The Mom Test


  • always know 3 things you want to be learning
  • know what happens next after a meeting

Key Points

  • action

    • Pre-plan the 3 most important things you want to learn from any given type of person
    • asking at least one question which has the potential to destroy your currently imagined business.
    • recommending 3 separate meetings: the first about the customer and their problem; the second about your solution; and the third to sell a product.
    • If you don’t know what happens next after a product or sales meeting, the meeting was pointless.
  • interview

    • gen

      • "What else have you tried?"
      • “When’s the last time this came up?”
        • Turns out, it was pretty recent. That’s a great sign
      • ask about what they already do now,
        • "Who else should I talk to?"
    • watch out for

      • avoid mentioning your idea, you automatically start asking better questions
      • three types of bad data:
        • Compliments Fluff (generics, hypotheticals, and the future)
        • Ideas
    • details

      • Attack generic answers like “I don’t buy cookbooks” by asking for specific examples.
      • Dig into interesting and unexpected answers to understand the behaviors and motivations behind them.
      • Ask how they currently solve X and how much it costs them to do so - How much does the problem cost them? How much do they currently pay to solve it?
    • motivation

      • understand their goals.
  • lessons

    • Some problems don’t actually matter
    • You shouldn’t ask anyone whether your business is a good idea.
    • It’s not a real lead until you’ve given them a concrete chance to reject you.
    • you aren’t finding consistent problems and goals, you don’t have a specific enough customer segment.
    • know your current list of 3 big questions
      • you don’t know what you’re trying to learn, you shouldn’t bother having the conversation
      • warning signs:
        • You got an unexpected answer and it didn’t change your idea
        • You weren’t scared of any of the questions you asked
        • Watching someone do a task will show you where the problems and inefficiencies really
  • ask for help

    • Vision / Framing / Weakness / Pedestal / Ask


The Mom Test

Avoiding bad data

Asking important questions

Keeping it casual

Commitment and advancement

Finding conversations

Choosing your customers

Running the process

Conclusion and cheatsheet