The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick [Summary]

The Book In Three Or More Sentences:

This book is a practical how-to guide on how to evaluate your current or next business idea. Rob Fitzpatrick, the author, gives us all the tools we need to talk to customers, navigate through the noise, and learn what people really want. The Mom Test will basically teach you how to ask good questions so you can prevent people from lying, and throwing fake compliments about your idea. So, if you’ve fallen in love with a new business idea and you want to figure out if it has legs before quitting your job this book is for you.

The Core Idea:

You shouldn’t ask people whether your business idea is good. It’s a dumb question because people will lie to you. Instead of talking about your concept, ask people about their lives and about their problems. This way you’ll gather enough data, iterate on your business venture and create a product people will actually want to buy.


  • Instead of promoting your new start-up idea, have real conversations with people and draw feedback from there.
  • Don’t try to serve everyone, especially when you’re first starting your entrepreneurial venture.
  • Collect feedback from your current clients on a regular basis. Ask them for help and don’t take it personally when there are bad comments about the way you currently do business.

6 Key Lessons from The Mom Test:

Lesson #1: Don’t Ask Anyone Whether Your Business Is A Good Idea – a.k.a The Mom Test

The main point the author is trying to make in the book is simple: People will always say that your idea is good because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. This is especially true if you ask your mom.

By asking someone, “Hey, I have an idea for starting a business about X. What do you think?” You’re basically begging them to say yes. That’s why in 99% of the cases, you’ll hear, “That’s a great idea. Go for it!”

But collecting false positives is something you don’t want as an entrepreneur. If you’re serious about your business you need to understand the real problems of the people you’re targeting before devoting a couple of years into something that might potentially sink.

So, the question here is, “How?”

By having a useful conversation.

Here are the 3 simple rules that the author calls The Mom Test:

The Mom Test:

  • Talk about their life instead of your idea.
  • Ask about specifics in the past instead of generics or opinions about the future.
  • Talk less and listen more.

It’s called The Mom Test because it leads to questions that even your mom can’t lie to you about. When you do it right, they won’t even know you have an idea.” Rob Fitzpatrick

Lesson #2: Transition From Bad Conversation To Good a One By Avoiding Fluff

The world’s most deadly fluff is: “I would definitely buy that.” Rob Fitzpatrick

If you rely on a single “I will definitely buy that” claim to start working on a specific product you’re surely entering a trap.

When talking to customers, you need a fluff-filter. A way to distill the important information and get some specifics so you can bring out the information you’re looking for. That’s, whether or not you should start working on your current idea.

In a lot of occasions, people are simply complaining, they are not looking for solutions. If this is the case, you need to realize this quickly an move on with your life – talk to someone else or abandon that specific idea.

The following questions will help you when talking to people about their problems:

  • “Tell me more about your problem?”
  • “What makes this so awful for you specifically? ”
  • “Talk me through the last time that happened.”
  • “Have you tried doing something to fix this?”
  • “What else have you tried?”
  • “How are you dealing with it now?”
  • “What will be the perfect solution for you?”
  • “Talk me through the last time that happened.”

If people don’t care enough to try solving their problem, this means that they aren’t going to care about your solution. These people are complainers, not potential customers. If there is a problem though, and they don’t like the current solutions, you might have found something.

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