Ben_West

Division Manager: Forum and Events at CEA. Non-EA interests include chess, TikTok, and applying science to things it isn't usually applied to.

TikTok: @benthamite

Sequences

EA Retention

Comments

Meta-EA Needs Models

Thanks for sharing this! 

Feels like all the top people in EA would have gotten into EA anyway?

Possibly you don't endorse this statement and were just using it as an intro, but I think your interlocutor's response (1) is understated: I can't think of any products which don't benefit from having a marketing department. If EA doesn't benefit from marketing (broadly defined), it would be an exceptionally unusual product.

I imagine taking my best guess at the "current plan of meta-EA" and giving it to Paul Graham and him not funding my startup because the plan isn't specific/concrete enough to even check if it's good and this vagueness is a sign that the key assumptions that need to be true for the plan to even work haven't been identified.

For what it's worth, CEA's plans seem more concrete than mine were when I interviewed at YC. CLR's thoughts on creating disruptive research teams are another thing which comes to mind as having key assumptions which could be falsified.

A ranked list of all EA-relevant (audio)books I've read

I'm glad I could help. Feel free to quote me in the annual Rethink Priorities impact analysis.

Resources on the expected value of founding a for-profit start-up?

Some things not mentioned above:

  1.  https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w9109/w9109.pdf
  2. Baum, Joel AC, and Brian S. Silverman. "Picking winners or building them? Alliance, intellectual, and human capital as selection criteria in venture financing and performance of biotechnology startups." Journal of business venturing 19.3 (2004): 411-436.
    http://www.library.auckland.ac.nz/subject-guides/bus/docs/PickingWinners2004.pdf
  3. Agrawal, A., Kapur, D., McHale, J., 2008. How do spatial and social proximity influence knowledge flows? Evidence from patent data, Journal of Urban Economics, 64. 
  4. Zacharakis, Andrew L., and G. Dale Meyer. "The potential of actuarial decision models: can they improve the venture capital investment decision?." Journal of Business Venturing 15.4 (2000): 323-346.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0883902698000160
  5. Keely, Robert H. Determinants of new venture success before 1982 and after a preliminary look at two eras. Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa, Universidad de Navarra, 1989.
    http://www.iese.edu/research/pdfs/DI-0173-E.pdf
  6. Chrisman, James J., Alan Bauerschmidt, and Charles W. Hofer. "The determinants of new venture performance: An extended model."
  7. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 23 (1998): 5-30.
    http://misweb.cbi.msstate.edu/~COBI/faculty/users/jchrisman/files/autoweb/mgt8123/MGT8123(Chrismanetal.,ETP,1998).pdf
  8. Ross Levine, Yona Rubinstein, Smart and Illicit: Who Becomes an Entrepreneur and Do They Earn More?, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Volume 132, Issue 2, May 2017, Pages 963–1018,
    https://economics.uchicago.edu/workshops/Rubinstein%20Yona%20Smart%20and%20Illicit.pdf
  9. J. Robert Baum, Edwin A. Locke, and Ken G. Smith, 2001: A Multidimensional Model of Venture Growth. AMJ, 44, 292–303 http://www.taranomco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/247.pdf
  10. Experimentation and the Returns to Entrepreneurship. Gustavo Manso
    https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/documents/Gustavo.pdf

Note that many of these are trying to test some model of venture success, and only calculate things related to EV as a subcomponent of that project. So it might not always be easy to answer the question you're actually trying to answer here.

Also, it's surprisingly hard to define "startup", and some of the variance in these estimates comes from using different reference classes.

EA Debate Championship & Lecture Series

This is a really great idea. Thanks for organizing this and writing up the results. A couple questions:

Overall, we feel we managed to achieve deep and positive engagement with tournament participants, but haven’t yet cracked the question of how to properly engage (more shallowly) with the broader debating community.

I'm curious about the "deep" engagement aspect. You mentioned that there was the Facebook group – have people continued to engage in other ways? E.g. attending meet ups or reading this forum.

high probability that within a decade or so we can expect members of this audience to be in global positions of influence makes the community a great outreach target

Do you know of anything which has measured this? I'm imagining something similar to how 80 K analyzed predictors of becoming an MP. It seems plausible to me that top debaters are disproportionately likely to gain positions of influence, but I'm not well calibrated on how big of an effect this is.

A ranked list of all EA-relevant (audio)books I've read

I read Command and Control on your recommendation and it inspired my most popular EA TikTok to date. (150,000 views).

How much does performance differ between people?

Data from the IAP indicates that they can identify the top few percent of successful inventions with pretty good accuracy. (Where "success" is a binary variable – not sure how they perform if you measure financial returns.)

How much does performance differ between people?

(Although I wonder what evidence indicates they can reliably tell the top 5% from those below, rather than they just think they can).


The Canadian inventors assistance program provides a rating of how good an invention is to inventors for a nominal fee. A large fraction of the people who get a bad rating try to make a company anyway, so we can judge the accuracy of their evaluations.

55% of the inventions which they give the highest rating to achieve commercial success, compared to 0% for the lowest rating. 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227611370_Profitable_Advice_The_Value_of_Information_Provided_by_Canadas_Inventors_Assistance_Program 

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Thanks for the suggestion! I've updated the title

Why Hasn't Effective Altruism Grown Since 2015?

I think maybe I was confused about what you are saying. You said:

 I think this applies to growth in local groups particularly well... While I've no doubt that many of the groups that have been founded by people who joined since 2015*, I suspect that even if we cut those people out of the data, we'd still see an increase in the number of local groups over that time frame- so we can't infer that EA is continuing to grow based on increase in local group numbers.

But then also:

Fwiw, this seems like more direct evidence of growth in EA since 2015 than any of the other metrics

In my mind, A being evidence of B means that you can (at least partially) infer B from A. But I'm guessing you mean "infer" to be something like "prove", and I agree the evidence isn't that strong.

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