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

Rob Fitzpatrick ยท First published August 2019 (first published September 10th 2013)

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.

Book Summary

“The Mom Test” is a book by Rob Fitzpatrick that focuses on how to validate and refine startup ideas by talking to customers. The book argues that talking to potential customers is the most important part of starting a business, but that most people do it wrong by asking the wrong questions and focusing on the wrong metrics.

Key Takeaways

1. Focus on customers’ emotions and stories instead of their ideas or opinions.
2. Ask questions that reveal the problem, not the solution.
3. Avoid asking hypothetical questions or questions about the future.
4. Validate the problem before considering a solution.
5. Look for patterns in customer stories to identify real problems.
6. Test your assumptions by talking to many potential customers, not just a few.
7. Focus on learning, not selling.
8. Avoid lying to yourself or your customers about the progress of your business.
9. Measure success in terms of customer behavior, not opinions.
10. Be persistent and creative in seeking out and talking to potential customers to validate and refine your business idea.