CED Book Review: The Mom Test

Margo reads  The Mom Test  by Rob Fitzpatrick

Margo reads The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick

CED’s book club kicked off with The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick, which is about “how to talk to customers and learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you.” It’s a quick and easy read, and each of us came away with new perspectives on customer discovery, which is the process of identifying customers and understanding their purchasing behavior and motivations.

These are our takeaways:

I’ve been convinced for some time that talking to customers in-depth should be one of the first moves an entrepreneur makes. Yet, it’s also pretty clear that you can waste a lot of time by asking the wrong questions to the wrong people. So how do you get meaningful information that leads to real insights? Many books and articles I’ve read agree on the importance of customer discovery, but offer little guidance as to how to do it. That’s where The Mom Test picks up. It’s the best source I’ve seen that explains what makes a good or bad question, and how to peel back the layers to interpret customer feedback. --Nolan

Customer discovery is HARD. It takes time, energy, and being open to discovering that an idea you’ve already invested in emotionally (at the very least) is not going to result in a viable business and that you need to pivot or do something else entirely. Reading The Mom Test is helping me stop asking leading questions and start having the conversations that truly inform. I can’t recommend this book enough to anyone exploring an idea.  -- Gretchen

The Mom Test really dives into the question of how to talk to humans and get the most valuable information possible from them. Customer discovery is all about gathering usable information from potential customers. It is essentially data collection on humans. But it’s an art and not a science. The quality of the data you get, and inevitably use, is directly dependent on the questions you ask. I recommend it for anyone exploring customer discovery, but also anyone working in data collection. -- Richelle

One of the most damaging things for a company can be inaccurate information. The Mom Test lays out a simple road map for entrepreneurs looking to get real answers, not just good answers. I’m not an entrepreneur, but I have still benefited greatly from reading The Mom Test. It’s a book that is quick and easy to read but will have a dramatic positive influence on your interrogative discourse. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who talks to people. -- Ian

Stop asking questions that make you feel good but are ultimately useless.  Yes, my mommy thinks I pretty. No, that doesn’t mean I am going to be a model.  The Mom Test helps you learn how to get useful information when you are looking to start something new and innovative not just information that makes you feel good in the short-term but translates to long-term failure like my modeling career (or you know … any new and innovative idea or business).  -- Julia

Properly doing customer discovery is integral to getting your business or idea off to a good start. Customer discovery is a type of qualitative research, therefore good questions are everything! While we might know how important good questions are, unfortunately, most of us fall short when attempting to create and ask them. We ask questions that are leading, and allow us to hear what we want to hear. When put on the spot, people will tell you what they think you want to hear, it’s not meant to mislead, but rather protect their relationship with you! The Mom Test is a quick read and includes humorous example dialogue to illustrate the difference between good and bad questions. It acts as a how-to of customer discovery and is a MUST read. -- Margo

Learning about who your customers are and what motivates their actions is critical information for any entrepreneur. People are apt to provide misleading information in order to be friendly or polite. The Mom Test will help you avoid fluff answers, by providing useful tips followed by clear examples that will help you get real answers from your potential customers for your great, or not so great, new idea. High quality customer feedback can mean the difference between years of wasted money and effort or a successful pivot. If you’re interested in collecting useful information from people in any capacity, this book will prove very valuable to your efforts. --Santi