ElliotJDavies

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Coordination within EA: community & ecosystems

Always nice to have a strong feeling about something and have your argument confirmed and strengthened by others.

I would say, there's a lot of work to do in this space. I am happy to hear about the 2 recent CE charities pointing in this direction, and many more are needed. 

One thing I would note here, I suspect that  non-scalable solutions (e.g. headhunting) might not be able to keep up with demand in the foreseeable future. This would be because community building is particularly tractable, and the current level of efforts and money being put into community building could mean that it could grow faster than other parts of EA. The end result would that the types of infrastructure discussed above would continue to be out of reach for the majority of EA's on the local level. 

For this reason I suspect that local groups will have to build a lot of the services discussed here (skills training/headhunting/career planning) for themselves. Therefore I think we are locked into a trajectory of EA being a movement where most activity (research/learning/networking/jobs) exists in local groups, something most EA's would find unimaginable at the moment.

Introducing 'Playpumps Productivity System'

I recognise this is a bit tongue and cheek, but I would like to share how crazy helpful things like this can be. A few times in my life now I've used beeminder.com (something similar to what's described here) to build or crack habits.

One difference services like beeminder offer, compared to what's described here, is the daily accountability aspect, which enables (healthy) habit formation. I think the daily aspect it's nearly as important as the accountability aspect, as it very quickly becomes about protecting your "streak".

If this is one step towards building an EA habit formation program, I'm 100% on board. I could very much imagine getting EAs to follow through ideas with actions to be high impact, and worth someone's time.

(Video) How to be a less crappy person

I would like to politely push-back on this: 

- I wonder if it's counter to productive to talk about "one minute in" considering this may be received by OP as reactive, impatient and the like. I like to think EA values patience, and appreciates complexity which "one minute in" may not fully capture. This makes an EA watching carefully made EA content sound a bit like Simon Cowell. Which is ironic, because most of us do not have the skills to video edit or script write. 

- Discussing how well this will motivate change, I think you may be undervaluing humor, scale and the value derived from targeting new people 

- Lastly, I may be alone here, but I am concerned with EA community becoming a little too quickly bound to norms and rules. I would be afraid we could quickly become a dogmatic and siloed group. I would argue the approach in the video above is unique/diverse in the community, and that there is strong value in that 

With the above being said, I would be also concerned about the possibly drawbacks of strong, argumentative tones - which can quickly become all consuming, from what I have seen in the past. 

 

EA Creatives and Communicators Slack

Wow you guys are pretty huge no? Would be interested to hear how you are thinking of going about the process of becoming more EA-aligned. 

[Podcast] EA Forum Podcast: Narration of "How much does performance differ between people?"

Hey, I think this  is a great idea and certainly providing great value! I have added to my feed 

[Podcast] Suggest a question for Ben Todd

Hi Luca, thanks for presenting this opportunity. A question about career choices:
 

I currently live in Denmark and am an active member of EA Denmark. One thing that strikes me is that many of our most committed members go off to other countries, particularly the UK or US to make an EA career. Is this a sensible decision in terms of impact? 

My thinking is, although matchmaking possibilities are better in a bigger country (i.e. not many cultured meat companies in DK). Much of what pushes people to move abroad might be "bigger country = bigger impact",  without considering that there is  (in a best case scenario) a  linear scaling of competition for said impact. In short, that it may be better to be a "big fish in a small pond". Especially in small Scandinavian countries that have more functional politics than the UK & US, and lots of other benefits in the same line. 

Update on the 0.7% (£4bn for the poor)

Hej Sanjay, 

Thanks for your work on this. I saw your last post and emailed my MP, who has so far written back with the "party line". 

Some thoughts I have on the strategy. 

When looking at a neglected fields, we are gifted with the ability to  use scalable and linear thinking effectively. Much of the world does not have mosquito nets? Well, we can just make mosquito nets, lots of them, for cheap. - Scalable and linear. Empirical studies  fit onto this well, because it is big and clunky. Empiricism requires control and large amounts of time. It is not very good at assessing things on small scale and where variables are shifting and changing. 

When working competitively,  linear and scalable thinking are less helpful. Though not to say they don't help at all. Competitive thinking needs to be iterative and dynamic. Feedback is faster, and harder to assess empirically. Strategies cannot be too linear,  as a competitive opponent  will quickly learn what you are doing. 

Politics seems to be a competitive field to me. There are voices with opposing viewpoints trying to push forward. 

I have probably been inspired to write this by the concept book "the third door". The metaphor given is that there are three doors into a nightclub. Standing in a long line; Getting in the VIP queue; or trying to sneak around the back, making friends with the bar staff and sneaking in. Although the author breaks his own rules many times in the book, relying on persistence and status quite a lot. I think a strong argument is made for iterative and speculative strategies. In thinking this way, you can potentially be so distinct you separate yourself from the competition. 

Novel and distinct thinking is cognitively demanding, as I am sure you found out when coming up with the current strategy. It is much easier  to copy, but also less effective. So there's a huge balancing act between dynamism, hedging your bets, mimicry, new thinking, persistence, nepotism, scaling and using our competitive advantage. 

To bring it home, on the strategy of sending emails. I have concerns that it's scalability which is it's main advantage could also be it's weakness. Not to say I am against it, but it should be hedged and balanced with many other strategies. Rather than a sole strategy scaled to diminishing returns. 

Just to tack onto the end, another strategy to be effective is to break the rules. It's a competitive advantage for obvious reasons. Unwritten/Unspoken rules are the best, as often the consequences are inconsistent and thin. If my viewpoint is worthwhile, would I email you to double the chances at it getting seen?  At risk is minor embarrassment at looking too keen. - How to should we weigh these? 

I will have a thinking about some strategies, but to serve as an example: 

  • Could you get some influential peoples phone number?
  • Could you get in contact with the  opposition party?
  • Could you get in contact with journalists?
  • How much would it cost to make a get someone on fiverr to make a video? Could you get this shared on  some big facebook groups?
  • Could you come up with some sort of meme-able expression or idea which reflects badly upon the conservatives?
  • Could you link the foreign aid to any recent issues, e.g. the recent mutant of tier 5 lockdown?
  • Is there anybody who is influential but out of the spotlight? Could they be persuaded by favorable arguments? 
Evidence on correlation between making less than parents and welfare/happiness?

My understanding was that life satisfaction (and happiness) was linked to how well we have achieved compared to peers. So it could be reasonable to suffer from doing worse than your family or other peers.

I should say I'm not sure how rigorous the research is on this though.

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