A startup is like a rat in a maze searching for a piece of cheese. The cheese in the startup's case is product-market fit, that pivotal point when the startup can scale and monetize the business.
In the maze, the startup has a dazzling amount of choices of where to go. Should we build this new feature? Should we try this new idea we have for a product? Should we backtrack and completely change our idea?
Lean startups use a strategy called "Minimum Viable Products" to help navigate the maze. The idea is that a startup formulates hypotheses about what users want or do not want; each of these hypotheses is a "turn" in the maze. A "Minimum Viable Product" is the smallest test that will let the startup know whether their "turn" was a good one. A startup wants to stop going the wrong direction as early as possible.
The term "Minimum Viable Product" is a misnomer
However, the term "Minimum Viable Product" is a misnomer. The real goal is to test hypotheses as fast as possible, and being minimal is just a side effect of being fast. "Fastest Viable Product" is a more appropriate name.