“The Mom Test” by Rob Fitzpatrick is a book that helps entrepreneurs get better at talking to customers and gathering feedback. It is full of practical tips and tricks that anyone can use to get more out of their customer conversations.

Key Skills and Concepts

The first section focuses on key skills and concepts that are necessary for successful customer conversations. The author suggests that entrepreneurs should focus on the customer’s life rather than their own idea, ask about specifics in the past instead of opinions about the future, and talk less and listen more. By following these tips, entrepreneurs can better understand their customers’ needs and come up with solutions that fit their life

Action Items

  1. Focus on the customer’s life, not your idea. Instead of asking if your idea is good, ask about the customer’s problems, cares, constraints, and goals. This will help you better understand their needs and come up with a solution that fits their life.
  2. Ask about specifics in the past, not opinions about the future. People are overly optimistic about what they might do in the future, so it’s better to ask about what they have done in the past. This will give you more concrete information to work with.
  3. Talk less and listen more. Don’t dominate the conversation with your own ideas and opinions. Instead, let the customer do most of the talking and focus on listening and asking good questions.

Avoiding Bad Data

The second section covers how to avoid bad data when talking to customers. The author suggests that entrepreneurs should deflect compliments, anchor fluff, and dig beneath surface-level information to get more specific and useful data from their customers.

Action Items

  1. Deflect compliments. Compliments are often meaningless and can lead you astray. Instead of accepting them, focus on getting concrete facts and commitments from the customer.
  2. Anchor fluff. When the customer gives you vague or useless information, try to anchor it to something concrete. For example, if they say they like your idea, ask them why and try to get specific information.
  3. Dig beneath opinions, ideas, requests, and emotions. Customers often give you surface-level information that doesn’t reveal their true needs and desires. Try to dig deeper by asking follow-up questions and getting more specific information.

Mistakes and Symptoms

The third section covers common mistakes and symptoms that entrepreneurs make when talking to customers. The author suggests that entrepreneurs should avoid being pitchy, use casual language, and focus on getting concrete facts and commitments from customers instead of collecting compliments.

Action Items

  1. Avoid being pitchy. Don’t try to sell your idea to the customer during the conversation. Instead, focus on gathering information and understanding their needs.
  2. Don’t be too formal. Use casual language and try to make the customer feel comfortable. Don’t use jargon or technical terms that they may not understand.
  3. Don’t collect compliments instead of facts and commitments. Compliments may make you feel good, but they don’t give you useful information. Focus on getting concrete facts and commitments from the customer.


Overall, “The Mom Test” is a must-read book for any entrepreneur who wants to improve their customer conversations and gather valuable feedback. The author provides practical tips and insights that anyone can apply to their startup to avoid common mistakes and get more out of their customer interactions. There is a commonly overlooked part about finding your customers leading to warm introductions that I will touch on in another blog post. Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter to not miss it 🙂