The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick

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Key Takeaways

  1. You need to craft good questions to help reveal the truth
    1. Why did the person like the idea?
    2. How much money would it save him?
    3. How would it fit into his life?
    4. What else has he tried?
  2. 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
    4. You always need a list of your big 3 questions (can differ depending on who you’re talking to). What do you want to learn from ‘this’ person?
  3. Bad data = compliments, fluff (generics, hypotheticals, things about the future), and ideas (understand the motivation behind the idea)
  4. Seek out negative feedback – why wouldn’t you use this?
  5. In conversations, focus on the user’s problems, not what you’re building
  6. Before you can serve anyone, you have to serve someone. Good customer segments are a who-where pair. if you don’t know where to go find your customers, keep slicing your segment into smaller pieces until you do
  7. Keep having conversations until you stop hearing new things. The point isn’t to have hundreds of meetings, but to learn
  8. Early on, you’re typically trying to reduce product risk (can you build it? can you grow it?) and customer / market risk (do they want it? will they pay me? are there lots of them?)
  9. Asking for and framing the meeting
    1. Vision – half sentence of how you’re making the world better
    2. Framing – where you’re at and what you’re looking for
    3. Weakness – where you’re stuck and how you can be helped
    4. Pedestal – show that they, in particular, can provide that help
    5. Ask – ask for help
  10. Questions to dig into feature requests
    1. Why do you want that?
    2. What would that let you do?
    3. What are you doing today?
    4. How would that fit into your day?
    5. Would you pay extra for that?
  11. The process
    1. Choose a focused, findable segment
    2. With your team, decide your big 3 learning goals (once you have enough data, change your big questions)
    3. If relevant, decide on ideal next steps and commitments
    4. If conversations are the right tool, figure out who to talk to
    5. Create a series of best guesses about what the person cares about
    6. If a question could be answered via desk research, do that first
    7. Take good notes, review them, and update beliefs if need be
    8. Make sure you share with appropriate people

What I got out of it

  1. A pragmatic, helpful view into how to conduct customer interviews and make sure you get value out of them