Found in 8 comments on Hacker News
irjustin · 2020-02-28 · Original thread
Fantastic post. Lots of weight on the problem discovery area which is the right move and engineers turned entrepreneurs skip this step a lot. I know I did.

A book recommended by YC's Aaron Epstein is The Mom Test[0]. The first 50-60% of the book is dedicated to how to discover problems with end clients/users that are worth tackling.

I have used the techniques personally and it's great to see what users say is a huge problem vs a problem they're willing to pay for.

It is easy to get stuck in a self-fulfilling trap that a user complains is a big problem. I recently spoke with a customer:

- "What's your biggest problem?" (book says this question is a no no)

- He replies, "If I sell 3 cars at the same time, I'm out of available float (cash) while I wait for those deals to close. This is a HUGE problem for me!"

- "How do you solve this today?" I ask.

- "I have other, larger car sales company who will lend me money at XX rates."

Right there, it's a solved problem. The end user figured out their own way. Turns out other smaller dealers like him rely on large trade line companies.

The only way I could complete is either on lower cost of financing or speed. At which point, for me, it's not a problem worth solving. The problem isn't so big for him where he's willing to throw cash at me for it.

Talk to users.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Mom-Test-customers-business-everyone-...

csallen · 2019-09-10 · Original thread
I've spent a ton of time as a developer trying to make money from various side projects and businesses. So most of my top "wish I'd discovered this earlier" list revolves around tech+business stuff:

* Strategy #1: Charge more. patio11 has been shouting this from the rooftops for years, but it didn't sink in until after I started Indie Hackers[0]. If you charge something like $300/customer instead of $5/customer, you can get to profitability with something like 50 phone calls rather than years of slogging. It's still hard, but it's way faster.

* Strategy #2: Brian Balfour's four fits model[1]. It's not enough to think about the product. You also need to think about the market, distribution channels, and pricing, and how each of these four things fit together. I imagine them as four wheels on a car. It's better to have 4 mediocre wheels than 3 great ones and a flat.

* Book: The Mom Test.[2] Amazing book about how to talk to customers to research your ideas without being misled, which is a step I've stumbled on before.

* Tool: Notion. I just discovered it recently. I use it for all my docs and planning.

[0] https://www.indiehackers.com - my latest business, and the one that actually worked

[1] https://brianbalfour.com/four-fits-growth-framework

[2] https://www.amazon.com/Mom-Test-customers-business-everyone/...

tacon · 2018-09-11 · Original thread
My favorite book on customer development is "The Mom Test"[0], by a YCombinator alum. The name is terrible, but the content of that book is golden. He tells the terrifying story of talking to customers constantly as they wasted a million dollars building something the customers were not going to buy. There are various ways the customer pays you before the product is ready, and if they aren't paying you, they aren't really interested. Payment can be in the form of time (they meet with you), personal reputation (they recommend you to friends), company reputation (they arrange a meeting with their boss, or coworkers), etc.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Mom-Test-customers-business-everyone-...

MrsPeaches · 2017-04-20 · Original thread
Highly recommend the Mom Test which is exactly about this.

https://www.amazon.com/Mom-Test-customers-business-everyone/...

rcavezza · 2016-12-03 · Original thread
I read an amazing book on customer development: The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick - https://www.amazon.com/Mom-Test-customers-business-everyone/...

The first few pages blew my mind. It was a great read all the way through.

kendrickwkm · 2014-11-03 · Original thread
Hey mate, are you based in London?

Damn, and here I thought being based in SEA provides for a veil of secrecy. Never thought we'd be out in the woodworks so early.

That's a good idea to reach out to others, I use 'The Mom Test' when validating customer problems - http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Mom-Test-customers-business/dp/1...

robfitz · 2013-12-31 · Original thread
The Mom Test book (how to talk to customers when everyone is lying to you)[1] sold roughly $5k in preorders and another $10k since launch ~4 months ago. Probably 50% of that has come from speaking gigs where the event bought a bunch of books instead of paying a speaking fee.

It's on Amazon[2] as a paperback via createspace[3] print-on-demand and as an ebook via gumroad[4]. Both platforms have been great.

It took 10 months part-time from first words on paper until the finished book was in people's hands. Editing was the most painful part and took 3 months. I did the first draft on paper, and the revising in scrivener[5], which also handles exporting to all the ebook formats.

I made illustrations for it, but left them out since the layout was taking more time than it was worth and I wanted to ship it.

Incidentally, I'm also working on a book landing page generator called heylookabook[6] . I'm building in some of the marketing best-practices that I learned from working on my own, so it's there if it's helpful!

[1] http://momtestbook.com [2] http://www.amazon.com/The-Mom-Test-customers-business/dp/149... [3] http://createspace.com [4] http://gum.co/momtest [5] http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php [6] http://heylookabook.com

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