Feel free to skip to my prompts if you don't want to read my justification of the question
I've been thinking recently about what good EA community building would look like. Typically when I think about community building my main focus is increasing the number of people doing high impact work. This usually means figuring out what sort of people are needed to solve problems and then thinking about ways to encourage those people to do that work.
I think the current models of community building I see aren't actually optimising for something like 'find the people who would most help with X problem and get them to work on it'. At the very least I personally feel as though it's hard for me to do good community building work without building a stronger model of what these people look like. So I'd like to hear what kind of people in practice are needed in the EA community. Since I took a break from EA for a while and my network is relatively small I'd thought it would be a useful experiment to pose this question publicly.
I'd love to see answers to this question from people currently working directly on high priority problems; especially if you're looking to hire people to work with you (or looking for collaborators or otherwise have recently thought about the talent needs for your particular problem area).
Personally I'm particularly interested in hearing about ways to improve the talent in AI safety work (both technical and governance) but I'm also interested in the general needs of the community so would want to hear about other fields (and think sharing them here is a good resource for others)
If you'd be interested in answering this question in a short call please let me know here and I'll email you.
If you know someone who might have a good answer to this question please refer them here
If you have models / takes on this already but aren't doing direct work, feel free to sound off and swap models in the comments
Here are a couple of prompts to help you answer the question.
- Is there someone in your field who you think is doing particularly valuable work. Why do you think so. Do you have any theories about what sets them apart?
- Are there roles in your problem area that are particularly difficult to hire for? Do you have a model of why? (e.g many people have this qualification but I just don't feel like I could rely on them to do X well, or I absolutely need someone with this experience / quality)
- When collaborating with people are there particular qualities that make a good collaborator? (Who do you do good work with and why? Who makes your work significantly better? Who would you love to work with?)
- Are there issues within your field which are not tied to finding people with particular qualities? (e.g people currently in the field don't talk to each other enough or it's hard to collaborate with other disciplines)
I'd like answers which are grounded in real needs for a given field rather than theoretical needs. For example 'I'd like to see more people who can do X without supervision' is good but ideally would be followed up by 'this was our main hiring constraint in the last year or so'