How to talk to customers when everyone is lying to you

Does my innovation really suit the market or the customer? This is a question that many companies ask themselves as they develop their business ideas. One thing is clear, it is not easy to start a company and with the disruptive idea to make all people, from the investor to the customer, happy.

But there is a solution, says Rob Fitzpatrick, who gave entertaining insights into the right techniques of customer surveys and the central challenges for entrepreneurs in today’s world at the event “How to talk to customers when everyone is lying to you” of the Digital Product School.


„The temptation to look big, to look successful, makes you fragile“ – Rob Fitzpatrick


Rob Fitzpatrick - The Mom TestRob Fitzpatrick is the author of the hit book “The Mom Test”*, a guide to which companies involved in the innovation process should help them ask the right questions at the right time. High up on the 25th floor of the Highlight Towers in Munich, he spoke about his ten years of experience with founders and consumers at the IBM Watson IoT Center. His words are clear:”Large companies, according to the author, often have problems with innovation because every mistake costs them a fortune. Small companies, on the other hand, are more flexible and can work more risky. For this reason, it is important to avoid the most serious mistakes in the first phases of innovation – a revision of the processes in brainstorming is necessary.



In this phase, companies have to find out whether anyone needs their idea at all. Through many discussions and the right questions, it is important to find out whether there is a market and a budget for the problem that innovation solves. If this is not the case, however, conversations often offer a suitable alternative on which to build your business.


Confirm Stage

Once you understand your customers, you can start to solve their problems and create added value with the idea you have developed. The point here is whether you have chosen the right features or whether the end customers or employees would be prepared to use the innovation in spite of solving a problem.

His most important tip is not to fall into a pitch when looking for answers. No one would want to listen to a sales show. As an answer to the questions on the usability of the specific product, compliments or praise that are not meant at all would often come here only to escape from the situation as quickly as possible. It’s better to talk to people about their lives, find out what keeps them awake at night or makes their everyday life more difficult. The simple handover of a mockup or product prototype can also help to obtain interesting information.


„Customer behaviour never lies, their words do“ – Rob Fitzgerald


Grow Stage

Only in this phase should it really start to cost money. After successful interviews and insights, it is now possible to start implementing the products and innovations. Detailed drafts are created and new ways and processes are developed. Investors’ money must also be collected at this stage. All at a reasonable pace, however.


„Do not act like a big company, before you’re ready, because it kills you“ – Rob Fitzgerald


The author’s lecture gave many exciting insights into his own professional career and his experiences with several start-ups in different fields. In all phases he has learned that you should not jump too quickly to a solution. It is important to talk to people and take the time to evaluate your idea before making an expensive mistake. Too few people do this and then experience a nasty surprise.


„The biggest advice I want to leave you with is to be cautious to jump to quickly to your product“ – Rob Fitzgerald


The successful event of the Digital Product School and the impressive view over Munich from the IBM Watson IoT Center completed the event. An exciting look at the necessity of consumer interviews, methods and opportunities. Thanks to the “mom test“.




* If you buy something via a partner link,”Medialist – Innovation-Profiling” receives a commission for the recommendation from Amazon. The purchase price does not change as a result.

Post Picture: Digital Product School

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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