What’s the Mom Test?

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The Mom Test is a set of techniques for conducting customer interviews in a way that surfaces honest and concrete feedback about your business idea or product. It is called the Mom Test because the goal is to ask questions that avoid superficial positive responses, even from someone who wants to be nice, like your mom. The key ideas of the Mom Test are:
  • Ask about specific facts and behaviors, not opinions. Ask "what did you do?" not "what did you think?".
  • Get them to tell stories about how they experienced a problem or interacted with a solution. Don't just ask if they had a problem.
  • Listen more than you talk. Let the customer guide the conversation.
  • Avoid leading questions that prompt the answer you want to hear.
  • Watch for signs they are trying to be nice instead of honest. Redirect to focus on facts.
  • Test their problem, not your solution. See if they experience the problem before introducing your idea.
  • Learn what they already do to solve the problem. See what you are competing against.
By following these principles, you can have more honest conversations that reveal true customer needs and behaviors. This helps validate product ideas early and build something people actually want. The Mom Test provides a simple framework to get high quality customer insights, even as a beginner.
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