build a bad building/company. A good idea is worth nothing without great planners, and great construction people are worth nothing without good ideas.

Now you know all the secrets to raising $1M for your startup, go make dreams come true!

Facetrom raised $1.3M in March 2020.

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