The Mom Test - Rob Fitzpatrick

Don't mention about your idea as far in the conversation as possible!


  1. Talk about their lives, not about your idea;
  2. Ask about the specific things from the past, not about hypothetical opinions about the future
  3. Talk less, listen more
Amazon Link
Amazon Link Essential to figure out if you have a good idea

Golden rules:

  1. Opinions are useless.
  2. Any predictions about the future is a lie, usually overoptimistic.
  3. People know about the problems they face, but don't know how to solve them.
  4. Know the goals of your user
  5. Some problems in fact are not problems
  6. Watch your users in real life solving their tasks
  7. If users didn't try to solve this problem before, they wouldn't pay attention to your product.
  8. Ask question: "Who else I should talk to?", "Are there other questions I should ask?"
  9. Avoid compliments at all costs.
  10. Analyze requests for new features.
  11. Ask tough questions! You need the truth! It's wonderful if the response is negative! Thus unemotional answers "well, .. seems not so bad" are better than "WOW!" answers (they give more info, wow-answers are unreliable).
  12. With high product risks - you need to start developing, you cannot prove your business idea just from the interviews. You have to embrace them.
  13. Prepare top 3 questions for any interview (to make them productive).
  14. Better to start talking with clients with informal conversations. Avoid formalities until you have something to show them
  15. People that are not going to buy anything from you - are especially dangerous source of unambiguous information.
  16. There are no "ok" meetings, all of them are either successful or failed.
  17. Conduct interviews until you get new info. If you're getting new info from every customer consider narrowing your target audience.
  18. In-person meetings in the beginning are always better. Especially in B2B.
  19. Segment your target audience and focus with the goal of making a small subset of them happy first.
  20. It's important not only to get the insights from users, but also to deliver them to the team
  21. Every team member that makes important decisions should participate in at least couple of interviews with clients.
  22. You cannot delegate/outsource user interviews, founders should do it themselves
  23. Notes are useless if you don't use them.

What to avoid:

  1. Compliments (they are always lies)
  2. General talking (especially about the future, hypothesising). Avoid questions like "Have you ever...?", "Would you ever ...?", "Could you possibly ...?", "What do you think...?"
  3. Ideas - there are too many ideas. Dig deeper to each of them why it's actually needed, what problem it would solve, how they solve it now, etc.
  4. If you don't know what to ask - don't even start the conversation.

Product meetings next steps

  1. Main goals: time, money or reputation commitments. The more the client puts in - the better. E.g.: purchase, testing, next meeting, next step.
  2. Useless meetings end with: Great!, Let me know when it's launched!, I would definitely buy it
  3. Clear Yes/No is better then undefined outcome
  4. The crazy ones buy from you in the very beginning
  5. In the early stages, information is more valuable than revenue
  6. Make the first move and find ways to connect, find creative solutions: blog, events, PR,