What to do about money?

May 8, 2014

We faced an interesting challenge. The people we work with are among the lowest paid Americans. Imagine a family of three or four trying to get by on less than $2,000 a month.

And yet the challenge with all the “Labs” models that we came across is that developers and designers are among the highest paid – regularly pulling down six figures.

We didn’t want to have that disparity.

Instead, we made two bold moves.

One we call the equality clause. We pay everyone who contributes to Significance Labs roughly the same hourly rate.  

The second we call the single mom clause. The exception to the equality clause is that we want to pay the people who we ask to share their lives and experiences with us – including many single moms – the most.

Those single moms make 25$ an hour for their help with user research. That’s our ceiling. The rest of us make less per hour.  

That includes our founders, taking pretty large pay cuts in spite of 65+ hour weeks.  

It includes our Fellows, whose “fellowship” is actually money to invest in their teams. Many fellows are looking to barely break even over the course of their three months.  

And we’ve found an amazing group of developers, designers, and mentors/advisors who are all willing to also put their skin in the game and earn between $1,500 and $3,000 a month to bring their amazing skills to bear.  

It’s pretty exciting to start something where everyone involved is pretty proud that the highest hourly rate goes to a single mom.

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