When we plan EA Globals or other EA conferences, we (the CEA Events Team) do what we can to create valuable experiences for all attendees. But the most important factors in what attendees get out of any given conference are their own choices.

We don’t know what works best, but we do want to, so we would love to hear from you.

To that end, we’d really appreciate posts that summarize your experience at EA Global: London 2021 (whether as an in-person or as a virtual attendee), what you did to make sure it was valuable, and anything you would change in the future.

If you are considering writing a post like this or have a draft, feel free to send it to Lizka by Forum DM if you would like any feedback or encouragement. (Note that this is fully optional.)

If we get a post (or posts) that we end up deciding to share with all registered attendees for the next EA Global conference, we will happily reward the writer(s) with $500 and our gratitude. To submit a post like this, simply tag it “Effective Altruism Global” and publish it on the Forum by December 20, 2021. Note that we’ll probably only end up sharing 0 to 2 posts total, and recommend that you not spend more than a couple of hours on a post like this unless you find it personally valuable.

Things to consider including

  1. How you prepared for EA Global: London 2021
  2. What you did and found most valuable during the conference
  3. How you followed up with people
  4. How all of this went for you
  5. Whether you wish you had done anything differently

If you only have time for something shorter— even just a comment— please share that, anyway! People have found reflections like this extremely valuable in the past, and if nothing else, it will help us compile a list of tips and things to keep an eye out for.

Some cool posts on this topic

25

2 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 12:36 AM
New Comment

TL;DR: EAG affected how I see EA and my activity in it.

I'll write a drafty version here based on your questions:

How you prepared for EA Global: London 2021

Mainly: I wrote a post inviting people to talk to me about a very specific topic (software careers).

I also wrote a swapcard profile inviting specific conversations, mainly about side projects of mine, inviting people to either comment on them or use the services that I'm offering in each project. I also thought of this as checking product-market-fit: Do people actually want what I think they want?

What you did and found most valuable during the conference

  1. I had 8 conversations with potential mentees.
  2. I had a meeting with some "high ranking" EAs, and following at least one of those conversations (which I won't elaborate on without permission), it clicked for me that "the people running EA are only humans" and that "I can do it too". I don't expect what I wrote here to resonate with anyone, we've all read it before, and that's exactly the point: There was something about actually seeing it, actually hearing it, that I don't think I could by reading an article.
  3. I met a friend who I only know from video calls. I discovered he's really tall.

How you followed up with people

I sent everyone relevant my calendly+Telegram. 

How all of this went for you

  1. Keeping conversations open is working well.
  2. The first mentoring conversations were valuable because I was really worried about culture gaps, and face-to-face is high-bandwidth. Note I am comparing them here to starting with video calls
  3. The focus on "I must post this before EAG" forced me to get the post out already, which "got me out of my shell".
  4. That was my first post, and since then I've been reasonably active here in the forum
  5. Which has also led to people talking to me about EA and Software, which is.. exactly what I want!!
    1. I really want to get to know people in the global community, but I also think that posting something like "I'd be happy to talk about anything!" would have been too generic and wouldn't work. (It would also be less fun for me than talking about what I'm most interested in)
    2. This might lead to something more concrete (like working with people on software projects), though - who knows
  6. Some of the conversations were really fun. For example, with one founder, we walked around and did user testing with people in the conference. (Did two people ask you about a travel related startup? Those were us!). This also would not have happened through video.

Whether you wish you had done anything differently

After 2 days of the conference, with only one more day to go, I understood I am focusing almost entirely on "helping others" with almost zero "helping myself". Until then, I told myself that this WAS helping me: It was helping me discover if some of my side projects had a future.

At the evening of the second day I told myself "I am just intimidated by the 'important' people here", this is a known psychological failure mode of mine, and it's better to just reach out anyway and let them filter me if they want to. So I sent out many messages to 'important' people that I wanted to talk to, especially to get career advice for myself. Almost none of them wanted to talk to me (that's ok!), but one did, and that talk made a big difference (see point 2 at "What you did and found most valuable during the conference").

I wish I have reached out earlier.

 

Adding: I also wish I had more quality time with people from my local community, but we were all SO EXAUSTED. Wow, nobody talks about how exhausting it is to have a whole day of 1-on-1s