The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you by Rob Fitzpatrick
Book about how to validate startup ideas by talking to customers, and common mistakes that founders make when they try to do so. Unlike many business books, this one is fairly short at around 100 pages and gives a lot of valuable information. The most common mistake is asking for validation, which you’re likely to receive since they don’t want to hurt your feelings. In many cases, even if they tell you it’s a good idea, they probably aren’t actually going to pay for your product.
A good user interview should focus on concrete facts about their past experiences and pain points, and avoid vague questions about whether they would use a feature. Ideally the user should have a problem that’s painful and urgent and they are struggling to manage it using available solutions; the idea should be abandoned if users merely complain but don’t care enough to look for a solution. Don’t talk too much about your idea since they are likely to go along with it and tell you what you want to hear. A strong signal is if they are willing to incur some cost, like agreeing to a trial, or connecting you to others in their network.
The next part is about finding people to talk to. If you don’t have any contacts, it’s okay to start with cold-emailing people to get a foothold, then ask them to introduce you to others. Casual conversations are great for gathering information without the friction of formality. Both technical and business side of the startup should be involved in talking to customers, and you should take notes to share with the team so nobody becomes an information bottleneck.