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Working out using VR really works

1. The amount I work out is not constrained by willpower anymore, it is constrained by how much my body can handle and how much free time I have
2. The best workout game I found is "thrill of the fight", I have some tips before you try it. Also, not everyone will like it
3. Trying a game for ~10 minutes isn't enough to "get it". Most games in VR aren't polished enough, don't have a good tutorial, it will take more time to decide if you like them
4. I wish someone would have told me this sooner
5. Still unclear: Can I build muscles using VR? So far seems promising, but I'm less certain about this part
6. I only have it for 2 weeks, so maybe you'll think I'm going to grow out of it, but I don't think so myself. It's literally playing games


8Yonatan Cale8mo
UPDATE: STILL ADDICTED. Yesterday I was feeling a bit bad (headache) but still tried to play as much as I can. AVOID THIS FAILURE MODE: I recommend not downloading games that are not workouts. I downloaded such a game and got addicted to it instead, spent a long time on it (it didn't make me tired, so I could play for a long time), and I didn't get the health benefits from it. (Why doesn't anyone give this warning?)
8Charles He8mo
So I did end up getting a Quest 2 based on this advice. The game, “Thrill of the Fight”, as you recommended, is exactly everything you say! It is fantastic for fitness and many other VR games seem promising. Not exactly scientific, but my sense is that this is a general sentiment (maybe there’s some subgroup that doesn't benefit and this is hard to see). It’s not obvious you could get such fitness benefits from VR. I think the information here is an incredible signal to noise, and really generous and transparent for you to share it.
4Charles He8mo
Off topic, but Ian Fitz, the dev who built "Thrill of the Fight" seems like a great guy. He is focused on a great product and seems to embody a lot of virtues (transparency, technical detail, being present in their community). Here’s some tidbits from him: * Controller physics and limitations [The “official guide”] (interesting technical detail) * Game scaling mechanics [] * The “official guide” [] At least in my limited experience, this is an huge amount of engagement and attention to detail.
2Charles He8mo
Can you give a little more information on the games/apps you found problematic? As you know, some games such as "Thrill of the Fight" are great exercise. Other games in this "healthy" class might include "Beat Saber" or "Pistol Whip". These might provide great exercise too, but I'm unsure. Was the above one of the problematic games, or was it something else? Also, have you tried "Supernatural" or other fitness apps?
7Yonatan Cale8mo
BEAT SABER & PISTOL WHIP: See here [] . FITXR This one is unusual: It's price is a subscription ($10/month, w a free trial). I like this because it gives the developers a strong incentive to keep me addicted for long. I played it a few times (the FitXR boxing mode specifically) and I like it. Intensity: I'd rate the workout as "medium to hard" and I wouldn't be surprised if it will become "as hard as I can take" PROBLEMATIC GAMES These were not fitness games, just some other non-fitness game that got me addicted. I assume that telling you its name would be a small info hazard because you'll be curious to try it, but if you message me, I'll give you the name SUPERNATURAL Didn't try it
Interesting! How often and for how many hours per week do you work out now in VR (and how many hrs not in VR per week now)? And how often and for how many hours did you work out per week before?
9Yonatan Cale9mo
Trying to answer your question: I estimate I do 30-60 minutes per day in VR, plus about 5 minutes without VR (doing TRX or pullups once in a while) Before VR: There is a ton of variance. At good weeks I'd do 2-3 rollerblade trips per week (each is several hours) plus ~10 minutes per day of something like pullups (which is also something I can say more about) [I haven't been in a "good week" for at least 3 months] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This questions seems a bit "wrong" because: 1. The intensity of the workout can be extremely high 1. 2-3 minutes in this specific VR game were enough to get my brother extremely exhausted for about half a day 2. My activity tracker (Oura ring [note it is optimized for sleep tracking, not workout tracking]) rates many VR sessions as "exceeds the hight of our chart", it is literally off the charts . Note this is higher than the hardest parts of rollerblade trips that I do with groups that are better than me and really like going up hills, followed by going up even more hills 3. My subjective experience matches this. I recognize when my body goes into extremely high pulse levels, and I can say more about sore muscles and so on 1. I am already able to do 3-5 rounds of this crazy game (3 minutes each), which would be unimaginable a few weeks ago 2. This means (A) I'm getting more fit, but also (B) the workouts are really short. I can currently tire myself out completely in about 15 minutes, which makes asking about "how much time I spend working out" like the wrong metric, I think 4. [Note you don't have to play this crazy game, or you can play it more calmly, if all of this sounds too extreme. But to me it is exciting] 2. The only reason I'm not working out right no
Thanks for the info! Yeah intensities of workouts matter too.
3Charles He9mo
This is really compelling. I'm pretty sold, more than from any product ad I can think of! (also thinking $FB might be undervalued?) Can you elaborate a bit more (in a few sentences) on the setup, e.g: * What headset or specific electronic gear do you use or recommend? * How much computing power is needed? * What physical space or equipment do you need (can you do it in an empty room or do you need a treadmill or something)?
7Yonatan Cale9mo
My setup is "oculus quest 2" (amazon link []) (I have the 128GB version though it doesn't seem like an important decision) with only the gear that comes out of the box, no need to even connect it to a computer. I think I might get some extra items like a fancy head strap [], but for now I'm using the default one and I'm pretty happy with it. physical space: You need a room with space. How much space: The game that requires most space that I saw so far is "thrill of the fight" which strongly recommends at least 1.5*2 meters (and I'd add a bit more in all directions to make sure you're not too close to punching a wall by mistake). Treadmill or something: I don't use anything like that, but also remember that there is an element of personal fit here, some people like treadmills, I don't. I'd like to add a few more things: * If I were you, I'd consider this "a promising direction to explore" and not "problem solved", because * I only have this for 2 weeks, I'm not an "expert". (But I'd hope that my friends would recommend this to me without waiting to be "experts", so here I am) * Lots of VR games are not polished, you might have to look for some that you like * This is an important mindset to keep in mind. As I like to say, "keep your expectations low and you'll be positively surprised" * Does boxing in VR ("thrill of the fight") sound like something you could potentially enjoy? This game is an outlier in how much of a good workout it is, as far as I can tell. * You could also try playing at a friend's place for a few hours before buying (or if none have it, then you'll find yourself showing it to them. :) ) * You'll have to spend some more money on games. Each game costs about $8 to $40 * For reviews, my friend recommends: https
3Charles He9mo
Thanks! This is really informative.
Stronger By Science is my go-to for the technical & academic questions on muscle-building. I think they would probably say no to building muscles with VR. They would still think working out using VR is a good idea though, if: 1) it helped you build an exercise habit; 2) you develop proficiency with specific movements ; and, 3) you become more body aware--all without getting injured. This is always a huge problem in the gym, especially for new people--there's a lot of learning the hard way and the resulting injuries set people back sometimes months or years. Here's their summary on strength-training:
1Yonatan Cale8mo
Thank you very much! Even just having a go-to for this topic is helpful for me
What are your tips?
2Yonatan Cale9mo
TIPS FOR THRILL OF THE FIGHT SAFETY 1. Configure the game (the "guardian") to keep some space from things like walls, so you won't punch them by accident 2. Don't straighten your elbow completely when you punch (keep it a bit bent), otherwise you might damage it in real life 1. For the same reason, don't do strange bad things with your posture, such as bending your spine sideways 2. Generally bad pain is bad, you know. 3. I can say more about this if it would help END YOUR FIRST ROUND EARLY, MAYBE Consider doing the first round for only 20 seconds or so to avoid becoming overly exhausted without noticing (this has happened to one person I saw). How to stop? * You can just take your headset off. If you're like me, you're totally going to forget this, but you can. * You can also "hug" your opponent for ~5 seconds to end the fight. TIPS THAT WOULD APPEAR IN A TUTORIAL, IF IT WOULD EXIST, I THINK Consider skipping this if you want to investigate the game's mechanics completely by yourself, hpmor style, but here goes: * I'd start by fighting the "dummy". You can see your stats on the right of the dummy, including how much damage your last punch did. Then go to "fight" * The game cares a lot about how strong you punch * Many punches you do will be too weak and do 0 damage * To see how much damage you did, check the color the punch when it hits (you'll see) * blue = zero damage * yellow = nice damage * red = a ton of damage * You can doge, including by ducking (great workout if you ask me) * You can block. If your opponent's punch hits your glove before it hits you, it will do zero damage to you * Professional boxers on Youtube say that this game is reasonably realistic (even if not perfect), I'd take that as a prior for most uncertainties that I have (mainly around what technique to use) * Consider startin
1Yonatan Cale9mo
OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GAMES FOR WORKOUTS BEAT SABER This is the most polished everyone-likes-it game as far as I can tell. The harder difficulties are not only cognitively harder, they are also better workouts. I recommend starting from the tutorial (and if you show the game to anyone: Don't explain it to them, just show them the Tutorial) Intensity: I rate it as "medium workout" PISTOL WHIP Similar to Beat Saber, but with guns (and less overall polished). As most games, it doesn't have a reasonably good tutorial (though I'd do what it has (nobody understands the "armor", don't worry)), and if a friend would start playing it, I'd give them a few pointers. Tell me if you want those Intensity: I rate it as "medium workout" SEE EXTERNAL RECOMMENDATIONS Like this one: [] I haven't tried almost any of them

Upvoting Is an Act of Community Building

It probably helps people feel welcome to the community.


For myself:

I've been mostly a lurker around international EA activities for about 5 years, feeling that all the orgs have some wow factor that I could never touch. I think this mostly changed because (A) I met some people in EAG (they were actually real people, which really surprised my brain), and (B) I got brave and posted something, and it got 70+ upvotes pretty quickly.

I know, this is stupid, I'm supposed to pretend not to care about upvotes, whatever. Looking back, I think this might have been pivotal for past-Yonatan's sense of being accepted into a community, of having someone in the important EA community care at all for.. I don't know, my attempts at helping? about me? And it lead me to, well, behave differently.

Looking at myself now, I am posting and commenting a lot, I have two more drafts almost ready to go (one for CEA! They asked me for something! Unimaginable if you'd ask me 6 months ago. I tried acting cool and said I'd be happy to help, if you're curious. Hey Ben if you're reading this! Ok I'm off topic).

Anyway if you're reading my shortform, you now know my "dark s... (read more)

EAG(x) tips

Epistemic status: I've been to 2 EAGs, both were pretty life changing, and I think my preparation was a big factor in this.

My tips:

Have some kind of vision

Take ~5 minutes to try to imagine positive (maybe impossible) outcomes. Consider brainstorming with someone. 

For example "org X hires me" or "I find a co-founder" or "I get funded" (these sound ambitious to me, but pick whatever's ambitious to you).

Bad visions in my opinion: "meet people", "make friends", "talk to interesting people". Be more specific, for example, if you'd meet your new best friend at EAG, what exactly would you do together? What exactly would you talk about? Better would be "Looking for someone to co-work in VR 3 times a week", if that's what friendship means to you.

Is anyone having trouble with the vision section? Let me know, I'll try to help

Swapcard #1 most important part

"how can I help people" + "how can people help me".

Be specific.

"I want to hire senior backend developers" is specific.

"I want to meet people" is pretty bad.

This is where your vision goes.

If you write your wish here, someone might make it come true! (aka Playa Provides)

Swapcard #2 most important part


Mark based on how you ... (read more)

4Yonatan Cale7mo
My story from my first EAG: []
Amazing! Things I would add for newcomers: 1. (If corrolated with your goals) Reach out to speakers/filter 10+ years of exp beacuse it is usually a good filter for people who you can learn from the most 2. Ask friends/EA staff who have already been to conferences if they can reccomend who to talk to 3. Order a motel close to the conference is usually very comfortable (use on booking filters: less than 1 mile + over 8 rating + best price to rating ratio) 4. Sleeping together with other members of your community is fun for feeling comfortable at the conferences, and having someone from 'back home' to share you experinces with (however, this might make it a comfort zone to not get to know other people)
2Yonatan Cale3mo
More (smaller/technical stuff) : 1. Swapcard data may be available in Google Sheets, which is way more comfortable to filter over (ask the EAG team) 2. You can manage your availability in swapcard, for people scheduling with you 1. You can narrow down your availability to your preferred slots and only then, if they get taken (or if someone doesn't find a good slot), open more slots. 2. How to manage your availability: "My Schedule" --> "My meetings" --> "MANAGE AVAILABILITY" 3. Probably schedule first to earlier-in-the-event, because you might discover you want to meet more people (or people will discover you) and it's better if you still have availability then 3. Swapcard will let you schedule 1-on-1s at the same time that you have events (boo) 4. Don't go partying at the evening if there's EAG the next day - these events are surprisingly exhausting, and sleeping well seems to be key, at least for me 1. Also, sleep really well before the event, and get flight tickets that will let you do that (if you're anything like me regarding sleep) 5. After EAG, there will usually be an after party, plan your schedule accordingly
2Yonatan Cale3mo
Busy EA's and their preferences [] for small talk if you have a question for them:
3Yonatan Cale3mo
Also []:
1Lorenzo Buonanno3mo
This talk is also pretty good!

Software for Ukraine

We just set up a tiny production system that helps coordinate busses for refugees from Ukraine using Whatsapp, with a UI in Google Sheets.

We built it on Tuesday, and already on Wednesday it was used to coordinate several busses.


7Yonatan Cale8mo
At least one person (from the overqualified team I worked with) is a person who'd probably pick up an EA software project if they'd know which one. This is one of the reasons I asked people to pitch ideas to EA CTOs [] (a post that I wish got a lot more attention)

Working at - what do you think?

A leading career option for me is joining them, and among other things rebuilding their tech (which is originally from 1991).

Thoughts? (consider forwarding this question to people involved in meta-science, that would help me!)


I specifically think:

  1. My professional interests and skillset are very well fitted for this kind of thing.
  2. I have some vision for improving arxiv, for example "let people tag an article as your-code-doesn't-run" (and upvote existing tags). I hope to disincentivize people from publishing nonsense (knowing that others will see whatever tag becomes most upvoted on their article).
    1. The dream would be to create a mature karma system like stackoverflow, where people could get reputation by things that help the community, and not only from publishing. Of course this is a very complicated thing to do, but arxiv are in a perfect position to do it.
  3. I'm not an academic, maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about
  4. Having EA run arxiv sounds potentially useful, maybe?
  5. Is advancing science bad because it will help get AGI sooner?



4Yonatan Cale4mo
Made this into a regular post [] , especially because it's becoming more real

If you're not applying to EA orgs because of too-low-salaries, tell them

Or anonymously:

Why tell them?

Because they don't know. "Why don't people apply?" - they ask. But this is basically a blind spot: If nobody gives them feedback, they won't know.

Are you not applying because of something else?

  • You're better fit for E2G?
  • The teams are too small?
  • There's no local team in your area?
  • Something else?

This is valuable information.

If enough people share this, it will save doing a user research project. Please be one of the people that shares, help understanding what's going on!

7Jonny Spicer7mo
From a software engineering point of view there are a couple of things that would potentially put me off applying to an EA-org: * Lack of mentorship (this is somewhat covered by your small teams point but this is the specific part that I think of). I'm sure this isn't true for all EA orgs but the appeal of ie FAANG is that I am very confident that I'll be able to get mentored by engineers at the top of the field, who likely already have a lot of experience mentoring, having good structures for mentors and are generally empowered to be great at that. * Small scope/scale for projects, particularly for frontend work. In SWE a big part of your career capital comes from being able to say you've worked on projects that are really big and/or really fast. There are plenty of fullstack jobs at EA orgs around at the moment but a lot of them are basically look after a website or build an app which will serve a niche community. I think there has been discussion before about SWEs feeling like EA orgs don't offer them enough career capital, but I can't remember where and it doesn't appear to have updated me much in favour of the EA orgs.
2Yonatan Cale7mo
Thank you!
  1. Scott Alexander had a really hard time evaluating donation causes
  2. EA has a ton of articles about how to evaluate charities

What's going on?

Should we stop writing these guides?

Do we need better guides?

Do we need some measure like "would this guide make Scott Alexander's work easier"?

Applicants to ACX grants were almost by definition not working on problems with well-established solutions (in EA or otherwise), eg nobody was applying for an ACX grant to distribute bednets. That made the grants more difficult to evaluate than many popular EA causes, and also made it hard to rely on previous work.

7Yonatan Cale9mo
1. Totally agree 2. The concern I'm raising is something like "our articles only help for [something like] well established solutions". Or in other words, there is no situation where [someone is able to vet an org and this was only true because of reading the article] The other example I have in mind is trying to help people in Israel find an impactful job, especially in tech. We can offer them 100 pages of theory on how to vet companies, but almost no concrete companies to recommend
If only someone was working on how to evaluate hard to evaluate projects
4Yonatan Cale9mo
Ref for others: []

I'm going to ask for funding

From my limited experience, it really helps to get recommendations.

If you think I am useful to EA, or if you have something similar to say that I may share with grantmakers, please comment here, or email, or DM, or something.

Thx ♥️ 🫣🐈

Having worked with Yonatan on various community-building efforts, and discussing many technical and nontechnical projects with him, I'm very optimistic about the value he can give if he has the resources and freedom to do so. Happy to serve as a reference. Main impressions: 1. He is very aligned and happy to sacrifice his time, money, and credit to do more good. 2. Very helpful to EA community members and organizations, and makes sure to be very pleasant and accessible. 3. Thinks clearer than most about ways of doing good, and acts based on the resulting logical conclusions, even if controversial. 4. Evidently, very open, honest, and direct. 5. Great quick-and-dirty approach to starting new projects. 6. Very independent, and knows how to solicit design requirements and quick feedback. 7. He may not be the most ridiculous EA in Israel, but he is close 🐱‍🚀⛸🥽 8. To work with him effectively long-term, one should have very open communication and give him the freedom to pursue the goals and directions he believes in. (Yonatan, I'm curious as to whether/how much you agree with these 😊)
Grantmakers are welcome to ask me for a reference. Yonatan is aligned and very dedicated, and is both knowledgeable about and helpful to many software engineers (see reviews here [] ). He's also been directly helpful to us with recruiting, and I've referred him to multiple EA org's who are trying to hire software engineers.

My attempt to help with AI Safety

Meta: This feels like something emotional where if somebody would look at my plan from the outside, they'd have obvious and good feedback, but my own social circle is not worried or knowledgable about AGI, and so I hope someone will read this.

Best bet: Meta software projects

It would be my best personal fit, running one or multiple software projects that require product work such as understanding what the users actually want.

My bottle neck: Talking to actual users with pain points (researchers? meta orgs with software proble... (read more)

4Dan Valentine5mo
It sounds like you’re a fairly senior software engineer, so my first thought is to look at engineering roles at AI safety orgs. There are a bunch of them! You’ve probably already seen this post, but just in case: AI Safety Needs Great Engineers. [] It sounds to me like you’re concerned about a gap between the type of engineering work you’re good at, and the type of engineering work that AI safety orgs need. This is something I’ve also been thinking about a lot recently. I’m a full stack developer for a consumer product, which means I spend a lot of time discussing plans with product managers, writing React code, and sometimes working on backend APIs. Whereas it seems like AI safety orgs mostly need great backend engineers who are very comfortable setting up infrastructure and working with distributed systems, and/or machine learning engineers. This suggests 2 options to me, if you want to stay focused on software engineering rather than research or something else: 1. Find a way that you can help using your existing skills. This sounds like your option A above, but to me option A reads like you want to work independently as a contractor or something? Idk, it sounds like you’re not too sure what it would look like in practice. But there are AI safety orgs that have job postings for full-stack or frontend/UX engineers. If this lines up with your skillset and personal fit, this could be a really good option. One example is Ought []. They’re unusual in the AI safety space in that they’re building a user-facing product, so all of the frontend skills that apply at any other startup would apply here. I know other AI safety orgs have frontend roles too, but I think they’re more focused on building internal tooling. 2. Build up your backend/infrastructure/ML skills enough that you could fill one
3Yonatan Cale5mo
What I'm good at: I think my experience is probably sufficient to apply to Anthropic or Redwood or any other place that doesn't need [] an ML background. Including my background in backend/infra. I did many "tech lead" roles where I was basically in charge of everything, so I'm up for that. What I enjoy: The thing I would be missing, I imagine, is the social interaction or something like that. I don't think I'd enjoy sitting on a hard problem for weeks/months alone, I imagine I'd be sad. Location: I don't want to relocate (at least not a fulltime relocation), so Anthropic is off the table
1Dan Valentine5mo
Why do you think that Anthropic or Redwood etc would be missing social interaction? I wouldn’t have assumed that… on the Anthropic post I linked they mention that they love pair programming.
2Yonatan Cale5mo
Anthropic and Redwood will [] hire you with zero ML experience so please don't spend time learning ML before applying [I think this deserves its own comment]
1Dan Valentine5mo
Yes, good point, I shouldn’t have included ML in the list of things to learn in option 2.
1Lorenzo Buonanno5mo
> Give me the obvious stuff I expect that people that read shortforms on the EA forum are not those that would give useful advice, and I think there are a lot of people that would be happy to give advice to someone with your skills Related, "my own social circle is not worried or knowledgable about AGI", might it make sense to spend time networking with people working on AI Safety and getting a feel for needs and opportunities in the area e.g. joining discussion groups? Still, random questions on plan A as someone not knowledgable but worried about AI 1. Why product work only for meta orgs? Random examples that I know you know about: Senior Software Engineer [] at Anthropic, and they were looking for someone to help with some dev tooling []. They seem to require product skills / understanding what the users actually need. (Not asking about Anthropic in particular, but non-meta in general) 2. What would make it easier to clear the bottleneck of talking to actual users with pain points? 3. What happened to the idea of internal prediction markets for EA orgs [] ? I think it has potential and an MVP could be simple enough, e.g. I received this proposal for a freelance project a few days ago from a longtermist (non AI safety) EA org that made me update positively towards the general idea Not sure if any of this helps, but I am really excited to see whatever you will end up choosing!
2Yonatan Cale5mo
I don't think it will help with the social aspect which I'm trying to point at -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think it's best if one person goes do the user research instead of each person like me bothering the AGI researchers (?) I'm happy to talk to any such person who'll talk to me and summarize whatever there is for others to follow, if I don't pick it up myself -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Could be nice actually -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I mean "figure out what AGI researchers need" [which is a "product" task] and help do that [which helps the community, rather than helping the research directly] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'm in touch with them and basically said "yes", but they want full time and by default I don't think I'll be available, but I'm advancing and checking it

The "Better Twitter that promotes high quality discussions" that everyone dreams about - might start from this shortform feature

Especially given the critical mass of people who have high quality discussions around here.

What do you think?

Are there important missing features that would make you transition your social network activity here?

Against "networking for the sake of networking"

I am talking about the situation where, for example, EA-1 will talk to EA-2 (for 30 minutes or so) with no goal other than "being able" to ask EA-2 for help in the future.

Nobody is acknowledging the cost here, to the entire community, of having lots of people going around doing this kind of networking and/or suggesting that others do it.

What I suggest instead: If you are an EA-1 and want help from an EA-2, directly ask the EA-2 for the specific help you need. If for some reason this kind of outreach didn't wor... (read more)

+1 karma but disagree. As I see it, the purpose of networking is to tell someone, "Hey, you seem cool. It looks like we share a non-zero amount of goals / values. No promises, but maybe I'll find out about a cool opportunity later that I'll share with you - although I don't have one at the moment." Supposedly, you're more likely to get introduced to a career opportunity by a casual acquaintance - maybe someone you had a college class with and are now friends with on LinkedIn - than a close friend. (Although of course this is weighting all of your acquaintances against just a handful of friends, but the implication is still that more acquaintances = more opportunities.)
2Yonatan Cale18d
Making sure we're on the same page: I'm talking about, for example, a student who is actively networking with senior people, hoping that one of the senior people will offer the student a job or something, without applying to these jobs. Do you agree this situation is negative?

4 EAG(x) events - and I still get a lot of value

Someone asked me "you already know the EA community, no? how come do you still get value from EAG?"

Well - I live in Israel. Contacting people from the international EA community is really hard. I need to discover they exist, email them, hope they reply, and at best - set up a 30 minute call or so. This is such high friction.

At EAG, I can run my project plans by.. everyone. easily. I even had productive Uber rides.

That's the value of EAG for me.

Use the "Who wants to be hired" post more effectively


1: Use buzzwords

Hiring managers are probably not reading through all profiles, they are probably running searches. If someone wants a backend dev, they're probably running a search for "developer", "software", "python", "backend", or whatever. 

If you don't have the buzzwords that [your target employer is going to search for], add them!

2: Separate your [skills+experience] from [what you want to do]

If you want to do something that you have no experience in - that's ok! But if you don't write it ... (read more)

Downvoting without explaining: An act of anti-community-building?



Remember the illusion of transparency. Whatever is bothering you might not be as obvious to others as it is to you.

You can still downvote, just remember it has emotional consequences

9Charles He8mo
I'm sorry for your experience, I tried to compensate for it a bit: I think your comment is modest and conscientious about it. So my guess with that happened is that people didn't like this statement: First off, I guess one reason people disagreed with this statement, is that in some views, it's very unlikely to be true. Myself, I have an aesthetic that the best things in the best instantiation of EA are really great and hard to see. So defining the frontier of EA by any one list doesn't make sense. Secondly, there are principled longtime EAs who have focuses that differ from the underlying priorities/worldview that drives interest in the FTX contest. So for these people, canonizing the list as the frontier of EA projects is objectionable. This objection is heightened by what they might see as the indirect way of going about it (note that the FTX leaders are careful not to do this). At the same time, these very views makes it hard to comment. My guess is that this sentiment drove your downvote, but I don't really know.

EA Orgs: Not enough people filling out your form? Maybe it has too many mandatory fields

TL;DR Philosophy: Adding mandatory fields means [saving time in calls you have with applicants] at the expense of [reducing the amount of applicants]. Is this a tradeoff you are interested in?

TL;DR recommendation: Make all the fields optional except for (1) CV/linkedin, and (2) email. Then, in the first call, ask whatever's missing

Q: But the fields help us filter

A: Yep, you'll get more bad applicants if you do this 

Q: What if we get too many applicants?

A: Then stop... (read more)

A lot of form builders record this automatically, as well. Typeform does, for example. (In case you are interested: the "Why are you a good candidate for the role(s) of ___" question you alluded to above causes a bit less than 1% of applicants to drop out of the CEA application form.)
1Yonatan Cale8mo
Ok, I stand convinced!
4Yonatan Cale8mo
Update: Somebody at EAGx told me that they didn't contact me virtually because I have too many fields in my Calendly [] (While I'm ranting about other people having too many fields in their forms)

EA Forum under rated feature: Subscribing to posts, either by author, or by tag

Brainstorm: How can I talk to EAs who are very senior software developers?

I'm working on understanding and solving problems around EA orgs having trouble hiring strong engineers, and for this I'd like to do some "user research".

I believe I already made progress in this area for EA, but I don't want to elaborate too much in case some developer will read this and it will bias my user research.

Could someone help me contact such people / suggest ideas on how I could do it?

It will be a ~15 minutes conversation (I'm flexible if you prefer interacting in some other way)

Open Philanthropy emailed me - I passed some screening for a position I am totally unqualified for

April Fools? X_X

My EA origin story

hpmor (read, translated)

Loved it, set up the Hebrew crowed sourced translation project, we translated everything and printed it. I estimate over 1000 people bought a copy, not counting online readers, and the number is probably way higher, which I'm really proud of :)

The sequences / Rationality A to Z (effected me a lot)

One of the most influential things I've read. While reading it:

  • I noticed I'm not happy in an important partnership and broke up. Main technique: slowly changing my mind
  • I decided that the meat industry is indeed bad, yep

Not... (read more)

Rant: How to make new employees sad they joined your company

TL;DR: To avoid predictably-sad employees, advertise your company honestly, including the bad parts.

Longer and more sarcastic:

How to make new employees sad: 

  1. Advertise your company as being perfect, including: Your culture, best practices, and team. Use vague sentences like "of course not everything is perfect", but hide the concrete negative things that could give new hires an accurate picture in advance
  2. Let them discover the real situation a few months after joining
  3. Act surprised

For me persona... (read more)

Personal Assistants provide more value than the time they save

Handling bureaucracy not only takes time: For some of us, it's stressful and icky and aversive.

I'd happily spend an extra hour building software (fun!) instead of spending that hour on paperwork (which would deplete my willpower for the rest of the day).

-Written in appreciation to all the PAs out there

2Dave Cortright8mo
I don't have direct experience, but others I know have successfully used Magic []

How is nobody stressed out about countries freezing the assets of an entire country, practically changing the records of the banks to something else? Are we confident this will only happen in situations that we think are good and moral?

[I'm not an economist]

Of course we can't be, but sanctions are also nothing new. And rogue countries like Russia also understand how sanctions work and would already use them if it could.

Thoughts about opening an EA startup

I'm doing this Twitter Style >>

2Yonatan Cale3mo
OPENING A STARTUP IS HARDER THAN MOST NON-FOUNDERS THINK Specifically, raising money from for-profit investors and being accountable to them - this is something I wouldn't do lightly. I think most people under rated how hard it is. I'm surrounded by founders, I feel it. My recommendation: Ask ~3 founders how hard it actually is to open a startup, before you decide it's probably exciting and fun. I think maybe this could be solved by raising money from EA and not from for-profit investors, but I don't know.
3Yonatan Cale3mo
3Yonatan Cale3mo
YOUR IDEA ISN'T MONITIZABLE? THAT'S GOOD! It might be the reason that nobody solved the problem you found so far. Specifically, solving tragedy of the commons situations, and other inadequate equilibria [] seem like promising situations to me. Where will the money come from? From EA funding. (Assuming you found something cost effective and so on) This is the first time in the world's history where people can get paid for solving problems that aren't monitizable, and I think this is exciting.
2Yonatan Cale3mo
ALMOST NOBODY "KNOWS WHAT THEY NEED TO KNOW BEFORE OPENING THEIR FIRST STARTUP" Many many founders have impostor syndrome. Trying to know everything, or "only" "everything that people tell you is basic knowledge" seems pointless, you'll never get there, especially if you plan on asking more people what they think you "definitely need to know" and keeping a list of topics to learn. It will never end. You've got to do Something Else Which Is Not That. My top recommendation would be "learn to ask for help"

The Neglected Consideration When Planning a Social Network:... Network Effects

Lots of people dream about better social networks that promote higher quality discussions, even me! Some challenges, like "which logo to pick", are things that can be solved along the way. Others, like "why would anybody join a social network if almost nobody is there?" are (I claim) a core part of the plan and need to be addressed in advance.

"If you give the same answer 5 times, write a post"

This isn't meant as discouragement, it is meant as "this is an important thing-not-to-ig

... (read more)
Thanks for insights. Now I am working a smaller idea - "EA directory of ideas" to address previous flaws from social network idea. It is many times simpler idea (than a social network) and solves many specific problems that exist right now. I am searching for feedback, wrote you a PM.

Edit: Solved

Anybody from Prague coming to EAGxOxford?

There's a product (an Oura Ring) that I ordered to Prague and I really want to pick up at Oxford if I can, but it's unclear how to make the delivery


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Meta Grant Making Idea

TL;DR: Get others to predict the grant maker's answer. But not with a prediction market.


Today an EA told me their funding request got rejected and they got no feedback about it. (Frustrating!)

They asked me to help them guess why they were rejected, and I offered some different ideas (one was "this specific fund doesn't know how to vet [some aspect of your idea]".

Wouldn't it be great if the original grant maker could review what I wrote, and respond with correct/incorrect, or maybe mark the part that was most correct if any?

This... (read more)

5Ozzie Gooen8mo
A few quick things: - I agree that many grantmakers don't have enough time to give much feedback, and that this leads to suboptimal outcomes. - I think it's pretty difficult for people outside these organizations to help much with what are basically internal processes. People outside have very little context, so I would expect them to have a tough time suggesting many ideas. - In this specific proposal, I think it would be tricky for it to help much. A lot of what I've seen (which isn't all too much) around grant applications is about people sharing the negative information they have about applicants. I imagine this would be exceedingly awkward to show publicly. If people want to help with the larger grantmaking process, some things they could do include: * Advise groups requesting money. See if you could provide useful feedback (I think many groups could use a bigger team of advisors) * Help newish people to write more content on the EA Forum and similar. This can be a proving ground for some grant organizations.
2Vincent van der Holst8mo
I'm the person Yonatan is referring to. His feedback and your general feedback are very helpful, so thank you for that! I have been a lurker within EA for years and will write more content on the EA forum, including requesting feedback on the idea (soon). Hopefully that will help, although I don't know because I didn't get feedback. Before I move into why I think grant makers should provide short feedback I want to be clear: I'm completely comfortable with being rejected and I completely understand that grant makers are very busy. Having said that, I think grant makers should feedback the applications they reject. It doesn't have to be more than 1-2 lines and one minute to write. I have applied to EA 6 months ago and got rejected and applied again last month and got rejected again. I had a lot of encouraging talks with EA's (although criticism as well) and was more convinced this was going to get funding. I have no idea if they hated the idea and they think it will never work, or if they think it doesn't fit them, they are not able to evaluate properly, etc. The potential impact of knowing why is very large. It might help me improve the idea, maximize the impact or pursue other paths that are more impactful and effective. I think that one minute feedback has a high expected value. Knowing why will also help me decide whether to reapply or not, either saving the grant makers future time if I don't or improving the idea so it has more impact if I do. Feedback might help EA get less reapplications of higher quality, increasing overall impact and reducing the time to review. Win-win?
3Yonatan Cale8mo
If I could ask EA Infra Fund one binary question about your grant, it would be "did you reject me because this idea is not in your domain?"
2Yonatan Cale8mo
Here's the full idea: []
7Ozzie Gooen8mo
Here's my super quick take, if I were evaluating this for funding: Startups are pretty competitive. For me to put money into a business venture, I'd want quite a bit of faith that the team is very strong. This would be pretty high bar. From looking at this, it's not clear to me promising the team is at this point. Generally, the bar for many sorts of projects is fairly high.
1Yonatan Cale8mo
Ok, for the record this is very far from my guess. The closest thing I said was "Intra Fund don't know how to evaluate startups, and specifically market places"
1Yonatan Cale8mo
Update: A grant maker [Edit: They said this is a bad description of them] told me why this wouldn't work
1Cillian Crosson8mo
Are you able to relay what they said about why it wouldn't work?
1Yonatan Cale8mo
I asked for permission now to share it
1Yonatan Cale8mo
See Ozzie's comment [] above