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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 at lea 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 at lea 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. 4 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 5 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'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.

  4. 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-...

  5. 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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sheida

    I learned quite a lot 🤔

  7. 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.

  8. 4 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 5 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.

  11. 5 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.

  12. 5 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 5 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.

  15. 4 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!

  16. 4 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!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aamna

    What an incredibly useful book. Highly recommend if you're into building products.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Niklas Laninge

    A short and relevant guide anyone working with customer development can and should read. There are some great questions ready to be copy/pasted.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sina Saeidi

    I took another step forward into business :) I learned good stuff about the evaluation of the idea and discovering customers.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bart Rietveld

    I really liked this book. It is simple to read and full of useful and well explained tactics on how to get the information you need out of a conversation with a customer. I'll definitely come back to this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad hosseini

    A fantastic book for entrepreneurs! this book helped me to realizing my mistakes in talking to customers. This book introduces simple rules for talking to customers: 1- Talk about their life instead of your idea 2- Ask about specifics in past instead of generics or opinions about the future 3- Talk less and listen more. This book is a practical how-to, and includes good examples of meetings. The interesting thing about this book is that its author is a technician, not a seller!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Vlad Calus

    A practical book on finding what works in your idea and get the first steps toward building a functional, useful and customer-paying MVP/product.

  23. 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.

  24. 4 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.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ivaylo Durmonski

    As the author mentions in the book, “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.” Instead, you need to about their life instead of your idea. The Mom Test is an amazingly simple, down-to-earth guide on how to talk to your customers before building your “thing.” It’s full of specific examples of good and bad approaches, and reasons why a certain approach is good or bad. It’s probably the best book about validating st As the author mentions in the book, “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.” Instead, you need to about their life instead of your idea. The Mom Test is an amazingly simple, down-to-earth guide on how to talk to your customers before building your “thing.” It’s full of specific examples of good and bad approaches, and reasons why a certain approach is good or bad. It’s probably the best book about validating startup ideas. The main thing I learned from The Mom Test – though it’s really hard to point only one – is this: Ask people for their honest advice without mentioning your idea and don’t talk while they’re speaking. Full summary: https://durmonski.com/book-summaries/...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Aleksandar Mićović

    If you're going to spend any time talking with customers, I'd say that this book is pretty much required reading. It goes over how to do this in an effective, and informal manner that just plain makes sense. Many products from startups are solutions in search of a problem, so is it even a surprise that 95%+ fail? The concepts outlined in this book will help you avoid this, and give you the confidence to find the right problem to be solving, and just as importantly the right people to be solving If you're going to spend any time talking with customers, I'd say that this book is pretty much required reading. It goes over how to do this in an effective, and informal manner that just plain makes sense. Many products from startups are solutions in search of a problem, so is it even a surprise that 95%+ fail? The concepts outlined in this book will help you avoid this, and give you the confidence to find the right problem to be solving, and just as importantly the right people to be solving it for. This book unfortunately loses a star because the last 30 pages or so are completely unnecessary. They deal with how to take notes, symbols you can use, and so on. It felt very out-of-scope for a book focused on conversations. Also, many of us already have note-taking systems that are in place, and that we have no desire to see changed superficially. All in all, a great book!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    If you ever find yourself thinking about opening your business or becoming a marketeer/sales rep, this book is for you. It's short, easy to read and focuses you on the basics that people kinda know yet still usually miss in real life: 1) focus on customers' issues, not your product; 2) don't fish for compliments (these are just saving face techniques), ask hard questions; 3) if they say it's a problem but they haven't attempted to solve it, it's not a problem (they' won't pay you to eliminate it); If you ever find yourself thinking about opening your business or becoming a marketeer/sales rep, this book is for you. It's short, easy to read and focuses you on the basics that people kinda know yet still usually miss in real life: 1) focus on customers' issues, not your product; 2) don't fish for compliments (these are just saving face techniques), ask hard questions; 3) if they say it's a problem but they haven't attempted to solve it, it's not a problem (they' won't pay you to eliminate it); 4) after each and every meeting potential customers should commit to the next steps (otherwise it creates zombie-leads); 5) segmentation, segmentation, segmentation (who&where: if you don't know where to find your TA, you don't know your TA).

  28. 4 out of 5

    Freya

    I took longer than expected to complete reading The Mom Test but that was because the content was very helpful and I wanted to take time to absorb it. Fitzpatrick has written the book well and the content is laid out well with examples and thoughts. It gets you thinking deeper into having conversations and understanding them. There is also a cheatsheet at the end. An excellent book if you are someone who conducts a lot of conversations and interviews. I think it's excellent in theory, now have t I took longer than expected to complete reading The Mom Test but that was because the content was very helpful and I wanted to take time to absorb it. Fitzpatrick has written the book well and the content is laid out well with examples and thoughts. It gets you thinking deeper into having conversations and understanding them. There is also a cheatsheet at the end. An excellent book if you are someone who conducts a lot of conversations and interviews. I think it's excellent in theory, now have to see how it works in practice. :)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    This is hardly the first business book that's really just a dozen bullet points awkwardly stretched over a hundred or so whitespace-heavy pages, but it's uniquely painful to read. Got 2/3 of the way through and finally just gave up and skimmed the "cheatsheet" at the end. Lowlights: "The Mom Test" itself, explained with wooden dialogue that ends with "Won't you have some lasagna?" "Everything can be a lie." Maybe this is normal in sales? "It's like your startup has been friend-zoned." Do expand on This is hardly the first business book that's really just a dozen bullet points awkwardly stretched over a hundred or so whitespace-heavy pages, but it's uniquely painful to read. Got 2/3 of the way through and finally just gave up and skimmed the "cheatsheet" at the end. Lowlights: "The Mom Test" itself, explained with wooden dialogue that ends with "Won't you have some lasagna?" "Everything can be a lie." Maybe this is normal in sales? "It's like your startup has been friend-zoned." Do expand on that one, please.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hosein

    a very great book that I loved to read because it was not a science fiction but a true story, hints, clues and examples altogether to help us build our business. it helps you verify it before you start at the beginning phase. thank you so much the author for sharing your failure so that we can learn from it

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