Rob Fitzpatrick

I made a big step and cold-called over a dozen businesses this year. I was (and am) trying to find out which of my company's services they might need.

Now Mr. Fitzpatrick is telling me that large parts of these conversations were in vein and even misleading. He is talking about the parts of conversations where we make each other feel good ― you know, those friendly chit-chat moments. Instead of validating my ideas and services, my conversation partners were giving me meaningless "fluffy" compliments ― just like my mom would when I tell her about an idea of mine (hence the "Mom Test"):

You're great, tell me more later!

Well, he has a point. What's important is to learn from potential customers. Be casual, but inquire past the fluffy compliments and the meaningless complaints about problems they would never actually pay for to get resolved. A meeting is a success if and only if you either learned something valuable from them, or if you got a clear commitment or advancement. These conversations are also not random, they are a tool for keeping all eyes on what matters most: In a startup, all founders need to be involved in this learning. The three big questions need to be constantly addressed.

Learning from customers is the pure focus of this little book. I like that Fitzpatrick stresses how one should not put off building and measuring (the other two steps in the lean cycle), either. Get to it, come ever closer.

The book has really good examples of conversations, most of them sounding nice at first, but being mostly a waste of time. I can see why everyone in the entrpreneurial scene recommends it. I do, too.

# lastedited 16 Dec 2020
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