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📚 The Mom Test


The Mom Test ne parle pas tant que ça de daronnes mais ça reste quand même un excellent ouvrage pour remettre quelques pendules à l’heure concernant les entretiens exploratoires. C’est un bouquin d’une grosse centaine de page qui se lira facilement en une soirée ou deux.

Quelques passages intéressants

In addition to ensuring that you aren’t asking trivialities, you also need to search out the world-rocking scary questions you’ve been unintentionally shrinking from. The best way to find them is with thought experiments. Imagine that the company has failed and ask why that happened. Then imagine it as a huge success and ask what had to be true to get there. Find ways to learn about those critical pieces.

Learning that your beliefs are wrong is frustrating, but it’s progress. It’s bringing you ever closer to the truth of a real problem and a good market. The worst thing you can do is ignore the bad news while searching for some tiny grain of validation to celebrate. You want the truth, not a gold star.

Commitment can be cash, but doesn’t have to be. Think of it in terms of currency—what are they giving up for you? A compliment costs them nothing, so it’s worth nothing and carries no data. The major currencies are time, reputation risk, and cash.

The framing format I like has five key elements. You’re an entrepreneur trying to solve horrible problem X, usher in wonderful vision Y, or fix stagnant industry Z. Don’t mention your idea. Frame expectations by mentioning what stage you’re at and, if it’s true, that you don’t have anything to sell. Show weakness and give them a chance to help by mentioning the specific problem that you’re looking for answers on. This will also clarify that you’re not a time waster. Put them on a pedestal by showing how much they, in particular, can help. Explicitly ask for help. Or, in shorter form: Vision / Framing / Weakness / Pedestal / Ask

This isn’t about having a thousand meetings. It’s about quickly learning what you need, and then getting back to building your business. The overall process of learning is never finished, but in most cases you should be able to answer almost any individual question about your business or your customers (and then move onto new ones) within a week.

Getting specific about your ideal customers allows you to filter out all the noise which comes from everyone else. In our case, we eventually noticed unusually strong signals from creative agencies who wanted to be edgy. We ignored everyone who wasn’t them, cut a bunch of features and were finally able to get a sense of what was working and what wasn’t.

Talking to customers is a tool, not an obligation. If it’s not going to help or you don’t want to do it for whatever reason, just skip it. I’m sure you’ve been on the receiving end of a half-assed survey sent out by some new startup to tick the box marked “learn from customers” on their startup todo list. There are better ways to waste your time. Without figuring out what actually matters to your company and how to deal with it effectively, you’re just going through the motions.