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We just published an interview:  Benjamin Todd on the history of 80,000 Hours. You can click through for the audio and related links.

Episode summary

The very first office we had was just a balcony in an Oxford College dining hall. It was totally open to the dining hall, so every lunch and dinner time it would be super noisy because it’d be like 200 people all eating below us.

And then I think we just had a bit where we just didn’t have an office, so we worked out of the canteen in the library for at least three months or something. And then it was only after that we moved into this tiny, tiny room at the back of an estate agent off in St Clement’s in Oxford.

One of our early donors came and we gave him a tour, and when he came into the office, his first reaction was, “Is this legal?”

- Benjamin Todd

In this episode of 80k After Hours — recorded in June 2022 — Rob Wiblin and Benjamin Todd discuss the history of 80,000 Hours.

They cover:

  • Ben’s origin story
  • How 80,000 Hours got off the ground
  • Its scrappy early days
  • How 80,000 Hours evolved
  • Team trips to China and Thailand
  • The choice to set up several programmes rather than focus on one
  • The move to California and back
  • Various mistakes they think 80,000 Hours has made along the way
  • Why Ben left the CEO position
  • And the future of 80,000 Hours

Who this episode is for:

  • People who work on or plan to work on promoting important ideas in a way that’s similar to 80,000 Hours
  • People who work at organisations similar to 80,000 Hours
  • People who work at 80,000 Hours

Who this episode isn’t for:

  • People who, if asked if they’d like to join a dinner at 80,000 Hours where the team reminisce on the good old days, would say, “Sorry, can’t make it — I’m washing my hair that night”

Producer: Keiran Harris
Audio mastering: Ryan Kessler and Ben Cordell

Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue, original 1924 version” by Jason Weinberger is licensed under creative commons




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