This was really interesting to read - thank you for sharing! I think it's really exciting you managed to get research studies off the ground & govt buy-in in such a short time.
Definitely made me rethink my priors in terms of how long that should take.
I'm also wondering why the likes of UNICEF/BMGF hadn't funded a $4000 research study and I suspect the answer is just stupid big organization bureaucracy/competing priorities- whereas your organization can just get it done.
Interested to hear how you get on with standards enforcement, which sounds challenging.
This is a great article. Agree with the points raised, and think it is very balanced. Thank you for writing this.
One thing I would add -> the article touches on the frustrations of bureaucracy - this is definitely a big limiting factor.
But I would add sometimes as a diplomat you will be called upon to do things you disagree with... not just things you think are a waste of time, but things that in some way you think are a bad idea.
It might be helping the US export meat around the world, or siding with some pretty nasty regimes important for geopolitics, or cutting the aid budget in a country that really needs it. It might just be that you can't publicly speak your mind on issues you care about.
To be fair, the politicians are elected, so they should get to call the shots, and if you don't like it, you can always quit. But I think many people would find this difficult to stomach, and that might mean a diplomatic career isn't for them.
Really interesting summary, thanks for sharing. Whilst not an expert, I've done some work in past with diagnostics in developing countries in Africa.
It's common for manufacturers to make big claims about their technology, but what's crucial is having independent evaluation/certification from regulators.
In the case of snake bites, I would imagine its tricky to prove the test works. Not easy to find snakebite victims in time.
I had a look at the venomaid website and didn't see anything about whether they had approval for their tests. That can take a long time.
Happy to collaborate on this and ask around the diagnostics people I know if interested?
Agree it is hard to know. I think it's a very good point that a movement/community can sustain dedication over time.
This is a great post and a fascinating history - has inspired me to create an account.
"So far, we've generated more than $30 bn for something like $200 mn, at a benefit:cost ratio of 150 to 1;"
This I think is a weak chain in the argument. You may have raised $30bn for great causes, but how much of that would have gone to great or even good causes regardless?
Charities can often find fundraising to be profitable, but they are also normally taking resources from each other - (shifting donations from charity a to charity b) and so sometimes the net effect across the charitable economy is just spending more on seeking donations.
In EA case - would these people pledging to against malaria foundation really have spent the money on sports cars? Or even on ineffective opera house charities? I don't think so. The kind of people motivated to seek out a good charity would still do so, but they would arguably do less effectively in the absence of an effective altruism movement guiding them.
I don't disagree with the general thrust of the piece. But I think that throwaway 10x return claim on fundraising is perhaps dangerous.