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What is the mom test?

Talking to customers is one thing; talking to customers the right way is another.

Maya AI the mom test


It’s advisable to focus on a targeted audience and figure out why you are connecting with them. One might argue that one of the most important activities in a business is customer development and research. Skipping that one step can cause years of misguided work.

Why am I telling you this?

As you begin to conversate with your customers, you’re going to realize a few things; how customers react to your idea, problem identification, marketing tactics, etc. One thing you need to be cautious of; is when talking to customers, determine if they are telling the truth or telling you things you want to hear.

All of this boils right back down to the Mom Test. The Mom Test teaches not only how to ask questions, but it teaches how to build the correct approach. I would have saved countless years of wasted time if I had read this book years ago. I recommend it to anyone who wants to build what customers want. The Mom Test is a set of simple rules for crafting good questions that even your mom can’t lie to you about.

The measure of the usefulness of an early customer conversation is whether it gives us concrete facts about our users’ lifestyles and world views. These facts, in turn, allow us to improve our business.

Talking to customers is one of the foundational skills of both Customer Development and Lean Startup. We all know we’re supposed to do it, but nobody seems willing to admit that it’s easy to screw up and hard to do right. This book is going to show you how customer conversations go wrong and how you can do better.

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

The three rules of The Mom Test:

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

The goal is to understand how people think about a potential problem. It’s the reverse of what people are usually doing – asking about whether their idea is good.

Key Takeaways

  1. When doing research, ask about a person’s behavior, not hypotheticals. You need to know the relevancy of questions you will be asking, basically research the user to know what kind of questions you could ask.
  2. People will lie to you. It’s your job to make sure they don’t by asking the correct questions. Meaning, you don’t ask questions that will lead to a simple answer. For example, ” How do feel about being stressed?”, the customer’s response would be “bad”. Instead, ask ” How do feel when you have paperwork all over the place”. It’s practically the same questions, however, the second question is more specific where the customer can relate directly to what causes them the stress.
  3. Questions you ask should terrify you. They could disprove what you’re researching. Watch out and avoid them.

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