--- publish: true aliases: [Fitzpatrick, Rob,The Mom Test - How to Talk to Customers Learn if Your Business Is a Good Idea When Everyone Is Lying to You] --- The Mom Test - How to Talk to Customers Learn if Your Business Is a Good Idea When Everyone Is Lying to You - Fitzpatrick, Rob ![rw-book-cover|200x400](https://readwise-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/static/images/default-book-icon-3.40504e56b01b.png) ## Metadata - Author: **Fitzpatrick, Rob** - Full Title: The Mom Test - How to Talk to Customers Learn if Your Business Is a Good Idea When Everyone Is Lying to You - Category: #books - Tags: #business #startup ## Highlights - I see a lot of teams using a bulldozer and crate of dynamite for their excavation. They are, in one way or another, forcing people to say something nice about their business. They use heavy-handed questions like “do you think it’s a good idea” and shatter their prize. (Location 8) - We want to find the truth of how to make our business succeed. We need to dig for it—and dig deep—but every question we ask carries the very real possibility of biasing the person we’re talking to and rendering the whole exercise pointless. (Location 11) - These conversations take time, are easy to screw up and go wrong in a nefarious way. Bad customer conversations aren’t just useless. Worse, they convince you that you’re on the right path. They give you a false positive which causes you to over-invest your cash, your time, and your team. (Location 29) - The saddest thing that can happen to a startup is for nobody to care when it disappears. (Location 47) - Eventually you do need to mention what you’re building and take people’s money for it. However, the big mistake is almost always to mention your idea too soon rather than too late. If you just avoid mentioning your idea, you automatically start asking better questions. Doing this is the easiest (and biggest) improvement you can make to your customer conversations. (Location 116) - The Mom Test: 1. Talk about their life instead of your idea 2. Ask about specifics in the past instead of generics or opinions about the future 3. Talk less and listen more (Location 119) - "Do you think it's a good idea?" Awful question! Here’s the thing: only the market can tell if your idea is good. Everything else is just opinion. (Location 129) - Opinions are worthless. (Location 135) - "How much would you pay for X?" Bad question. This is exactly as bad as the last one, except it’s more likely to trick you because the number makes it feel rigorous and truthy. How to fix it: Just like the others, fix it by asking about their life as it already is. How much does the problem cost them? How much do they currently pay to solve it? (Location 140) - People know what their problems are, but they don’t know how to solve those problems. (Location 147) - "Talk me through the last time that happened." Good question. (Location 158) - Watching someone do a task will show you where the problems and inefficiencies really are, not where the customer thinks they are. (Location 167) - "What else have you tried?" Good question. What are they using now? How much does it cost and what do they love and hate about it? How much would those fixes be worth and how big of a pain would it be for them to switch to a new solution? (Location 168) - "Would you pay X for a product which did Y?" Bad question. The fact that you’ve added a number doesn’t help. This is bad for the same reasons as the others: people are overly optimistic about what they would do and want to make you happy. Plus, it’s about your idea instead of their life. (Location 179) - "How are you dealing with it now?" Good question. Beyond workflow information, this gives you a price anchor. (Location 185) - "Who else should I talk to?" Good question. Yes! End every conversation like this. Lining up the first few conversations can be challenging, but if you’re onto something interesting and treating people well, your leads will quickly multiply via intros. (Location 194) - "Is there anything else I should have asked?" Good question. Usually, by the end of the meeting, people understand what you’re trying to do. Since you don’t know the industry, they’ll often be sitting there quietly while you completely miss the most important point. (Location 198) - Compliments are the fool’s gold of customer learning: shiny, distracting, and entirely worthless. (Location 265) - The first startup I worked at fell for the “I would definitely buy that” trap and subsequently lost about 10 million bucks. They mistook fluffy future promises and excited compliments for commitment, wrongly believed they had proven themselves right, and wildly over-invested. (Location 272) - Questions to dig into feature requests: “Why do you want that?” “What would that let you do?” (Location 366) - Once we know about The Mom Test and start trying to ask non-biasing questions, sometimes we over-compensate and ask completely trivial ones. Asking someone how old they are isn’t biasing, but it also doesn’t move your business forward. You have to apply The Mom Test to the questions which matter. Otherwise you’re just spinning your wheels. (Location 408) - You can tell it’s an important question when the answer to it could completely change (or disprove) your business. (Location 413) - Another way we miss the important questions is by instead spending our time on ultimately unimportant details. This can happen when we get stuck in the details before understanding the big picture. (Location 448) - We know that zooming prematurely and introducing your idea too early creates biases and can get you stuck on a local maximum. (Location 600)