Working (6-15 years of experience)
1300Tel Aviv-Yafo, IsraelJoined Nov 2019



Hi!  A bit about me:

• I'm CEO at VIVID - an organization aspiring to scale effective self-improvement. 

• I've been the executive director of EA Israel for the past 2.5 years

• My writings on the forum mostly discuss criticism and different approaches to community building, and the importance of branding in the context of EA.

How others can help me

Virtually, anything discussed in VIVID's announcement post below. Specifically: We're hiring, we can provide value to wellbeing professionals, and we'd love to hear your feedback on our mobile app.

How I can help others

• I'm good at moonshot planning - Brainstorm with me about ambitious projects that seem unachievable!
• Advice on community building. You can find EA Israel's sharable resources here:
• User experience advice.
• My superpower is matching people with music they'll like, try me!


Topic Contributions

Don't you think that CEA can run a large community shift, by changing the guidance and incentives for local groups?

(Thank you so much for the material! Seems better than the material I have today, but I think we need much simpler and more communicative material for proper out-facing community building)

On the one hand, I have a strong urge to say something like:  But David, community building is not only useful for "trust" and "vetting people"!

On the other hand - In the last 2.5 years as a community builder, I was fighting desperately trying to make EA groups more practical and educational, instead of social and network-based.

I'm not the only one. I know many other community builders who tried to argue that our resources should focus on "tools", and less on anecdotes about why the maximization mindset is important and anecdotes about the most pressing cause areas. 
Instead, I think that the value that we provide should be something in the lines of providing them with actual tools for applying the maximization mindset, and for prioritizing their career/donation/research/etc opportunities by social impact.

Almost everyone I spoke with agreed with this notion, including multiple representatives from CEA - but nothing changed so far regarding groups' resources or incentives. 
So, if the main value of community building was meant to be for vetting, then I'd say that the community failed. I don't strongly believe this is the case right now, but I think that many perceive this to be the main value we provide. Anyhow - SBF is a great example, but I think that trust failures are not the only reason why this shift is needed.

My view is that instead of being social-focused, we need a more practical form of community building.  EA distinct itself from the traditional NGO world or from other communities using “impact” as a buzzword, because we care about maximizing impact. But then, groups don't really have the resources to actually help people maximize their impact. After 2.5 years, I still don’t know where to find a good, simple article or video that describes how to create a theory of change (which is needed when submitting grants to EA funders!), or a clear article describing the practical aspects of “Thinking at the margin”, if I want to send those to community members. It takes an absurdly long time to find a good article about the basics of cost-effectiveness estimates, compared to how rooted this idea is in the movement. How long does it take to find an advanced handbook on conducting cost-effectiveness research in the context of social impact? I don’t know, we found none and had to write such a guide in EA Israel.

I strongly agree with the notion that "community" isn't binary:

And I have a few ideas what a less community-centered EA might look like. To preface the ideas, however, “community” isn’t binary. 

But I think that the suggestion in this post goes too far on the non-community side of the spectrum. I think that communities provide significant value (such as motivation or connections), and thatthis is the bottleneck for impact for many people. And I also wouldn't denounce the concept of "being an EA" too quickly, as it still means something like "I think carefully about helping others, compared to the default scope-insensitive notion of doing good". 
But convincing people of this basic concept is really an easy win in my opinion. The more important challenge in my view is getting people to develop their own, independent outlooks on maximizing impact. 

Hi Trevor! I'm also a fan of CFAR's techniques.

One of the unique things about VIVID is that you can build whatever techniques you want into the personal-change plans you create. 
In addition, if there are any CFAR-inspired techniques that you'd like us to consider adding to the "instruction presets" in VIVID, let me know!

That's a very good question!

First, a disclaimer - VIVID is not a clinically verified intervention, so it shouldn't replace therapy in any case.

VIVID and therapy are virtually two methods to overcome internal obstacles. I think a helpful way of looking at this question is whether you'd like to try another method in addition to your therapy. This method could be VIVID, a coacher, reading a self-help book, and so on. There are pros and cons to adding another method, and your therapist might be a good person to talk discuss this with.

There's an edge case to this outlook: 
In some sense, the practice in VIVID can be compared to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy exercises, with a minor emphasis on the "cognitive". These could range from "lite" exercises to exercises that are identical to CBT worksheets (some of the 'instruction presets' in the app are essentially CBT worksheets). 
Therefore, if someone is already doing something similar with a therapist, I wouldn't think of VIVID as aseparate method. It might, though, be beneficial to add your therapist as an accountability buddy and do the same exercises in VIVID. As a mobile app, VIVID has many benefits that empower this process, including self-testing, situation-based prompts, and optionally follow-ups from your therapist between sessions.

(I'll also add a FAQ section on the website, thanks!)

Indeed - the Future Fund itself (not FTX's company or the regrantors) will receive equity and control on our board

I heard they're recommended by ACE (All-Chill Evaluators)

This is super helpful, thank you for sharing!
I made it more explicit in the post, I'll also make it clearer here: The personal plans you create are entirely yours, and no one else can see them. You can choose to share them with an accountability buddy, but this is entirely up to you.
Our analytics platform is anonymized, so no data is exposed there as well. We're looking into an even higher level of anonymization within our database. 

Anyhow, feedback such as this helps me understand where the blockers are, so it's very valuable. I'm open to hearing and will look for additional ways to improve our policy and technology to increase privacy. I don't think there is much to be concerned about, so I guess I'm also looking for ways to help people feel more comfortable with this topic.

Thank you for this post - outfacing EA orgs should definitely seek more branding advice. 

By the way - This is exactly why we've started Naming What We Can. We should speak about collaboration.

Love that, much wow!
(comments can also be short)

That's an interesting point. I guess AGI timelines could affect this topic, but only if they would be extremely short. I guess that the expected time until a major PR event is somewhere within the coming years (I estimated 0.5-2 years, and I'd guess it's very likely within 5 years), and AGI timelines are usually longer than that.

Maybe even the shorter AGI timelines are, the more we should be afraid of catastrophic PR events. Say, if an event is about to happen around next year, and it would take us a couple of decades to recover, then we might be significantly less prepared for an AGI takeoff that happens during the recovery phase. 

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