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The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you

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The Mom Test is a quick, practical guide that will save you time, money, and heartbreak. They say you shouldn't ask your mom whether your business is a good idea, because she loves you and will lie to you. This is technically true, but it misses the point. You shouldn't ask anyone if your business is a good idea. It's a bad question and everyone will lie to you The Mom Test is a quick, practical guide that will save you time, money, and heartbreak. They say you shouldn't ask your mom whether your business is a good idea, because she loves you and will lie to you. This is technically true, but it misses the point. You shouldn't ask anyone if your business is a good idea. It's a bad question and everyone will lie to you at least a little . As a matter of fact, it's not their responsibility to tell you the truth. It's your responsibility to find it and it's worth doing right . Talking to customers is one of the foundational skills of both Customer Development and Lean Startup. We all know we're supposed to do it, but nobody seems willing to admit that it's easy to screw up and hard to do right. This book is going to show you how customer conversations go wrong and how you can do better.


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The Mom Test is a quick, practical guide that will save you time, money, and heartbreak. They say you shouldn't ask your mom whether your business is a good idea, because she loves you and will lie to you. This is technically true, but it misses the point. You shouldn't ask anyone if your business is a good idea. It's a bad question and everyone will lie to you The Mom Test is a quick, practical guide that will save you time, money, and heartbreak. They say you shouldn't ask your mom whether your business is a good idea, because she loves you and will lie to you. This is technically true, but it misses the point. You shouldn't ask anyone if your business is a good idea. It's a bad question and everyone will lie to you at least a little . As a matter of fact, it's not their responsibility to tell you the truth. It's your responsibility to find it and it's worth doing right . Talking to customers is one of the foundational skills of both Customer Development and Lean Startup. We all know we're supposed to do it, but nobody seems willing to admit that it's easy to screw up and hard to do right. This book is going to show you how customer conversations go wrong and how you can do better.

30 review for The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you

  1. 5 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣

    Either really good or dismally bad. Not sure which one. Easy read. Some ideas that could sometimes be useful. Or not. Q: Trying to learn from customer conversations is like excavating a delicate archaeological site. The truth is down there somewhere, but it’s fragile. (c)

  2. 5 out of 5

    WhatIReallyRead

    This book is amazing! I recommend it to everyone who builds products, talks to customers, works in startups or has the desire to sell any ideas/products they came up with or made. Why I loved it: - it's a how-to book that offers concrete methods and tools to solve problems on tour path to a new product with an audience; - it is full of specific examples of good and bad approaches, and reasons why a certain approach is good or bad; - it is easy to read, short and funny - a real delight to spend your t This book is amazing! I recommend it to everyone who builds products, talks to customers, works in startups or has the desire to sell any ideas/products they came up with or made. Why I loved it: - it's a how-to book that offers concrete methods and tools to solve problems on tour path to a new product with an audience; - it is full of specific examples of good and bad approaches, and reasons why a certain approach is good or bad; - it is easy to read, short and funny - a real delight to spend your time on, and simultaneously very useful. Lots of valuable info compressed in there. Simply awesome.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Dubakov

    Outstanding book! Main lessons learned: 1. Don't pitch your ideas to customers 2. Learn facts. Dig and ask more questions till you have exact facts and data 3. Don't mention your solution 4. Don't listen to opinions, collect facts and pain points instead 5. Compliments means nothing. Really nothing. Deflect them and dig deeper. 6. You can’t learn anything useful unless you’re willing to spend a few minutes shutting up 7. If you don’t know what happens next after a product or sales meeting, the meeting Outstanding book! Main lessons learned: 1. Don't pitch your ideas to customers 2. Learn facts. Dig and ask more questions till you have exact facts and data 3. Don't mention your solution 4. Don't listen to opinions, collect facts and pain points instead 5. Compliments means nothing. Really nothing. Deflect them and dig deeper. 6. You can’t learn anything useful unless you’re willing to spend a few minutes shutting up 7. If you don’t know what happens next after a product or sales meeting, the meeting was pointless 8. Until you’ve got a working business model and a repeatable sales or marketing process, the founders need to be in the meetings themselves.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    This book is about having conversations with potential customers to see if your business is a good idea. It is not written by a UX guy, but someone from tech startups who has learned through mistakes. In some places it's a bit beginner, but it's fun to read, not pretentious, and at times laugh out loud funny. It's a good reminder of the basics and packed full of example dialogues. I actually put down the book I was working on to read this one and devoured it in part of a day. It starts with a goo This book is about having conversations with potential customers to see if your business is a good idea. It is not written by a UX guy, but someone from tech startups who has learned through mistakes. In some places it's a bit beginner, but it's fun to read, not pretentious, and at times laugh out loud funny. It's a good reminder of the basics and packed full of example dialogues. I actually put down the book I was working on to read this one and devoured it in part of a day. It starts with a good and bad sample conversation about a new product idea. Key takeaway: try to avoid talking about your business idea, but instead focus on their life, with specific examples from the past (not projections about the future). Rules of thumb: - People know what their problems are, but don't know how to fix them. - Focus on user goals/motivations with questions like "why do you bother". - Where possible, watch what people do rather than ask what their opinions are. When not possible, ask them to walk through the last time they did that thing. - If they haven't looked for ways of solving a problem already, they aren't going to look for or buy yours. - Give people an excuse to help you by asking "who else should I talk to" and "is there anything else I should have asked". Be wary of bad data in the form of compliments, fluff, and ideas. Redirect compliments by getting specific. Anchor generic claims and hypotheticals in specific examples from the past. Dig beneath ideas and feature requests to find the motivation behind them. Every time you talk to someone, you should be asking one question that has the potential to destroy your currently imagined business. Start broad with questions and don't zoom in until you have a strong signal. This avoids wasting time figuring out the minutia of a trivial problem. Prepare your top 3 questions for each type of person you're talking to - easier to make them unbiased and helps from getting stuck in trivial questions in the moment. Adjust questions as you learn more. Quick and casual chats work better than long, formal meetings, especially early on. It reduces overhead setup time and means you can keep it short - sometimes 5-10 minutes to learn if a problem exists and is important. Once you get to the stage of showing your product to customers, you can start asking for commitments. You're looking for commitments of time (participating in a trial or providing feedback on wireframes), reputation (intro to team, boss, public testimonials), and financial (pre-orders and deposits). The more they're giving up, the more seriously you can take what they're saying. When finding conversations, take advantage of serendipity, find an excuse, or immerse yourself in their environment. Create "warm intros" by using friends of friends, industry advisors, universities, investors, and favours. Frame meetings by: outlining your vision (trying to solve x problem), framing expectations (what stage you're at, not selling), showing weakness, putting them on a pedestal (showing how much they can help), and explicitly asking for help. Keep having conversations until you stop hearing new stuff. Startups need to be especially focused on one segment to filter out noise. If you aren't finding consistent problems and goals, you don't have a specific enough customer segment. Then start with people who seem most profitable, easy to reach, and personally rewarding. Avoid customer learning being stuck in one person's head by prepping, reviewing, and taking good notes. Prepping - know what you hope to learn and keep the whole team involved in identifying those goals. Review key quotes and main takeaways with the team. Bring a second person along to take notes and jump in if they notice bias or a missed lead. Take notes that are lightweight to capture, but stored permanently - notes are only useful if you look at them again.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andriy Bas

    The best book for Customer Development I've ever seen! Must-read for all CEOs, founders, Product Managers, and User Researchers! My notes, in case you need: https://www.notion.so/uptechteam/The-... The best book for Customer Development I've ever seen! Must-read for all CEOs, founders, Product Managers, and User Researchers! My notes, in case you need: https://www.notion.so/uptechteam/The-...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zornitsa Tomova

    It's the second time I read this one and once again, I loved every page of it. The book is an amazingly simple, down-to-earth guide on what it means to 'talk to your customers' before you go ahead and build that thing. It's one of those books that you can reread in a few hours every time you're thinking of starting a new project and you'll always find something new and useful. If you want to keep your sight on what's important in the mess of a product's initial research & creation, read this. It It's the second time I read this one and once again, I loved every page of it. The book is an amazingly simple, down-to-earth guide on what it means to 'talk to your customers' before you go ahead and build that thing. It's one of those books that you can reread in a few hours every time you're thinking of starting a new project and you'll always find something new and useful. If you want to keep your sight on what's important in the mess of a product's initial research & creation, read this. It's awesome.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Martin Brochhaus

    It’s nice. Maybe the only downside is, even though it is a super short book, it is still extremely repetitive: 40% of the book is the exact same message: “DON’T PITCH! Ask about THEIR lives, their problems, their current solutions/workarounds”. However, given how easy it is to fall back into "pitch mode", maybe it is worth hammering that message into my brain. We are about to launch a new product soon at my company and we do have an extremely narrowly segmented customer group, so I will sit down w It’s nice. Maybe the only downside is, even though it is a super short book, it is still extremely repetitive: 40% of the book is the exact same message: “DON’T PITCH! Ask about THEIR lives, their problems, their current solutions/workarounds”. However, given how easy it is to fall back into "pitch mode", maybe it is worth hammering that message into my brain. We are about to launch a new product soon at my company and we do have an extremely narrowly segmented customer group, so I will sit down with this book on my lap and prepare myself for some customer meetings. This book came just at the right time. And by the way: Without this book I would 100% guaranteed have performed every single mistake outlined in this book. I loved the chapter about note taking at the end and adding context via little symbols and emojis. If you are in charge of a product or company and you often interface with your customers and potential customers, this book is probably worth your time -- and it doesn't demand much of your time anyways!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nikas

    I can't recommend this book enough. Simple, straightforward and immensely helpful. If you're only going to read one book about validating startup ideas, make it this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    I hate doing customer development but need to do it all the time. This is the most concise, direct, no nonsense guide I have read. And somehow the author manages to keep it low-key and light. Worthwhile.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sheida

    I learned quite a lot 🤔

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heather Aislinn

    Insightful, clear, understandable and quick Now I'm more sure how to ask questions, how to ask the right questions mind you.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paras Dahal

    This book is the best business book I've ever read. No fluff, no tedious and irrelevant stories, and no jargon filled generic crap. This is a manual for how to talk to customers for maximizing learning instead of fishing for compliments and ego boost. The writing is engaging and concise, and there is not a single page whose content can't be put to use immediately. I am sure I will come back to this book multiple times. Highly recommended for aspiring entrepreneurs.

  13. 5 out of 5

    kirill borzov

    6/5. Simple, interesting, easy-to-read, and very useful!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    A short and to the point business-type book that's extremely helpful in conducting customer research. I heard about this book through an IndieHackers podcast episode and while one could get the gist of this book by just listening to the podcast, the details and examples in the actual book were worth the price of admission.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Abugosh

    A nice short book no how to have better conversations with potential customers when you're building an idea. The main concept behind the book is that you shouldn't ask leading questions or questions that expose your ego (what do you think of my idea?). Instead, you should focus on asking questions in a way where they don't even know that you're building something, so your ego is not exposed. So for example, you could ask people "is x a problem for you", "how did you solve this problem in the pas A nice short book no how to have better conversations with potential customers when you're building an idea. The main concept behind the book is that you shouldn't ask leading questions or questions that expose your ego (what do you think of my idea?). Instead, you should focus on asking questions in a way where they don't even know that you're building something, so your ego is not exposed. So for example, you could ask people "is x a problem for you", "how did you solve this problem in the past?", or "have you looked for other solutions that solved x". The reason being is that past behavior is a much better indicator of future behavior than asking about hypothetical ideal solutions.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katya Kamyanets

    A good way to learn about starting a business and pick up some communication skills.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Evgenia Trofimova

    Priceless. The book is short and quite expensive, but each page of it is full of very, very useful examples and advise. I wish I read this book before, and not had an experience of a failed startup, cause I asked wrong questions while doing user research. I acquired each page slowly, processing and applying to life. I even gave three talks, incorporating the knowledge from this book before I have finished it. :) The most useful book of 2018. And one of the most useful book for people doing products/ Priceless. The book is short and quite expensive, but each page of it is full of very, very useful examples and advise. I wish I read this book before, and not had an experience of a failed startup, cause I asked wrong questions while doing user research. I acquired each page slowly, processing and applying to life. I even gave three talks, incorporating the knowledge from this book before I have finished it. :) The most useful book of 2018. And one of the most useful book for people doing products/startups in general.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Askorbinka

    It's complicated to evaluate this book without practicing its recommendations. So the true value will be discovered later. But the chapters where author talks about what questions should be asked to elicit customer requirements correlate with my experience as a business analyst. None of the good questions are about asking what functionality you should build. Talk about people and their life, not your product.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Harold Saar

    How to ask questions that are not biased? The book aims to make it easier to face tough questions. If you are setting up a business it is a must read for you. If your sales/pitch/validation conversations are pre-planned you will end up with lots of advice and much-needed information instead of going through meetings focusing on trivial stuff and keeping conversations comfortable. I think I’ve never made as many underlinings and comments as I did on the pages of this one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Anton Diatlov

    The must-read book for every entrepreneur and product manager. It is easy to read, short and clear. Rob Fitzpatrick provides a lot of tips and tricks for customer development that is applicable to every early-stage company.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrus

    Maybe not a fascinating page-turner, but a crisp very to-the-point and readable book on doing customer (development) interviews.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stefanni Brasil

    lots of advice in a short book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Quinten Vandermeulen

    WOW! This book just entered my top 5 startup must-reads. So much wisdom packed in so few pages. It's is the kind of book I dig. A practical playbook with tons of examples. No theoretical generalities. I’ve been doing customer interviews for a few years now and didn’t expect to find many new insights. Boy, I was wrong. Fitzpatrick shows you the hard truths you don’t want to talk about. His stories are all so true and recognizable. Like the situation where you say that a meeting "went well" or tha WOW! This book just entered my top 5 startup must-reads. So much wisdom packed in so few pages. It's is the kind of book I dig. A practical playbook with tons of examples. No theoretical generalities. I’ve been doing customer interviews for a few years now and didn’t expect to find many new insights. Boy, I was wrong. Fitzpatrick shows you the hard truths you don’t want to talk about. His stories are all so true and recognizable. Like the situation where you say that a meeting "went well" or that you "receive a lot of positive feedback", but you have no specific insights. Those are the red flags that Fitzpatrick helps you dismantle. I think everyone working in a startup should read The Mom Test. The importance of customer-centricity and user insights are becoming such clichés, but no one tells you how to effectively do it the right way. This book explains it in a great practical way. Also very applicable for salespeople who are stuck with zombie leads.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anoochan

    This is such an amazing book! Heavily recommended by colleagues in office, I was generally apprehensive of the hype and was fairly certain that this book would let me down. But I couldn't have been more wrong. I'd say it's totally worth the hype. Some very practical and hard hitting facts are conveyed in a very easy to consume manner. Being centered around conversations, the book is rife with examples of both 'things to do' and 'things not to do' during customer and stake holder conversations. I This is such an amazing book! Heavily recommended by colleagues in office, I was generally apprehensive of the hype and was fairly certain that this book would let me down. But I couldn't have been more wrong. I'd say it's totally worth the hype. Some very practical and hard hitting facts are conveyed in a very easy to consume manner. Being centered around conversations, the book is rife with examples of both 'things to do' and 'things not to do' during customer and stake holder conversations. I'd recommend it as a must read for everyone working in/aspiring to work in customer centric positions as well as those who want to build and sell something new!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gemma Cortadellas

    Really good, practical, to-the-point book! Stoked that this was probably more useful than my 3-month long UX design course haha. The 4 stars are because I find the "mom test" naming as a bit sexist (with a pink cover, of course). Would it ever occur to the author to call it "dad test"? Probably not. However the book itself is filled with really great content and a lot of examples, well-structure and learnings can be applied right away. Would recommend to any entrepreneur.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Piyush Gandhi

    Really well crafted fun conversations. The book is a must have for people looking to validate their idea. The mistakes mentioned were quite relatable and from practice and brute force I could see myself moving towards the mom test questions but this will surely accelerate the process of moving there.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Super solid read especially for those who aren’t as well versed in UX research or customer conversations. The book was appropriately succinct, each page had good information and I wasn’t feeling like I was reading fluff. I think I wished for more scripts of how various scenarios could play out but he had plenty - this is me just asking somebody to hold my hand through various conversations. Recommend!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bálint

    I wish all non-fiction book was like this. Short, containing the principles with examples. What are the qood questions as well as what are the BAD questions. Good flow, no fluff, absolutely loved it, learned a ton. Biggest take away: ask about what actually happened, not what would happen if X.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nguyễn Hùng Tuấn

    A very practical book with lots of real-life examples to demonstrate the author's ideas. I particularly love the first 1/3 of the book since it has well summarized the idea of the whole book - the rest of the book is for drilling down with deeper analysis. As a product analyst, I find this book useful to come back to several times, both to help me with interviewing my users and reflecting on how I have performed.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marty Kausas

    One of my favorite books of all time. It’s a well of practical advice on how to be more effective at customer interviews. I wish I had read this ages ago. If you don’t have the time to read the whole thing there’s a summary of the chapters at the end.

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