🏠⏳ #24 | It’s about more than chores - it's about equitable relationships
But is it about feeling better, or actual behaviour change?
Photo by WIx
TL;DR Executive Summary
Try our new 1 minute quiz
Our conversation cards were a hit! Try them here
The Spanish government announced plans this past month to build a free app for people to log the number of hours they spend on housework - pretty cool, as this is what Fairshare built last year! Read on for 5 reasons why our app failed… If you know Ángela Rodríguez, or anyone in Spain’s Ministry of Equality, we would love to speak!
12 customer discovery conversations in May
This newsletter currently reaches 589 inboxes!
Fairshare is speaking at UNICEF next month
🧪 Experiment: Fairshare’s First 5 - NEW 1 MINUTE QUIZ The ‘Fairshare first 5’ tasks are some of the most simple, discrete household chores that can be done individually, without much context or skill, and they happen (or can happen) at a regular cadence. But do you and your partner agree how often they should happen..?*
*Note: None of the 20+ couples we’ve tested this out with have matched, so you’d be in great company if you and your partner don’t either 👀💙
It involves 2 steps:
Take our 1 minute quiz to assess your ideal chore frequency. You and your partner will take the quiz separately and you'll receive your results by email within 2 business days
Have a 15 minute conversation with your partner about your results (Fairshare will send some prompts in case helpful), and try to align on any areas where you don’t match
This past month has been a fun one - meeting lots of product experts, collaborating with clever-er people than myself to brainstorm and build new product concepts, and finally ramping up Fairshare’s presence on social media, with…reels. Despite feeling light years away from going viral any time soon(!), the kind and positive feedback I am receiving is highly encouraging, so I shall stick with it.
Top of mind at the moment is a tension Fairshare has encountered since its inception, but one that has become more pertinent recently - is Fairshare building a product to improve relationships, or a product to help couples divide chores? Are we looking to make couples happier, or more equitable (turns out, these are not always the same thing)? Should our product make people feel better about their housework, or actually change the division of housework? In terms of Fairshare’s 4 pillars: do we focus on PERCEIVE (seeing the problem), or PLAN & PRACTICE (do something about the problem)? The answers to these questions, and many more, significantly impact what we develop next. Our focus for the next month is answering these questions, and figuring out whether users prefer insights, or action.
Thanks for reading!
Founder & CEO
🔎 Learnings from the month
Our conversation cards were a hit! They are now freely available for anyone who would like to try them
“Oooooh these cards are great! Like a third neutral party to guide conversations”
“Thank you for giving me some fantastic, well thought out resources to support my conversations”
“A helpful conversation - would make for a good curated date night!”
📢 Other updates
We had 12 customer discovery conversations this past month
This newsletter currently reaches 589 inboxes! As ever, please do share this with anyone who might be interested
It's not every month that you learn a national government has had the same idea as you(!), but it was pretty awesome that last month, that happened:
"Ángela Rodríguez, second-in-command in Spain’s ministry of equality, announced that the department was in the process of developing a free app that will enable men and women to log the number of hours they spend on housework." As well as tracking time and physical tasks, the app aims to “bring to light many of the invisible tasks that are undertaken in the home."
Two years ago, I had that same idea and last summer, built an app for couples to track time spent on chores and childcare, and log the mental load. We learnt tonnes in the process, including the following 5 reasons why our app failed:
Despite high demand before we built it (we heard things like "build it faster!" from lots of people), the app ended up being unpopular and a negative experience - for users doing less than their partner, it was too shaming, and for users doing more, it was too depressing. Turns out learning the truth about how little weight your partner might be pulling at home (we had one couple with a 95% to 5% split), might not be great for relationships…
Time is a hugely problematic currency (despite nearly all research on this topic measuring time). Tasks are ad hoc and completed little and often, it is hard to record them accurately (which undermines the validity of the data), it doesn't capture the mental load, multi-tasking complicates matters, etc.
People generally care more about how they feel about their share of housework, than what any chart says. A simple Q illustrates this: would you rather spend 20 mins doing a task you don't mind, or 10 mins doing something you hate? Preference trumps time in many households
We discovered the "myth of 50:50". We discovered that the magical moment of achieving perfect equity, "50:50", from week to week is nigh on impossible
Finally, tracking is one way to see past inequity, but it does little to help people achieve real behaviour change and actually reduce future inequity
That said, I remain hugely optimistic that a tracking tool is an important piece of the puzzle for some couples, and could not be more excited that Spain is taking on this challenge
If I could share the above (and more) insights to help the Spanish project avoid some of the same mistakes I made(!), I would love to help - does anyone have any connections with Ángela Rodríguez or the Spanish government?!
I am excited to be talking about the importance of sharing housework, and Fairshare’s interventions at UNICEF’s London HQ next month
I remain involved in the Centre for Entrepreneurs NEF+ programme - attending the Demo Day to support founders further along in the fundraising journey, and as a mentor to the new cohort of entrepreneurs
I have decided to pause accelerator and grant applications (mostly because they were not working out!), and decided against applying to Zinc VC Accelerator as Fairshare unfortunately doesn’t fit its area of focus
I am delighted to have connected with Charlotte Michailidis and been accepted to Parenthood Ventures, and Anna Steffeney to join FamTech - two amazing groups
I am grateful this month for help from Dom Vin on product, collaboration with Jordan DeTar, founder of Tango, Luca Spiller at Unrest for product office hours, a product-focused lunch with Sian Jones (spot a theme?!), Cat Allen for UI support, Mandi Nerenberg for her social media wisdom, Jaclyn Wong and Jason Radford for research support, Catherine Lenson for some great leads, and Fred Osei at FounderVine for some personal development support! Help like this makes solo founding much less hard ❤️
📊 Statistic of the month
Men are more willing than women to pay for help around the house - when asked what is the likelihood to pay for cleaning services in the next 12 months, 55% of men said they would probably or definitely buy vs 38% of women
Source: The Holding Co.’s Male Care Consumer report
📖 What we are consuming
A newly published research paper about mental load and its impact on parents’ wellbeing shows:
Mothers did more of the cognitive labour (i.e., the thinking, planning, scheduling, organising, monitoring tasks etc.) associated with housework and childcare during the pandemic
Mothers report a more unequal division of cognitive labour than physical domestic tasks, whereas fathers report this division to be relatively equally shared (for both cognitive and physical labour)
Mothers report greater perceived stress and more depressive symptoms when they performed a greater share of the cognitive labour
Mothers report higher perceived stress and depressive symptoms than fathers
When fathers perform a greater share of the cognitive labour, mothers report lower stress
Their findings suggest the division of cognitive domestic labour may be a unique stressor that is more detrimental to mental health for mothers than physical domestic labour
The partner every woman should have: a doesband, Times article
Failing that, perhaps find yourself a magic basket? Video
Men, you’re the cause of our baby crisis. Tories blame women for falling birthrates but parenthood appeals today only if fathers accept a 50:50 split of sacrifices, Times article
I Will Teach You To Be Rich podcast and How To Get Rich Netflix show. A finance expert / “money therapist” talks to people about how to manage their finances in a way that works for them. Slightly off-piste from chores, but relevant as it is all about difficult conversations, role models and removing guilt and shame to make a positive plan going forward (so not that dissimilar to sharing chores at all)
A golden oldie: Let's talk parenting taboos, Ted talk
Follow @fairsharehome on Instagram for more content like the above
🥅 Next month's goals
1. Complete current product concept design & roadmap
2. Refine and deliver corporate presentation
3. Recruit & formalise advisory board