How do you personally pick between "minimum" and "viable" when deciding to launch?

It feels like a tough needle to thread.

I've made mistakes both launching too early with something that makes people go "eh, cool I guess", and building feature after feature and never pushing it out the door.

Curious to see how you all think through this and what your collective experiences have been.

This isn't a particularly an answer to your question, more just a moment I had yesterday listening to a podcast.

Matt Mullenweg when talking about the first version of Wordpress said:

"It was true it didn't so much [compared to] other software. But it was better in a way that mattered".

I liked this sentiment.

That's actually a decent answer and really good framing of the issue.

Spend more time how you are positioning the product and once you're different enough and it solves the new problem, ship.

I’m about to launch my first product Pete so I hear you on this one! I don’t want to ship something that’s clearly below par when compared to similar apps but I also don’t want to fiddle around for months on stuff that doesn’t matter! 😫

I don't think it's a choice between "minimum" and "viable", rather it's figuring out what the least you can ship that will still give you valuable feedback.

Typically your product will be a better alternative to an existing solution. So then "minimum viable" just means it's (slightly) better than the alternative.

If you're talking about polish, etc that's a different story. And depends on your market, who your early adopters are, and what your relationship with them is. Typically a polished design helps establish credibility, but there's many other ways to do as well.