David Mears

Topic Contributions


The Inner Ring [Crosspost]

It’s a great speech - when you’ve time it’s maybe worth adding a summary so people know if they want to read it.

Tl;dr Social status is very attractive to some people, maybe most, but you should know that it’s not as rewarding ultimately as it appears, due to a kind of hedonic treadmill. Relevance to EA: notice when you are making decisions based on how it will get you access to The Cool People rather than on what you value

EA and the current funding situation

I turned this into a question. Maybe someone will answer: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/piLpBkxFyGcnvT6fA/what-is-meant-by-infrastructure-in-ea

What is meant by 'infrastructure' in EA?

I have trouble parsing what people mean when they say this word, and so do others.


I’m not sure what you mean by ‘bandwidth’, each time you use it.

Companies with the most EAs and those with the biggest potential for new Workplace Groups

You might also consider using Swapcard (the event app used for EA Globals) as a way to find companies with many EAs in them.

Future Matters: March 2022

I couldn't find the podcast on CastBox (which I use). I see that it's the 15th most popular medium for listening to podcasts in the US in 2019-20.

According to the data I was using, it seems Pandora and Audible are the objectively best mediums to target next with the podcast, but I have a vested interest in you allowing me to listen to it on the app I use.

Short term feedback, long term consequences?

It's a broad question, but I think feedback that isn't tied to 'real world' events is out of scope. I'm thinking of how for example a startup might make a product, put it in front of users, and then find out some need they hadn't thought of in advance.

I’m Offering Free Coaching for Software Developers in the EA community

Talking with Yonatan has been extremely helpful to me. We've mainly communicated by Telegram voice notes and messages. He guided me through a jobhunt period, and helped me refine my plans, partly by giving feedback, partly by letting me ramble into a voice note until I had rubber-ducked myself into progress, and partly by introducing new frames for thinking about decisions I was making. It was useful to have someone to talk to who understood my motivations quite well (EA), but was at an objective distance (3000 miles), and who had relevant expertise and good thoughts. 

Some things I appreciate about Yonatan:

  • He asks good questions. Including tough questions.
  • Yonatan takes care to elicit my thoughts about things before offering thoughts of his own. This is good firstly because the exercise of advising myself turns up some good ideas and Yonatan is not omniscient, and secondly because copy-pasting other people's viewpoints without knowing how they got there is less useful (less generalizable and less debuggable) than imparting generative mental 'frameworks' or 'tools'.
    • One 'frame' that has stayed with me is the idea that in some situations, even if there is a small chance of someone being willing to grant your request, it might still be worth it to ask, because they might say yes, and if you don't ask, they definitely won't say yes.
    • Another example of a 'frame'. Yonatan caused me to pay much more attention to how I was feeling about things (strategies, decisions), in a quasi-therapeutic way, because he believes that my feelings carry useful information, which seems true.
  • We have an informal dialogue more than a didactic or one-sided dynamic.
  • He is keen to be told how he is doing, and how his thoughts are being received, in order to incorporate the feedback. He is keen to tailor the relationship to my needs and focus on the topics that are most important, even if they are not necessarily about technology.
  • I felt able to be unusually honest and open about my thoughts/motivations/fears/insecurities/shortcomings.

As a result of our conversations, I feel I approached my jobhunt-related decisions in a 10x more systematic way than I otherwise would have, and I have more mental models to make future decisions with.

In summary, I highly recommend talking to Yonatan, in case he can help you.

Background about me: I am a developer with 2 years experience, now in my second job.

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