Hide table of contents

I own a company that's closely related to EA. We've been vocal about that relationship and actively acquanting and educating our customers about EA. Almost all of our customers and employees are non-EA's, we operate B2C and we are for-profit. 

I no longer think it's in the best interest of my company, and its impact and future survival odds, to have a visual relationship with EA. I do continue to believe its very good to acquaint and educate people about EA principles, but I just think it's too risky associating with it publicly now. I have already been worried about the optics of longtermism (although I'm a longtermist), flying students to conferences and having them stay in fancy hotels (although I believe that to be high EV) and everything immoral Elon Musk does in the name of longtermism, but I could deal with and defend that. However, FTX seemingly plagueing fraud to move more money to effective causes is something I know I won't be able to defend (even when that's high EV), and seems like a net-negative thing to be associated with. 

I realize that asking this question might be bad because it could persuade other people and companies to be silent EA's.  I also think for some that might be the highest EV course of action. 

I'm not new to this forum, but I've chosen to post this anonymously. I look forward to reading your arguments around this question. 




New Answer
New Comment

3 Answers sorted by

I think you might now be overreacting to recent negative news; but before then you were probably overreacting to positive news. I do recommend building your own culture and brand for a company.

At Wave, we touch on EA in our mission and certainly did a little bit of hiring through EA aligned venues; but our mission is both simple to explain and largely independent of the whims of EA movement stuff. I think that's the way it should be; it was a deliberate choice for us and I think has served us well.

I don't think so. Normally I'm not a fan of reacting to the news, but here's the thing. This event could very well turn into a catastrophic risk for EA in the PR realm, and the consequences for things like EA and quantitative thinking could be disastrous. It certainly makes sense to bring in PR resources now.

Certainly makes sense to bring in PR resources, but let’s be clear that much worse ethical scandals than “One rich guy who donated to this turned out to have committed fraud” have frequently failed to destroy social movements. This will probably hurt EA, but is unlikely to permanently ruin its reputation unless it leads EAs to disaffiliate themselves from the movement to avoid negative PR—i.e. if most of its supporters are more concerned about optics and signaling than doing good.

The only way EA can be destroyed is if EAs, not non-EAs, abandon it.

The core of EA has always been about using our the most of our will and the best of our reason to do the most good we can. So you can be "EA" even if you disagree with many directions the community has decided to go or forgot, and if individual actors, even powerful members, have made choices you disagree with. For a while, I have disagreed strongly with some of decisions by elites in the EA community, but this commitment to a robust community of different, conflicting voices, with a shared commitment to doing good the best we know how, is what we are about.

So, it might not be the easiest to be associated with EA due to the recent SBF news, but I think it's probably important to show your commitment. And if anyone asks you, it's not about any one billionaire or group of people, but rather about you and your business's commitment to a set of principles.

I think this is a good question to think about. I agree it would continue to be great to endorse the principles rather than the movement. I personally have wondered to what extent I personally and our company should endorse EA, because some of its associations are good, and others maybe not so much. I ended up sometimes talking about EA, but mostly talking about the principles and not actively saying the company or I are EA's. I see a lot of EA aligned companies taking the same approach. This seems like it might be good for both the company, and perhaps al... (read more)

Yeah, I think this question is pretty interesting and worthwhile pondering about at least a little bit.

I think that one could take the perspective that the whole FTX situation is presenting EA in a bad light BECAUSE FTX has had a very visible connection to EA with most people (including me) being very enthusiastic about this. I think it’s safe to say that few were considering potential downsides of such associations. It seems like this whole situation can become a watershed moment for the whole community to look at the sources of where “our” money is coming from more critically. Maybe we need new vetting mechanisms or at least be more careful about “praising” large donors.

It’s gonna be interesting to see how this develops!

Curated and popular this week
Relevant opportunities