EA has an elitist image which may be putting people off the movement. I propose a podcast, Backyard EA, exploring how people can run independent projects that make a significant difference without earning-to-give or an EA career. The post ends with an appeal for feedback.
Motivation for the Podcast
- Increased interest in EA careers is good for EA organizations, but it may have counterproductive side-effects
- The EA movement’s focus on earning-to-give and EA careers has historically struggled to accommodate non-hyper-achievers
- Those not earning-to-give or in an EA career feel left out or like they are “all talk”
- EA podcasts typically feature guests at the top of the field: there is a gap for a show that celebrates the more “everyday” side of EA work
- There is some great written advice on independent projects, but I can’t find video/audio content on the subject. This seems like a missed opportunity - some people report being overwhelmed by the amount of reading they feel they should be doing.
- Independent projects, even when unsuccessful, are an excellent way to build skills and experience, and therefore become more effective. Let’s celebrate that!
- I have experience in running an interview podcast (~20 episodes) and feel that I have sufficient skills to make a good product
This would be an interview podcast featuring one or more guests per episode.
Possible episode types could be:
- A tour through the lifecycle of an independent project, given by the person who ran it (Person X on her innovative university outreach idea // Person Y on how he used the effectuation model to build his malaria app project)
- An EA expert giving their slant (The creator of the EA Forum on why contributing can be so powerful // A Longtermist on their favorite small EA projects that are helping the future, now! // An EA org founder on the early failures that made them a success // Someone from 80k hours on how to balance direct work with long-shot job applications )
- Community edition: listeners share their latest project ideas
The podcast could grow into a larger community with:
- online and in-person events
- a website with write-ups of independent projects
- a forum for seeking and giving feedback/assistance on projects
- A low-quality show could give the EA movement a bad name
- Untested, amateur guests are likely to be of inconsistent quality
- The show could distract listeners from better EA media
- Applying for EA jobs may come with a sufficiently high expected value that the podcast could be net-negative by distracting people from this
- The show may encourage people to aim too low or specialize too soon - young EAs should choose projects carefully
- There may be better ways for me to maximize my priorities (increasing my immediate impact, personal growth & becoming more embedded in the EA community)
Give me your feedback on Backyard EA!
I am particularly interested in:
- Feedback on the strongest/weakest arguments for making the show
- Suggested changes to the show format
- Ideas for research/thinking I can do to refine the project
- Ideas for episodes & suggestions for guests
- Advice on how to build an audience by tapping into EA networks