Product Manager @ Centre for Effective Altruism
1322 karmaJoined Sep 2014Working (6-15 years)London, UK


I'm (Ben) Clifford. I work as a Product Manager for the Centre for Effective Altruism.

I first got involved in EA in 2011 when I started the GWWC chapter at the University of Warwick. Since I worked for GWWC, was a software developer, an early employee at Founders Pledge and started a workplace giving startup.

How others can help me

  • Give me feedback on
  • Tell me how you got involved in EA and how you use the forum
  • If you're a Product Manager I'd like to meet (and likely I can learn from you)

How I can help others

I can likely connect you to people or talk about my experience community building and pitching EA at Founders Pledge, running a very early stage employee giving startup at Tyve and doing Product Management.


Thanks Joseph! I’ll check out Massimo Pigliucci.

I like your concrete examples. Would be curious if other people have principles which guide how they act in response to those questions.

What do you use as a guide to “common sense” or “everyday ethics”?

I think people in EA often recommend against using EA to guide your everyday decision-making. I think the standard advice is “don’t sweat the small stuff” and apply EA thinking to big life decisions like your career choice or annual donations. EA doesn’t have much to say and isn’t a great guide to think about how you behave with your friends and family or in your community.

I’m curious, as a group of people who take ethics seriously, are there other frameworks or points of reference that you use to help you make decisions in your personal life?

I feel like “stoicism” is a common one and I’ve enjoyed learning about this. I suspect religion is another common answer for others. Are there others?

What report / data set that OWID has produced do you think has been most impactful in retrospect?

What are some semi-plausible, but unlikely-to-happen projects you could imagine GWWC pursuing in 5 years time?

What are some effective giving orgs you'd like to see get started? Any nearby gaps that you don't expect GWWC to fill?

I feel like I have a much better sense of what the current approaches to alignment are, what people are working on and how underdeveloped the field is. In general, it’s been a while since I’ve spent time studying anything so it felt fun just to dedicate time to learning. It also felt empowering to take a field that I’ve heard a lot about at a high level and make it clearer in my mind.

I think doing the Week 0 readings are an easy win for anyone who wants to demystify some of what is going on in ML systems, which I think should be interesting to anyone, even if you’re not interested in alignment.

I became much more motivated to work on making AI go well over the period of the course, I think mainly because it made the problem more concrete but likely just spending more time thinking about it. That said, it’s hard to disentangle this increased motivation from recent events and other factors.

People often ask me how to get started with user interviews. Lean Customer Development by Cindy Alvarez is unusually practical and helpful (particularly chapters 4-6).

This was a great pitch Aaron. I've started watching and really enjoying it.

It’s now possible to hide the community section on the homepage entirely (so that you don’t see the collapsible version).

You can also turn it off and on by going to your account page --> Site customizations --> Hide community section from the frontpage.

This matches my experience working at CEA and Founders Pledge. I used to work at a startup and a bunch of my friends work in startups and the experience seems similar.

I agree that it mostly depends on the role, the culture of the org and individual but it’s very possible to not work evenings and weekends.

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