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Entrepreneurship: Thank Your Attention-Starved Spouse With A New Kind Of Neglect

Let’s say you run a web site, and it’s so demanding that you run it at the cost of your marital well-being. Now you can say “thank you!” to your Main Squeeze for her patience by, you guessed it, fiddling with another web site.

Let’s say you run a web site, and it’s so demanding that you run it at the cost of your marital well-being. Now you can say “thank you!” to your Main Squeeze for her patience by, you guessed it, fiddling with another web site.

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This one is called Spouse 2.0, and it’s a little one-pager set up by the co-founder of Particls, Ashley Angell (who, for your information, is a guy. If you don’t believe men should be named “Ashley,” consider the mighty Ashley river that traverses South Carolina, or eat some history.) Anyway, the ostensible purpose of Spouse 2.0 is to thank those tirelessly patient souls who are married to people married to web startups. The site advocates you do this (on “Spouse 2.0 day, which is December 7th — mark your calendar) by following these four steps.

1. Buy your significant other a present in appreciation of all the the time you neglected them while running your start-up this year. They shouldn’t have to wait for Christmas to get something special!

2. Post about your special gift, and the sacrifices your spouse has made on your blog, twitter or other self-publishing services.

3. Tag all photos and posts with “Spouse 2.0” as evidence.

4. Take a gun, put some bullets in it, and shoot yourself in the foot.

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Okay, so I added that last step. I suppose it goes without saying.

I fully condone the good-hearted sentiment behind Spouse 2.0 day; of course, there’s no bad excuse to thank your spouse or give them a present. The problem, however, is the whole concept that superintends the gesture: that you can apologize for doing something by doing it more. Yes, okay, you are a web geek. Yes, you love the internet. Which is exactly why you should crawl out of your comfort zone and make an appreciative gesture that is not half-meant to satisfy your own need to participate in all new things Web 2.0.

Think, for a moment, if entrepreneurs of other stripes adopted this vehicle of gratitude. A car mechanic expresses his love for his wife by engineering 100 more horsepower into her Malibu. A beautician promises her husband an artful cut-and-dye. Sure, those are nice gestures, but they are vaguely self-serving, in that they are not special or unique. Mechanics work on cars. Beauticians do hair and nails. Web entrepreneurs toy with the internet. None of these activities are made magnanimous just because you’re applying them to a person you love, free of charge.

There is one cool element of Spouse 2.0, and that’s the RSS feed. It’s also, paradoxically, the saddest part of the project. How? Well, Step 1 is do something nice for your spouse. Steps 2 and 3 (which, note, outnumber Step 1) involve blogging and tagging descriptions and photos of that nice thing you did for your spouse. It’s cool because: I can go on there and check out what other guys are doing for their lady friends, and glean some good ideas. It’s sad because: I know I’m getting romantic ideas at the expense of others’ quality time, which has clearly been spent with a computer instead of a significant other.

The solution, as selfish as it sounds, is to read the RSS feed but ignore Steps 2 and 3. If a one-step gesture of appreciation seems too feeble for your wonderful mate, then skip the posting and uploading, put on your Sunday best and take them out to dinner.

It also bears noting that this day already exists: it’s called Valentine’s Day. The site says they shouldn’t have to wait for Christmas to get a nice gift. So… they should wait for every December 7th instead? Let me amend my suggestion: skip the blogging and tagging and take them out to dinner tonight.

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About the author

I've written about innovation, design, and technology for Fast Company since 2007. I was the co-founding editor of FastCoLabs

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