Monday, March 27, 2017

Side Project

I have been thinking a lot about the whole "Contract Marriage" concept from that Japanese drama Nigehaji. I believe the concept might have some legs as a side business.

The basic concept in the show is that two people agree on a marriage contract at the start of their relationship. This way expectations are clear up front and a productive courtship can begin. I think a marriage-focused dating site that operates from this premise could find an audience.

Of course marriage-focused dating sites are not a new thing. I looked around and found some Japanese Konkatsu sites that are somewhat similar. Most are just expensive matchmaking services that try to get a whole lot of information about your preferences and concerns. They are not bad but none of them just let users cut out the middle man and match up with one another based on desired marriage lifestyle.

Most dating sites either focus on some small community or are too open-ended. Sites like Match, Plenty of Fish, and EHarmony all try to match people based on personality and interests. While this definitely works for some people I do not think it is the ideal way to find a marriage partner. What happens too often in relationships is you spend years getting to know someone in hopes of teasing out their desired marriage lifestyle, all while hoping they are on the same timeline as you for things like kids and career. A Contract Marriage site could let users get all that info at the start.

In some ways the idea is similar to Seeking Arrangement. Seeking Arrangement has millions of users. The site is controversial because "Sugar Daddy" dating is, to many, not very different from prostitution. Whatever your feelings about that, I think the success of it stems from the benefit of having expectations defined up front. The women know exactly how much money to expect, and the men know what they will get from the women in return. There is no ambiguity unlike most online dating sites.

Contract Marriage could be a less shady version of that. Users can create their ideal marriage agreement and find someone who likes what they are offering. It solves the problem I described in my earlier post about men not feeling an incentive to pursue marriage because they don't see any benefit. "What is in it for me?" a man might ask. Contract Marriage answers that question explicitly. Men can see in writing exactly what benefits their future wife will provide in terms of financial contribution, companionship, homemaking, etc. The same is true for female users. A woman seeking marriage can spell out exactly what she wants from her future husband. That could be a more traditional breadwinner husband to allow her to be a stay-at-home mom, a supportive partner to help her pursue a career, or something in between.

The idea has been in my head for a few weeks now and I've already laid some of the ground work. I'm going to take the next few weeks to try to hack something out and see if I can find an audience. I know absolutely zero about business so I may need to seek help or a co-founder or something.

Lots of other software developers have side projects. I figure why not give it a shot.