This book has by now acquired the status of 'must read' for every entrepreneur.
The author describes himself with the following words:
I’m a programmer who was forced - like so many others - into a customer-facing role at my first company. And while I knew I was supposed to talk to customers, none of the books about sales or Customer Development seemed to help me figure out how to actually do it properly. The Mom Test is that missing handbook, and is now used as a core part of the curriculum at universities like Harvard and UCL, EU startup accelerators like Seedcamp and Microsoft Ventures, and businesses like Shopify and Pact Coffee.
It's a short book, with no bullshit, that goes straight to the point with perfectly clear and actionable examples. If you're having trouble talking with customers, go read it. If you think you're not having trouble talking with customers, still, go read it, you might be.
There's really not much else to say here without spoiling the book a bit but I'll share some bits to maybe convince you to go pick it up.
It's not called "The Mom Test" because it teaches you how to talk to your mom. Well, actually, it sort of does. But, the idea behind the title is that "The Mom Test" is a set of simple rules for making good questions that even your mom can't lie to you about. So no more "It's a great idea! Keep going!" which doesn't really tell us anything about our customer or our market or even our idea! It's just a bland compliment which might as well be a lie to not hurt our feelings.
Whilst reading through the pages I found myself constantly thinking that I'm doing everything wrong and that I'm never going to get this perfect. And it's true, none will ever get every conversation perfect, but I think I've got a few more tools now to at least be better the next time. It's a matter of knowing the tools and acknowledging if you're going off-track in a customer conversation or when presenting your idea to someone.
I make tons of mistakes. At least now I notice and have a chance to fix them. Most bad conversations can be fixed. You're trying to do something difficult. You're never going to be perfect, but it always helps to be better.
If you've read this far but won't read the actual book, here's the 3 simple rules of The Mom Test:
- Talk about their life instead of your idea
- Ask about specifics in the past instead of generics or opinions about the future
- Talk less and listen more
Of course there's much more to these, so if you're at least a tiny bit interested, I'd recommend you read the book and go build your damn idea already.