BrianTan

Group Support Contractor @ Centre for Effective Altruism
Working (0-5 years experience)

Bio

Participation
5

I work as a Group Support Contractor at the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA). I also am a co-founder and advisor of EA Philippines. I was on a community building grant from CEA to work full-time on EA Philippines in 2021. I was formerly a Senior Product Designer at First Circle, a FinTech company in Manila. You can reach out to me at brian.tan@centreforeffectivealtruism.org or add me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianctan/.

Sequences
1

EA Philippines' CBG Achievements + Future Plans

Comments
456

Topic Contributions
6

How I learned about EA and how EA Philippines started

I’m Brian, co-founder of EA Philippines, and a recipient of a community building grant from the Centre for Effective Altruism. I think some people might be curious about how I first found out about and got interested in effective altruism, since this is a question a lot of EAs ask to other EAs. So I decided to write this Shortform post. I’ll also talk below about how we started EA Philippines.

I first found out about EA through the 80,000 Hours website in 2017. I was helping organize an event called the ASES Bootcamp for Career Design, a three-day conference that aimed to give Filipino students career advice on how to be great designers, marketers, coders, and entrepreneurs.

I posted on social media about the event, and a friend of mine sent me the link to 80,000 Hours, since he said it might be relevant for me to read for organizing the bootcamp. I ended up reading the entire 80,000 Hours career guide online, and I found it really interesting. I was already drawn to making a large impact with my life before reading 80,000 Hours, but I mainly thought about doing this through creating or joining a startup, or through content creation. 

80,000 Hours helped me realize that there are other high-impact career paths out there, and that there’s more pressing problems to solve than the ones I had in mind. I think the two top problems I wanted to solve at the time were helping people become more productive (i.e. through creating productivity-related tools or content), and helping people join or start startups, neither of which were in 80K’s top paths or problems. 

However, no one else I talked to about 80,000 Hours or EA was as interested in it as me back then. As such, I didn’t do much about my interest in effective altruism. However, I think 80,000 Hours played a role in how I crafted a life mission for myself later that year in 2017, which is to help people at scale. I made this my mission statement because I looked up to people, such as entrepreneurs and content creators, who were able to help millions or billions of people at scale. I wanted to emulate them with my life.

How we started EA Philippines

In the middle of 2018, I was about to enter my final year in my undergraduate degree in the Ateneo de Manila University, and I was thinking that I should start re-planning my career given that I was going to graduate soon. As such, I re-read the 80,000 Hours career guide, and got interested again in effective altruism because of that.

So in around August 2018, I searched on Facebook if there was an Effective Altruism Philippines or Manila, and there was none yet. However, I then searched again around October 2018, and suddenly there was already a Facebook page for Effective Altruism Manila, which we later renamed to Effective Altruism Philippines, with only around 40 likes.

I decided to message the page and found out that it was just one person running it - Kate Lupango. I met up with her and she invited Tanya Quijano, someone who she was told was also interested in effective altruism. Soon after, we decided to start organizing events under the name Effective Altruism Philippines, and our group has grown a lot since then. You can read about our progress in 2019 here.

In 2019, while helping run EA Philippines, I was interested to invest more time in learning more about EA. I listened to a lot of 80K podcast episodes, and read a lot of EA and EA-related books. I was just listening to these for fun. Little did I know that this knowledge would be very valuable for me for a job.

If you want to learn more about how EA Philippines got a community building grant, you can read this post.

No worries, and I'll keep an eye on it! Sorry, I missed out on your last question. During our first year, I think we viewed EA Philippines as a serious organization trying to market EA via well-run events (i.e. with speakers), rather than as a small, tight-knit community. Moreover, it was only in November that we started to feel we had enough regular attendees (i.e. 15-20) to organize a socials.

Looking back, we could have done one or two more social meetups that year. I only say one or two because I think other types of events (especially discussions of EA readings, like for an intro fellowship) are generally higher value than socials. I see higher value in socials now than in our first year, although Manila traffic can make it hard for people to meet in-person. I think it's fine for your group to have a monthly social gathering.

In case you (or others) didn't know, you can find the top Shortform posts every month or every year at https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/allPosts, below the list of top posts. (There doesn't seem to be a way to see the top ones all time though.)

Hey Mike, thanks for the kind feedback, and thanks for helping EA South Korea!  I can answer your questions:

  1. That $2,400 was via CEA's group support funding. You're correct though that the link is now different and is now here

    I now work for CEA as a group support contractor, and I process group support funding applications. EA South Korea can apply for group support funding from CEA for any expenses within our common expense guidelines
  2. Yes, I did speak. I don't remember it well, but I think I gave an intro to EA and EA Philippines. I may have given reasons on why they should engage with EA Blue too.
  3. Good question - I think we wanted people who were more certain they could go, so we decided to charge for it. We only charged around $12-16 for it. Possibly if we were to organize one again, we could consider not charging for it and using funding from CEA or the EA Infrastructure Fund for it.
  4. We were mostly asking them questions about their interest in EA and their career, and getting to know our members on a personal level. We weren't giving much career advice back then, or we caveated things more given we were still learning things about EA. For resources on doing 1-1's, you can check this guide or this

Cool to see this is happening - when is the deadline for people to apply?

Cool opportunity! I assume that EA knowledge is not a requirement at all?

Your group can hold a watch party of the movie about Petrov: The Man Who Saved the World. Then maybe discuss it a bit after!

The title should be Rotterdam instead of Rottedam :)

Edited to add: Thanks for fixing!

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