The Mom Test

Dumping all my learnings here from a book i recently read



Photo by Jacqueline Munguía on Unsplash

Context: This is a book for understanding how to ask the right questions when talking to customers so that you can better understand their needs and in turn, how to iterate on your business product.

(If you don’t have a Medium member account, here is my friend link):

Asking good questions

A useful customer conversation is one that gives us concrete facts about our customers’ lives and world views.

The first key is to just avoid mentioning your idea.

The Mom Test:

  1. Talk about their life instead of your idea (What problems they face, how they solve their problems, what they think of the problem)
  2. Ask about specifics in the past instead of generics or opinions about the future
  3. Talk less and listen more

Evaluation of Questions

  • Do you think its a good idea? Bad question, only the market can tell if your idea is good. Everything else is just opinion. Opinions are worthless.
  • “Would you buy a product which did X?” Anything involving the future is an over-optimistic lie.
  • “How much would you pay for X?” People will lie to you if they think it’s what you want to hear.
  • “What would your dream product do?” Sort-of-okay question, but only if you ask good follow-ups. The value comes from understanding why they want these features. You don’t want to just collect feature requests. People know what their problems are, but they don’t know how to solve those problems. Sometimes they think they need a feature but actually what they need is another thing. Hence, you should try to understand the root problem and think carefully if the feature is really what is going to solve their problem.
  • “Why do you bother?” You’re shooting blind until you understand their goals.
  • “What are the implications of that?” This distinguishes between I-will-pay-to-solve-that problems and thats-kind-of-annoying-but-I-can-deal-with-it “problems”. Some problems don’t




𓆉︎ 𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖𝚎𝚛 🪴𝙲𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚝𝚘𝚛 👩‍💻𝚂𝚘𝚏𝚝𝚠𝚊𝚛𝚎 𝚎𝚗𝚐𝚒𝚗𝚎𝚎𝚛 ☻ I write & reflect weekly about software engineering, my life and books. Ŧ๏ɭɭ๏ฬ ๓є!