Tanja Horan, Principal, Tacosa 360 Consulting, presented her talk “Closing the Gap – MVP to Market and Scale” on Thursday, February 13th in IncubatorCTX to a room full of entrepreneurs, business students, and community members.

An accomplished product and software technology leader, Tanja Horan has worked with organizations ranging from startups to multinationals across multiple industries, including Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Fintech, Consumer Packaged Goods, Health & Wellness. Tanja works with companies to develop their product portfolios and practices to position both products and organizations to drive growth and scale.

In her talk, she answers the following questions:

  • What influences Minimal Viable Product (MVP)?
  • Questions to ask and what to do with the answers.

Many things can influence a MVP, or, “the smallest thing you can build that delivers customer value,” a definition adapted by Ash Maurya. One of the most important things you can have in your MVP toolbox is a question: “Why?” With this, you can address the problem, not the symptom. An effective way to ask why is to ask it 5 times, which is the basis of Toyota‘s scientific approach

  • The vehicle will not start.
    • Why? – The battery is dead. (First why)
    • Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (Second why)
    • Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (Third why)
    • Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (Fourth why)
    • Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (Fifth why, a root cause)

In addition to this, you must discover drivers and behaviors. A potential trap question is, “What do you want?” Customers may not know what they want, which can cause some confusion in the long run if you use that question as a basis. You must understand the following: what is your objective, what is the value to you, and who is the buyer vs. the user. 

With these answers, you can prioritize focus & investment, hone value proposition & positioning, and discover new innovation opportunities. After all, in the words of Steve Jobs, “People think focus means saying yes…Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” 


Written by Hannah Watson



About IncubatorCTX

IncubatorCTX helps startups and early-stage companies grown and succeed. Our goal is to promote innovation and impact in Northwest Austin along the HWY 620 corridor. We are located on the campus of Concordia University amidst 400 acres of Hill country preserve.

IncubatorCTX members have 24/7 access to vibrant co-working space alongside other entrepreneurs. IncubatorCTX is much more than a co-working space; our members also benefit from a network of mentors, entrepreneurial programming, classes, events, and access to faculty and student workers.

For more information or to become a member, please go to www.incubatorctx.com or to learn more about Concordia University Texas go to www.concordia.edu