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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 Paperback – September 10, 2013
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About the Author
Rob is a tinkerer and tech entrepreneur who has been driving perfectly good companies out of business since 2007. Previously a shy techie and official winner of the World's Worst Salesperson award, he picked up quite a few bumps & bruises learning to talk to customers. The lessons are here, boiled down into practical, actionable tips based on extensive work with early stage companies through foundercentric.com.
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Top customer reviews
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I have always been interested in people and what they think and love ask people questions. I have built a company which was required for $150m and I did 99% of the customer development and problem discovery. I have taken a course in open questions as an interview format. BUT STILL - I find myself tricking myself by not asking people the right questions.
I loved The Mom Test and have recommended it to tons of people. Heck - I wish I would have written the book!
When you ask to get feedback thing:
1. Tell me about the last time you X
2. What went wrong - explain more?
3. What are the consequences?
4. What tools/processes/etc do you use today and why is that not working?
And - the book is worthwhile reading even if you are not building a product (even if it should be mandatory in every "entrepreneurship eduction"), but just want to learn how to listen and make conversations less about you and learn something every time you talk to someone.
Most of the stuff out there is heavy on theory and not on application. It'll go over what you should be doing but not HOW.
Rob really walks you through good examples and why they do/don't work out well. Some things that I took for granted (asking grounded questions over generic ones, eg When was the last time you bought a cookbook vs when do you buy cookbooks gives way better answers) were really hammered in.
MUST read. Top of the list. This is coming from someone that reads user interviews/books/startup business procrastination books all the time.
I mean, I was taught to ask open ended questions. And I did. What I didn't know was that even open-ended questions can be bad. Do you like this? How much would you pay for this? I thought those questions were valuable, that while it wouldn't create commitment, it would give me some sort of idea. WRONG.
Heck, even telling people about your idea can be bad. Because people wouldn't be 100% honest with you. The right thing to do is to uncover whether the idea is worth pursuing by digging into the other person's mind, and qualifying them before proceeding.
This has been eye-opening, and I would like to thank Rob Fitzpatrick (The author) for this amazing piece of practical content. I haven't finished reading it, once I do, I'll keep tabs on it and probably read it again, and again, and again. I"ll use this as a handbook for future customer discoveries, and will develop a series of paths while talking with people.
Rob lays out all the pitfalls of doing market research and finding a product fit that we've all faced as we try to get ventures off the ground. He then provides the step-by-step outline on how to do it properly, making it copy-and-paste simple to implement.
Don't sweat the price of the book as I'd pay $250 for it now if I had to since it's given me a massive shortcut on dialing in the features in our SaaS app.
It will guide you from basics of how good and bad conversation looks like, to complete process and guidelines how to start and progress. Great book!