We’re excited to announce the launch of Probably Good, a new organization that provides career guidance intended to help people do as much good as possible.
For a while, we have felt that there was a need for a more generalist careers organization than 80,000 Hours — one which is more agnostic regarding different cause areas and might provide a different entry point into the community to people who aren’t a good fit for 80K’s priority areas. Following 80,000 Hours’ post about what they view as gaps in the careers space, we contacted them about how a new organization could effectively fill some of those gaps.
After a few months of planning, asking questions, writing content, and interviewing experts, we’re almost ready to go live (we aim to start putting our content online in 1-2 months) and would love to hear more from the community at large.
How You Can Help
The most important thing we’d like from you is feedback. Please comment on this post, send us personal messages on the Forum, email us (omer at probablygood dot org, sella at probablygood dot org), or set up a conversation with us via videoconference. We would love to receive as much feedback as we can get.
We’re particularly interested in hearing about things that you, personally, would actually read // use // engage with, but would appreciate absolutely any suggestions or feedback.
Probably Good Overview
The most updated version of the overview is here.
Following is the content of the overview at the time this announcement is posted.
Probably Good is a new organization that provides career guidance intended to help people do as much good as possible. We will start by focusing on online content and a small number of 1:1 consultations. We will later consider other forms of career guidance such as a job board, scaling up the 1:1 consultations, more in-depth research, etc.
Our approach to guidance is focused on how to help each individual maximize their career impact based on their values, personal circumstances, and motivations. This means that we will accommodate a wide range of preferences (for example, different cause areas), as long as they’re consistent with our principles, and try to give guidance in accordance with those preferences.
Therefore, we’ll be looking at a wide range of impactful careers under different views on what to optimize for or under various circumstantial constraints, such as how to maximize impact within specific career paths, within specific geographic regions, through earning to give, or within more specific situations (e.g. making an impact from within a large corporation).
There are other organizations in this space, the most well-known being 80,000 Hours. We think our approach is complementary to 80,000 Hours’ current approach: Their guidance mostly focuses on people aiming to work on their priority problem areas, and we would be able to guide high quality candidates who aren’t. We would direct candidates to 80,000 Hours or other specialized organizations (such as Animal Advocacy Careers) if they’re a better fit for their principles and priority paths.
This characterization of our target audience is very broad; this has two main motivations. First, as part of our experimental approach: we are interested in identifying which cause areas currently have the most unserved demand. By providing preliminary value in multiple areas of expertise, we hope to more efficiently identify where our investment would be most useful, and we may specialize (in a more informed manner) in the future. The second motivation for this is that one possibility for specialization is as a “router” interface - helping individuals make preliminary decisions tailored to their needs and context, and then connecting them to specific domain experts (or specialized organizations).
We believe the three main source of impact for this project are:
- The direct impact of directing a larger audience towards highly impactful careers.
- The indirect impact of directing more people towards doing as much good as they can and towards the Effective Altruism community.
- The semi-direct impact of taking people one step further in an incremental process towards even more impactful careers in the future.
You can see more details about why we believe this project will be impactful here.
Following are the core principles we believe this project should work by:
- Optimizing for impact: Both the management of the project itself, and the guidance that it provides, should attempt to do as much good as possible. We should never be content with “just doing good” and always seeking to use evidence and careful analysis to see how we, and the career paths we recommend, can do as much good as possible.
- Agnosticism: We recognize there can be a diversity of moral and epistemic views, even among those trying to maximize for positive impact, and we aim to err on the side of inclusivity. When unresolved philosophical, epistemic, or empirical questions affect our recommendation (which is often), we will try to highlight which assumptions make a path promising, or not. That being said, we do not intend to be agnostic about questions for which there is well-established empirical evidence, or views that are a consensus within the relevant professional or academic community.
- Experimental approach: We’re trying to build something but we don’t yet know how well it will go. We want to be ruthless in our willingness to criticize strategies we’ve used so far (including ones outlined in this document, if necessary), admit our approach has not been working, and change course. This also means that we have to strive to be both careful and transparent in measuring our own impact and evaluating ourselves.
You can see more details about these core principles here.
Following are the areas we were considering focusing on in our early stages. Much like everything else in this document, we are very interested in feedback about them and are willing to change them:
- Introductory materials: We believe that introductory materials, and specifically ones focused on an introductory career guide, as well as guides for individuals in specific circumstances, can have significant direct impact but have a much larger indirect (community-focused) impact.
- Career profile pages: These would be similar to the 80,000 Hours career profiles. We would especially focus on producing profiles which fall within the areas that 80,000 Hours isn’t prioritising working on. We believe this is high value that can be gained with relatively little effort.
- One-on-one career advice: Though this effort has a smaller reach, we believe it is worth working on early for three reasons. First, we believe personalized high-quality recommendations for the most talented top candidates have an outsized impact. Second, we believe it is critical for our ability to understand our audience better and evaluate our work. Lastly, it is an area we already have the experience and infrastructure to easily support.
You can see more details about our short term plans here.
We are always in the process of trying to improve our understanding of our most critical points of uncertainty. We have a long list of open questions relating to our strategy, but we believe these are a few of the most critical ones:
- How do we define and maintain a consistent agnostic worldview?
- How do we evaluate our success - both in the short term, and in the long term (we believe these should have two distinct answers)?
- What audience will maximize our impact?
- What should our team building focus on - what roles do we need, what type of people do we want, how do we find them, how do we onboard them, and at what velocity (maybe not at all yet)?
- For each of our identified risks, how likely and severe are they, what are the best ways to mitigate them, and how will we identify if they materialize?
You can read more about our open questions here.
You can find the rest of our preliminary documents (also linked throughout this document) here:
Probably Good was founded by Omer and Sella Nevo - two brothers committed to enacting large-scale positive change. After several years providing impact-driven career advice locally, we wanted to try and fill in gaps in impact-driven evidence based career guidance globally.
Omer was the co-founder and CEO of Neowize, a YC-backed startup, which was acquired by Il Makiage, where Omer currently acts as VP of Research & Development. He is also a co-founder of Effective Altruism Israel.
Sella is the head of Google’s Flood Forecasting Initiative. He also teaches Applied Ethics and Information Security at Tel Aviv University, is a Venture Partner at the Firstime VC advising on impact-driven investments, and is the founder and head of the board of Effective Altruism Israel.
Thank you for your time and feedback!
- We’d truly like to thank Brenton Mayer, Elie Hassenfeld, Joey Savoie, Julia Wise and Michelle Hutchinson for all the help, advice and guidance so far. We could not have hoped for help from people more supportive, insightful or helpful.
Naturally, all mistakes and views expressed in this post are our own.