Finding the (Real) Truth in Product Validation with Author Rob Fitzpatrick

If market research returns feedback like, “I think it’s a good idea,” or “I’d buy that,” it’s NOT a good thing.

Chances are, you’re asking the wrong questions — especially because the responses are so hollowly encouraging. Remember, the respondent has no skin in the game, and talk is free.

Ask Mom what she thinks about your new product, and she’ll tell you it’s fabulous — even if nothing could be farther from the truth.

Everyone will naturally lie to you, just like Mom, because it feels helpful and is easy. No one wants to hurt your feelings. Trouble is, when your market survey respondents don’t give you the straight goods, it defeats the entire purpose of validation work, and bad data can bait you toward product failure.

When you’re launching an innovative product, product-market fit is essential. That means knowing a sufficient, reachable customer base will be more excited about the product than you are. Conducting validation research is crucial. But the questions you ask is where things often start to go wrong.

Author Rob Fitzpatrick has been a tinkerer and tech entrepreneur for over a decade. He believes you can avoid mistakes by asking questions that elicit the answers you NEED, not the ones that make you feel good. Complements, verbal support, and new ideas can feel helpful, but in conversation with Graphos Product CEO Laurier Mandin, Rob Fitzpatrick says it’s much better to ask questions about people’s problems or challenges — as well as current solutions and what they cost.

If you ask someone how often they go to the gym, they’ll probably inflate the number. If you ask “how many times did you go to the gym last week,” you’ll probably get a more realistic answer. Rob’s first book, “The Mom Test” is taught at Harvard, MIT, UCL and many other top universities. 

Buy The Mom Test on Amazon.