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✈️ What man-powered planes, Jeff Bezos, and mattresses have in common

Why you’ll fail without an MVH

If you’re in the United States, Happy 4th of July! If you’re one of my international readers, I hope you enjoy and appreciate your own country’s freedoms today. We’re currently at a remote cabin near Lander, Wyoming celebrating today with family. 🙂 

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What do these 3 images have in common?

Image #1: The Human-Powered Airplane

“In 1959, industrialist Henry Kremer created a prize for anyone who could build a human-powered airplane.

This was about 50 years after the first successful flight, so the challenge seemed doable. But the prize went unclaimed for over 17 years.

The man who finally won it was Paul MacCready. He realized that participants were building expensive machines that looked impressive but failed the flight test.

His approach was to build something cheap and easy to fix.

This way, he could test and crash the plane several times, and use the lessons from each attempt to redesign and build a better version.”

- Effortless, Greg McKeown

Image #2: Amazon, But it’s Just Jeff

Did you know Jeff Bezos started Amazon as just an online bookstore?

He knew from the beginning he wanted to become much more than that, but since books are easy to find and ship, it made for a good starting place.

But here’s the kicker - this was back before Shopify or anyone of the online tools that make it easy to build online stores, so he only had the skills and money to build a super basic front end of the website (what users see).

On the back end, well… there was no back end. No fancy tech magic to make orders automatically ship.

So how did it work?

Literally just Jeff.

He’d see the order come through, drive to his local bookstore and buy it, then ship it to the customer through the US Postal Service.

Image #3: The OG AirBnB

Before AirBnB became the alt-hotel for travelers around the world, it had just one purpose:

To be an air mattress in a living room where San Francisco conference-goers could sleep for cheap.

(Plus breakfast for good measure)

As soon as they had 3 people stay for $80/night, they knew they had a hit.

So back to the question - what do these images have in common?

They’re all fantastic examples of MVPs, or “Minimum Viable Products”.

Many successful products or even billion dollar companies today started as ridiculously basic, yet functionally valuable versions.


Usually founders start with limited cash and resources so it’s the perfect way to validate the usefulness and demand for a product before pitching to investors and growing into the grand vision they originally imagined.

“Kody, what the heck does any of this have to do with habits?!”

Too often, we try diving into the biggest vision of our perfect habits, only to fail because we lack the mental, emotional, or logistical resources to stay consistent long enough for it to stick.

Like an overambitious business, we crash and burn in habit-bankruptcy.

Instead, what if you could take your big vision of the perfect habits you wish you lived, but then dialed them back into an MVH? (Minimum Viable Habit)

It’d be tiniest, doable, yet still impactful version that would allow you to actually stick with it long enough to take root.

How much more successful would you be if you started small before you tried to grow tall?



Imagine the perfect habit you wish you did daily.

Maybe it’s something you’ve tried before, or maybe you’ve never tried it because it was always too intimidating.

Or maybe it’s something you’ve tried and failed several times because it was too big!

Then turn the dial down to 1%.

For example, if you wanna exercise 60 mins a day, go with just 5 mins.

If you wish you could read 20 books a year, why not start with just one?

Or if you wanna wake up an hour earlier in the day, start with just 15 minutes earlier.

No action is too small until you’ve done it consistently.

Kirk Duncan (my dad)







“Children are like parties about raisins”



Thanks for reading!

- Kody



P.S. These habit examples take me 3 hours to write.

It only takes you 3 seconds to share.

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