🏠⏳ #19 | How often do you hoover?
Photo by SeventyFour on GettyImages
TL;DR Executive Summary
34 customer discovery conversations this month
1 completed Design Sprint
Our latest beta test targets routine chores
Action > thinking to learn from customers quicker
Customer discovery sounds easy but is difficult & time-consuming!
This past month has been a hectic and exciting one for Fairshare. We have completed (and won!) the first two cycles of the NEF+ Founders Leadership Programme, finished our first Design Sprint (a huge thank you to those who were involved), significantly changed our product direction, tested our latest MVP with both members of a couple from the outset, and begun speaking to couples’ therapists to hear more about what happens when the topic of roles & responsibilities goes unchecked. Below is an outline of the experiment undertaken and the highlights from what we have learnt this month.
To air couples’ (often mismatched) expectations about routine chores
To help couples align on chore frequency & who is doing what
To reduce the effort to remember routine chores
What it involves
1. QUIZ Individuals complete a <1 min quiz on their desired frequency for ‘routine chores’*
2. COMPARE In a 30 minute Zoom call with a Fairshare founder, couples compare their responses to see where they match, or where they might not align
3. ALIGN(?) Fairshare cannot guarantee partners will come to a consensus(!), but that is the aim: to work out how often each chore will ideally happen, and who is responsible for what 4. FORGET!
Since Fairshare thinks there are more important things to think about than cleaning the toilet, whatever you and your partner align on in step #3, Fairshare will offer to send you reminders, in whatever format you would find helpful, so that you don’t have to remember
🔎 Learnings from the month
30 conversations with customers
4 conversations with therapists
As a wise friend recently said to me: “Rach, why on earth are you starting with the most complicated chore [cooking]?!” My friend got me thinking—while cooking and its associated cognitive and cleaning tasks are no doubt big pain points (and areas Fairshare still fully intends to help couples share down the line), the skill level and multiple interconnected stages makes cooking a difficult domain to test initial solutions with couples
We have therefore temporarily narrowed our focus to ‘routine chores’*
*‘Routine chores’ = a specific subset of household chores, not necessarily the most important, time consuming or controversial tasks (least of all the sexiest), but unambiguous tasks which are—or can be—performed recurrently at regular, routine intervals (unlike ad hoc chores)
NEF+ Cycle 1 - Entrepreneurial Problem Solving For this Apprentice-style challenge, we were tasked with making £1k profit in 2 weeks. We leveraged a teammate's existing business and supplier contact to sell… nuts. Long story short, in two weeks, we sold a lot of nuts, made £1.3k profit, and won the challenge!
Despite no immediate connection to chore-sharing, the nuts challenge led to several lightbulb moments for Fairshare:
Action > thinking. Doing things quickly yielded incredibly fast learning in an extremely short space of time
Selling nuts was a wake up call to accelerate product development to create a product that customers truly value
Physical nut sales inspired some physical solution ideas from Fairshare—watch this space for more to come in subsequent updates
NEF + Cycle 2 - Market Validation
Customer discovery is conceptually easy but hard to do in practice
It is incredibly time-consuming: customer conversations sound quick, but they are only a fraction of the overall work. Customers to speak to need to be sourced, scheduled, the conversation planned for in advance, and the conversation needs to be processed to gain insights
It is draining when done correctly—to confront the most challenging assumptions underpinning Fairshare means constantly being in a position to hear what we least want to
That said, a more optimistic take summarised by a fellow NEF-er, is that “bad news is actually good news”—it means time and resources saved in the long run
📢 Other updates
This month we attended two fundraising networking events with Crowdcube and Harvard Business School Angels of London, to begin scoping out potential fundraising options for 2023
We were excited to connect with a number of fellow entrepreneurs, advocates and researchers working on similar and adjacent challenges to Fairshare, including the former MD of School of Life, the founding team of German startup Equaly, Money School’s founder, the global MenCare campaign lead, and Stephanie Chan-Ahuja of London Business School
We have begun uploading previous newsletters to this blog: www.fairsharehome.com/blog
📖 What we are consuming
Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
Good Habits, Bad Habits, Wendy Wood
Visible Women with Caroline Criado Perez (author of Invisible Women) - The Day the Women Went on Strike
🏆 Big wins
Winning the first two NEF+ team challenges!
🥅 Next month's goals
Test the Routine Chores Beta Test with 5-10 couples before Christmas
Wrap up speaking to 5-10 therapists
Reflect on 2022 and make a 6 month plan for Fairshare for 2023
🔗 Media links MIT Technology Review Better Life Lab Interview Harvard Business School Harbus article Dr. Allison Daminger Dispatch interview