The mom test

Why is it a bad idea to ask your mom for feedback on your startup plan?

Well, your mom doesn’t want to let you down. If you told your mom about an idea to build an iPad app for Indian recipes, your mom will like it, and not criticize it. Even if your idea is bad, your mom won’t tell you. She doesn’t want to let you down and she doesn’t want to let herself down.

Yet, there is another problem – it probably has to do with the way you asked your mom’s feedback. Instead of telling her about your idea, why don’t you ask her about her problems? Why don’t you ask her about how she looks for new recipes? Has she looked for an iPad app? If not, what dent would your app’s existence make?

Businesses exist to solve people’s problems. The best way to validate a business idea is to talk about people’s problems – not about the idea itself. Yet, when we seek feedback, we cannot help but talk about our solution. And once we do, we are trapped into receiving the answer we want to hear rather than the one we need to hear. On listening to your business idea, everybody is inclined to lie to you. Not just your mom.

What if we turned this problem on its head? What if the method you use to seek feedback on your idea was so robust, that even a mom’s bias wouldn’t lead you astray? Such a method of seeking feedback is said to have passed the ‘mom test’.

To pass the mom’s test, don’t talk about a product. Instead, talk about the problem it is meant to solve.

Inspiration: The Mom Test

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