All of impala's Comments + Replies

Optimal level of hierarchy for effective altruism

The environmental movement seems to be the closest analogy. It would be strange to find this movement having even the levels of (implicit, claimed) hierarchy that EA does. This should be cause for concern.

The Effective Altruism Newsletter & Open Thread - 15 December 2015

Speaking solely for myself, I've down voted fundraising announcements when I felt people were asking for money inappropriately, without a good, straightforward case for why I shouldn't give to AMF instead (to take the example I currently give to). I try not to down vote solely because I disagree with someone.

Theory of Change feedback

I'd enjoy reading your reasons for this in a top-level forum post. I expect others would do, and there are certainly plenty who think like you do who could participate in a comment thread discussion of this, which your post could trigger.

0Gleb_T6yI thought that a lot of this stuff was already covered in this post and the links there: [] It seemed to have been positively accepted without much commentary, so I'm not sure others would have a lot to say.
Effective Giving vs. Effective Altruism

What evidence would you (or the other involved in outreach via mass readership articles) cite for it working, besides the Facebook comment you mentioned?

0Gleb_T6yGood question, and that's one of the things that has to be studied. One of the things that can be cited is how widely it was read and shared on social media. That can be counted through the number of readers who visited the website and the number of times it was shared on social media, if those numbers are available. The social media shares is most relevant, as this indicates people are willing to put their personal social capital into sharing the article for their Facebook friends, Twitter followers, StumbleUpon followers etc. to read and evaluate them by. Another is the case study approach of looking at the Facebook comment and other similar feedback. This is the kind of initial evaluation that can be done most easily with existing mechanisms. More resource-intensive evaluations would involve actual studies. I mentioned in the post how I talked with Konrad Seifert from Geneva about testing the impactfulness of effective giving messages at a university center there. If others are interested, this would be a quite valuable area of work to test the impactfulness of the content. I'd love to see RCT studies on this stuff, for example. There's fascinating studies that can be done, and I have some background in research as a tenure-track professor myself []. If you know of anyone who can help out with this, suggestions would be welcomed :-)
CEA is launching a winter fundraising round

Thank you, my top two suggestions would be:

  • Break down which activities have led to which members in as much detail as possible.

  • Justify the "Counter-factual donation rate" more deeply. Use a graduate volunteer's time to dig into it and present multiple explorations of it, some of which don't rely on people's subjective estimates of it when asked by GWWC at the time they're pledging to it. Include some in-depth exploration of the counter-factual rate for a few members.

2Bernadette_Young6yThere are indeed great questions there with extensive responses, many of which point to information that was already publicly available. I think it's awesome for people to ask questions: in the GWWC fundraising post there's been a really productive discussion. But here, as on a previous occasion, you seem to be suggesting there is some deception going on. You've suggested in another post that you see these responses as 'punching up', but by keeping it vague it also looks a lot like mud-slinging (as opposed to an airing of your concerns, which I hope everybody would be keen to have happen). Hopefully you'll have time to elaborate on your concerns soon.
CEA is launching a winter fundraising round

Thanks, this is helpful (though as you predict not by itself not enough to resolve the issue). Fundraising seems a good reference class - not too broad (like 'all businesses' would be) and not too narrow. One comment/question, at least for now:

The activity that GWWC is engaging in is not fundraising for itself, but encouraging people to give (and give effectively). Compared to charities fundraising for themselves, there is less competition, and the approach is also more novel: both of these could support more of the low-hanging fruit still being availabl

... (read more)
3Robert_Wiblin6yAnother way that Giving What We Can can beat normal fundraisers and faces little competition is this: The vast majority of fundraising is done by organisations raising money for themselves. And it's very rare someone will be willing to make a lifetime commitment to a specific organisation, because they want to stay flexible in where they donate. As a result, for most fundraising organisations there's no sense in them pushing for such a major long-term commitment. It won't work. They could in theory ask for a lifetime commitment to any organisation, not just themselves, but in addition to being very weird, that doesn't help them achieve their fundraising goals when people move on to other groups. So one reason this approach is very neglected, is it's only sensible for those who are fundraising for other groups, or a very general cause like 'the common good'. And that's a very niche and little explored approach. A possible exception is churches/temples/mosques which people expect to be involved with for their entire life, but then they did have tithing and collected enormous sums that way.
8Benjamin_Todd6yThere's a couple of new bits. First is the focus on effective giving. This makes the case for giving much stronger, to those who are convinced by the arguments. Your giving is really saving lives. Related, the case is supported by analytical arguments, which really appeals to a certain type of person, who often isn't engaged by existing charity. Second is the size of the ask. Most charity fundraising focuses on small donations. GWWC focuses on a 10% lifetime pledge. This is much harder to get, but results in much more money. It seems like the extra difficultly doesn't fully offset the extra money (at least when combined with the first point). Now GWWC also has the advantages of a strong community, lots of experience, credibility, a large audience etc. which make it easier and easier to get more pledges on the margin.
1Owen_Cotton-Barratt6yOne thing to bear in mind is that there will naturally be quite a bit of variance in fundraising ratios. There was a factor-of-20 difference between median returns from standard methods, and I'm sure quite a bit of variance for each method according to implementation. I think the GWWC team is quite talented and it would be hard for an arbitrary charity to duplicate it at the same salaries, which might make you think they'd be in the positive tail for the method chosen. However, I think you're right that "no conflict-of-interest" probably doesn't carry you so far by itself. I think the main new thing that GWWC has been doing is asking people to donate a large amount on an ongoing basis. Compared to normal ongoing giving which might be £5/month for five years, the GWWC pledge may be two or three orders of magnitude larger. The question is how much lower the rate of getting people is. My prior uncertainty on this would be extremely large -- it's obvious that it will be lower, but unclear whether just a bit or 6+ orders of magnitude. I think the big ask means people thinking seriously about their lives, rather than making an in-the-moment decision (as I think most charitable donations are). I think it's also much less plausible for individual charities to get this commitment from people than a general encouragement to give more -- this is the proper force of my previous "no conflict-of-interest" point, but it's broader than that because the GWWC pledge also doesn't involve binding your future judgements about which charities actually are best. Now, I'm not sure this is entirely new. People have tried to persuade others to be generous before. But it's plausible that such efforts have in fact always been very effective. Because of a lack of data, and because no individual charity could scale this up to get large income for themselves, it's not clear that the market would have been saturated even if it always were a great activity.
CEA is launching a winter fundraising round

Amid many critical comments I should give props for going above and beyond the original request by clearly presenting this historical data.

Theory of Change feedback

Yeh, your comment was correct and needed, but where it's truly needed at punching up (which here obviously means calling out MIRI, CFAR and CEA). That's what I try to do. Otherwise newer and smaller "orgs" like Gleb's get criticized for being redundant and CEA gets a free pass for being one of the first movers and then claiming the EA movement that sprung up as its fiefdom and pass to limitless funding. Leave Gleb alone and fight the real battles.

Oh and good on you for being less of an insensitive (but truth telling!) ahole than you often are. ;-)

1Gleb_T6yI appreciate your perspective, but I think there's a lot of space for charity entrepreneurship. See my response to Lila above, and let me know your thoughts :-)
CEA is launching a winter fundraising round

Our positive effect on AMF is clearest at Giving What We Can which has a return of roughly 100:1 in high-value donations (counterfactually adjusted and time-discounted, but not all to AMF). Even if you assume that not a single member of GWWC gives another penny ever, the ratio is still 5:1.

That's precisely what's at issue. For one I don't find it all convincing, having talked with people who have been experienced with the organisation. And prima facie it's implausibly profitable. So it needs more justification than the prospectus gives.

3Benjamin_Todd6yYou say something like this every time Giving What We Can's multiple gets discussed, but never point out specific problems with the estimates, or provide alternative estimates.
7Owen_Cotton-Barratt6yThis statement is interesting, because it suggests at least some of the disagreement is about priors/reference classes. My prior for the ratio achievable was really quite broad. It sounds like you had a much tighter prior, which would decrease the extent to which you want to update on evidence. I don't know whether that disagreement is resolvable, but here are some of the thoughts that inform my prior: * You talk about 'profitable', which suggests businesses as a reference class. I agree that that kind of ratio is implausible for businesses, but I think that's a function of competition -- if it were available, someone would have been doing it already and got rich as a result. Monopolists can get much more profitable than non-monopolists. I think there are quite a lot of analogies with a business, so it's not ridiculous to consider them as a reference class, but I also think we understand the basic mechanism which stops them getting too profitable and it doesn't apply here, so we should not weigh this that strongly. * A closer reference class seems to be fundraising for charities. The institute of fundraising estimates median returns for different kind of fundraising activity to vary between around 1.5:1 and around 30:1, depending on the activity (link [] ). The ratio for campaigns to encourage committed giving to the charity running the campaign is around 6:1. Note that these numbers are sustained despite what is probably some competition between charities (I'm mildly surprised by this). * The activity that GWWC is engaging in is not fundraising for itself, but encouraging people to give (and give effectively). Compared to charities fundraising for themselves, there is less competition, and the approach is also more novel: both of these could support more of the low-hanging fruit still being available. Moreover i
2Michelle_Hutchinson6yHey Impala, You can find our entire methodology for those on our impact page [], and we’ve been answering detailed questions and providing additional requested data on this forum post [] . We didn’t put all of it in the prospectus this time partly because we didn’t want to swamp people and partly because we think that this is not that useful for evaluating whether to give to us, compared to looking at our overall plans and team (see this helpful post from Ben Todd [] ). It is more like a check to make sure we are continuing to plenty of money to effective charities compared to the money we are spending than the precise value we expect our leverage ratio to stably be going into the future. On the other hand, having a high leverage ratio so far does seem to be a good sign overall of how things are going. Finding it prima facie implausible seems like a good reason to think that it may decrease quite substantially in the future, but not a good reason to avoid updating on it at all. Could you elaborate on what you think we might be doing wrong, or what you think we could improve on? That way I might be able to provide more insight how why we act as we do, or improve our workings.
3Sebastian_Farquhar6yYou can find the detailed calculations here []. I agree that if you'd asked me five years ago what one could expect in a fundraising ratio I would have been surprised by estimates like 100:1. Most charitable fundraising is in the ballpark of 10:1. Nevertheless, the folks at GWWC are very methodical about gathering huge amounts of data and processing it carefully and transparently. If you have any specific suggestions for the methodology I'd be very open to exploring them.
3Bernadette_Young6yThe GWWC fundraising prospectus sets out in quite extensive detail the observations and assumptions that underlie the figures, as well as providing the spreadsheets to let you explore how your own probability estimates would change them. What further information do you think should be included?
The Effective Altruism Newsletter & Open Thread - 23 November 2015 Edition

This is catty, but has anyone else noticed how many of some CEA members' blog posts and Facebook updates are about how we should keep giving to and growing metacharities like CEA?

2Bernadette_Young6yI'd find it weird if people who chose their careers based on what they thought was of the greatest benefit didn't advocate for that work to other people with similar priorities. And in response to the suggestion of self-serving behaviour or even corruption raised by this post, it should be made absolutely clear that the trustees of CEA are legally barred from being employed by or financially profiting from its operations.
7MichaelDickens6yI think this is a good thing and more charities should do it. As a potential donor, it makes my job a lot easier when charities publicly present the best arguments in favor of donating to them.
Why we need more meta

I can't emphasize the exponential growth thing enough. A look at the next page on this forum shows CEA wanting to hire another 13 people. Meanwhile GiveWell were boasting of having grown to 18 full time staff back in March; now they have 30.

This. I haven't talked to him personally, but that's the sort of thing that has some of us who made his article one of the most upvoted ever worried about a meta trap, where organisations keep adding jobs for EAs they know without in advance setting out credible limits for when this should stop.

4Benjamin_Todd6yThese increases seem to be in line with the total growth of the EA movement, so doesn't look like a meta-trap. GiveWell/Open Phil have said their target is for their budget to be 10% of money moved per year. CEA is more complex because it's actually 4 independently run projects, but each project thinks carefully about what a marginal person would do and whether it will generate returns. Hiring is a difficult and costly business, so you generally don't do it just for the fun of it. My guess is actually that many meta-projects underhire, because their donors like to see them maintain a large positive leverage ratio, whereas in fact it would be optimal to invest more now to get more growth in 2-5 years.
My Cause Selection: Michael Dickens

This sounds worryingly close to claiming credit for all "etg donors", all EAs' careers and all EA organisations that have had some contact with EA organizations. Of course people like Jonas Vollmer are going to say nice things about 80,000 Hours when asked, and it would be impolitic for any organisation to challenge this, so I'll say it: I don't think all of GBS Switzerland's activities can be classed as counterfactually dependent on 80,000 Hours getting funding. Likewise the volunteers who founded Effective Animal Activism (the predecessor of AC... (read more)

3Benjamin_Todd6yI agree the counterfactuals are murky, so I'd never say it was 100% due to us. Nevertheless, I think we played a significant role. We also certainly don't claim credit for all etg donors, only those who say they were influenced by us and made a significant plan change (something like 25-50% of the total).
Introducing Moral Economics

It could be worth running this by a mainstream economist to see if they think there's anything to it.

0Diego_Caleiro6yRobin Hanson is not mainstream in any sense I can envision, he did take a look at it though :) I asked an economist friend to review, and an economy student reviewed it as well. Check below for the link for the complete google docs if you are an economist who happens to be reading this.
Looking for EA work for your spare time? Look at (and add to) this list!

Charity Science used to do this by going to local atheist meetups and talking to people there and by going to atheist conferences.

That seems totally unquantifiable - were they actually going to track how many donations it led to, or just say that one in X people (for some high value of X) seemed like they were/"must" be convinced of effective charities and then mark down a guess at their whole lifetime giving to them as impact?

0Peter Wildeford6yIt's not too difficult to track donations, I think, since we were going to suggest that donations be made through the Charity Science page. In fact, at the time, we were even pivoting more toward "donate to Charity Science" than "donate to AMF", which would have made the case more solid. Our actual plan for tracking was to offer a donation matching campaign if people sent in their donation receipts (even if they donated from before the campaign), so we thought that if all else fails we had a good chance of figuring out who donated after that. And to be clear, at no point was the plan to come up with some X and then claim lifetimes of impact. If we did that, we'd still be out there networking full time. ;)
Giving What We Can needs your support — only 5 days left to close our funding gap

Oh I meant how you distinguished between people who signed up to the pledge after seeing GWWC mentioned in the media attention or book (or elsewhere), and people who were a result of the efforts capitalising on this that EA donors are funding. For the question you answered I agree, I can't think of any better (or other) data to get about individual pledgers and the only thing to compare it to is an overall estimate of the extra donations a pledge could lead to.

1Owen_Cotton-Barratt6ySorry for the misunderstanding! Yeah, it looks kind of hard to distinguish. Maybe someone has a clever method. The only thing I can immediately think of is an RCT on follow-up to different bits of media coverage, but I expect this would be super-messy to run and might not produce great data.
Giving What We Can needs your support — only 5 days left to close our funding gap

How would one tell the difference between extra members which came for "capitalising on the media attention around Effective Altruism over the summer", and 10% donors who simply got rustled up by this attention? Has GWWC publicly advertised conditions in which the money spent on this wouldn't have been worthwhile and shouldn't have been diverted to it?

0Owen_Cotton-Barratt6yJoining members are asked what they likely would have given if not joining. This is quite a noisy process since people's estimates of what they would have given will often be inaccurate, but I think it works as a first-order correction (and it's hard to see how to do better). This is factored into the impact assessment.
Please support Giving What We Can this Spring

duplicate comment

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
Please support Giving What We Can this Spring

Doesn't every organization/social movement that efficiently allocates resources have diminishing returns beginning with the first dollar?

That will be the case very often, except in cases like that which you have mentioned. In these comments Michelle Hutchinson came up with a few other possibilities, like economies of scale.

The signalling issue is complicated, and I'm open to suggestions. As I'm a consequentialist, I'm open simply to lying.

This wouldn't address the non-signalling concern that I raised though (as I'm sure you're aware of course).

Please support Giving What We Can this Spring

The point at which you hit diminishing returns to funding an org may actually be pretty low. I'd be skeptical about the marginal value of budget increases of much more than a factor of 2 per year unless the org had demonstrated really impressive traction.

This isn't incompatible with what you're saying, but they may diminish well before that also. Taking the present example of Giving What We Can, the people who worked there or are involved with it thought that applied to it. They thought most of the value came from the existence of the organisation and a... (read more)

0mhpage7yDoesn't every organization/social movement that efficiently allocates resources have diminishing returns beginning with the first dollar? One reason why this could theoretically not be true is if efficient use of capital requires upfront investment in infrastructure, but I don't know if that applies here. The concept of diminishing returns seems distinct from leverage (though obviously not unrelated). The signalling issue is complicated, and I'm open to suggestions. As I'm a consequentialist, I'm open simply to lying.
The Importance of GWWC Cohort Data

Like I said to Gregory, I am limited in what I can say without violating confidences, but I personally wouldn’t find saying other things scary if it’s anonymous. Is there an anonymous way to send messages to you which doesn’t reveal my email (which contains the username I use around the Web)?

1Dale7yUpvoted for morally admirable concern for people's confidences.
4RyanCarey7yImpala, you can trivially set up a new gmail account to send anonymous email.
0Michelle_Hutchinson7yThis is starting to sound like it would be scary for me. I think Hauke may have made an anonymous feedback form for this purpose. I'll ask him.
The Importance of GWWC Cohort Data

I absolutely agree, like I suggested when complementing Dale for sticking his head out. (If that is the phrase? Google is ambiguous between “head” and “neck”.) I like to think I would state them myself, given the anonymity this forum allows, and I wouldn’t pay much social cost anyway as I don’t talk to EAs much any more now that I’m distant from the main EA centers. But like I said I’ve heard them second hand from a lot of people who wouldn’t want the sources to be guessed at. I’ll ask them if there’s anything I can post on their behalf in this thread.

The ... (read more)

The Importance of GWWC Cohort Data

Oh, does the GWWC central team know how many of these members were non-poverty people? What was Ravi’s work, was it something the GWWC team did to follow up changing the pledge?

8aliwoodman7yHi. I recently joined Giving What We Can as Director of Community and am very happy to answer member-related questions! Of the 83 people who became members between Dec 2014 - Jan 2015 after clicking 'attend' or 'maybe' on the Facebook event, 7 of these have said upon joining that they intend to give to non-poverty causes. There are an additional 7 members or so who joined during that period (bearing in mind the pledge change happened in early December) who also said they intend to give to non-poverty causes. So it seems the spike over Dec-Jan is attributable more to the Facebook event than to the broadening of the pledge, although that certainly had a noticeable effect. Having spoken to quite a few of those who joined because of the event, I'd guess that Rob is right that most of these were likely not aware of the pledge change. The pledge change and Ravi's work just happened to coincide - we hadn't heard from Ravi beforehand. He and a group of friends came up with the idea of a New Year pledging event and did most of the work themselves, though the GWWC team helped out.
6Bernadette_Young7yI believe the updated pledging form asks people to specify the broad cause(s) they will donate to (eg poverty, animal suffering, existential risk), so that information would be readily available to the GWWC team. Ravi Patel is a medical student in Cambridge who independently led the enormously successful campaign to get new pledges as a New Years resolution. It was hosted in a Facebook group, and you can see here the people posting as they joined. []This coincides with the Dec/jan spike on the chart above.
The Importance of GWWC Cohort Data

Thanks for sticking your head out with this post, I've heard a lot of people express similar or stronger concerns but say they're too frightened about prompting a pile-on (or in some cases organised and tactical retaliation). One thing some of these people have said is that internal knowledge at and research by CEA reveals unflattering facts about the issues you've raised, but that CEA hides this from impact evaluations and isn't honest about it with donors. For example, people not donating and staying on the member lists, including prominent EAs.

3Dale7yYes, fortunately I am both quite autistic and also don't know many EA people in person. Yeah, there's an obvious problem whereby organizations with 'dirty secrets' will tend not to share them. As a result, in investment we tend to work out what they key metrics are and then assume the worst if companies don't release them. (Sovereigns can get a bit more leeway because they are incompetent and big). My understanding is that GiveWell uses a similar methodology of assuming the worst from the charities it looks at.
4Michelle_Hutchinson7yHi Impala, I'm sorry you feel this way! I assure you we're actually all nice and not at all scary, so do feel free to contact us to discuss whatever you'd like. I don't know precisely what you're talking about, but I don't know of anyone you might be talking about as 'prominent EAs' who are both members of Giving What We Can and not donating. There are definitely people like Paul Christiano who support saving to donate later, because they think that the savings rate at the moment is unusually high and we're currently in an unusually good position to learn more, so that donating in the future will be even more valuable than now. But Paul is not a member, for that very reason.

Concerns like these should be made publicly. If true, the wider community should know; if false, CEA should have the opportunity to refute them.

1Peter Wildeford7yo.O
The Importance of GWWC Cohort Data

I wonder if when GWWC opened the pledge, many people already giving 10% joined, as now they don't feel constrained by cause area.

That seems clearly what'd happen, and from what I hear is what most people think. People who'd favoured non-poverty causes and who join in the months after that change are unlikely to be giving as a result of GWWC's work in those months after all, going out and convincing people to give to them from scratch. (Not to say that it's not valuable for them to record their giving, or that the moves away from poverty have been a mistake.)

3Robert_Wiblin7yThat would have been my guess, but a surprising number of these new members came through Ravi's work, and wouldn't have even known about the change to the pledge. Michelle could give a more exact share.
Earning to Give: Programming Language Choice

What's the definition of frontend and backend here, which is relevant to earning-to-give potential? If you're writing database-driven Ruby or PHP code which generates HTML, are you a frontend or backend developer in this sense?

0Ben_West7yin a well-designed system [], the presentation layer should be a separate code base from the business logic layer. MVC and other frameworks enforce this. So in theory you should never have one function which both does logical calculations on the database (e.g. validating that data is formatted correctly) and outputs HTML. It might be that at a small company one person does both the backend and the front-end, in which case I would describe them as a "full stack" developer.
Earning to Give: Programming Language Choice

Regarding the topic of how to learn, I am not such a fan of the online courses relative to simply reading a book or website which lists all a language's syntax, or a long list of functions. If that's enough for you to grasp it, it's certainly faster. Many of the main websites for languages contain these lists.

Common Misconceptions about Effective Altruism

The complication is that the distinctive aspect of consequetialism is that it makes this the only motive or consideration, and it's hard to discover what the general public think about this as they're not used to breaking morality down into all its component factors to find an exhaustive list of their motives or considerations.

Common Misconceptions about Effective Altruism

"What guides your moral decisions? (the consequences of my actions/the rules i'm following" wouldn't distinguish between people with consequentialist or non-consequentialist intuitions, if they weren't familiar with philosophy.

0RyanCarey7yIf people said their moral decisions came from wanting to make as many people as possible happier, then that would reveal a pretty consequentialist intuition.
Assessing EA Outreach’s media coverage in 2014

Thank you for the thoughtful response. I think a big issue here is whether businesses or social movements are the right reference class. I think it's the second, and social movement don't usually try to do the sort of brand management of what other activists or groups do that I see in effective altruism.

Tech job Q&A

Wow weird.

No, not static WordPress sites - more like the second, or something in between, though as a junior webdev I wouldn't be the one taking care of the scaling (setting up the server with varnish, etc.), apart from avoiding direct database queries where possible.

Maybe if you gave a salary target that might help us calibrate.

Again I run into the problem of not knowing enough about the industry, but how about €35,000 in a place where you could relatively quickly head up towards €50,000?

0Ben_West7yThis may be highly dependent on your location, but the average starting salary for a computer science grad in the US is greater than [] €50 K. Maybe I'm completely miscalibrated, but if you know words like "varnish" and realize that they apply to scaling, then I think you are qualified to be a junior web developer. I would recommend applying to some jobs and seeing what happens. Let us know either way!
Tech job Q&A

It's tricky as I'm just starting to consider this career, so may not be familiar enough with it or far enough along with my planning to be usefully concrete. It partly depends on where sensible places to start are with my level of professional experience and knowledge (not negligible, but never fulltime webdev). Pick an example: a junior job at a webdev agency which builds websites for hire. The requirements for that might be illuminating.

2Ben_West7yI would second Ben's statement – if you have actual experience coding you're probably overqualified for "a junior job at a webdev agency which builds websites for hire." A clarifying question: When you say "builds websites for hire" I think "set up a boilerplate Word press installation with some stock photos to impress the rubes". Is that what you mean? Or do you mean "create highly interactive single page websites that need to scale to millions of concurrent users"? Those are very different things. Maybe if you gave a salary target that might help us calibrate.
Tech job Q&A

What are the minimum skills or experience necessary to get hired as a full time web developer?

1Peter Wildeford7yIf you can complete this [], you can probably get an internship somewhere, and from there you can easily transition to a full-time job.
5ruthie7yI don't know what the bare minimum to get hired anywhere is, but I know that most medium-sized and up places that you might want to work will hire an entry level employee who looks smart but has a very small amount of actual experience. A good applicant can write a simple program on a white board and has a project on github, or a past internship, or a dynamic website that they run, to point at. If you think you're on the edge now, these accomplishments shouldn't be too far away.
2Ben_Kuhn7yBSing interviews and lying on your resume? Or even less if you can rely on nepotism? :P Seriously, there are places that are basically just looking for warm bodies, but I doubt that you'd actually be interested in working there. Perhaps you could be a bit more concrete? This question is abstract enough that I'm having a hard time coming up with a meaningful answer. Perhaps someone with more experience hiring for webdev roles could fill in? (I only interviewed for webdev jobs, so I don't really know what their minimum was!)
Assessing EA Outreach’s media coverage in 2014

I've got some concerns about how "brand management" might be a shiny veneer to cover "centralization" from Oxford or the Bay Area, and what the consequences of it may be.

That would explain how concerned people mostly come from these places, and why they have unusually high concern for a social movement.

6William_MacAskill7yEvan: Impala: Thanks for raising this concern. I think that a post on the topic would be really valuable - we certainly don't want to lose the benefits of diversity, to shut down debate, or to become a bottleneck. I don't think we have unusually high concern regarding branding within a relevant reference class - almost all businesses are highly concerned by brand; free market promoters are highly brand-concerned. Even PETA is highly concerned by brand management in its own way - e.g. using models and celebrities to push v*ganism as 'sexy'. For movements with unfortunate brands (I'd put animal rights, feminism, and to some extent environmentalism), that seems like a big problem and one we want to avoid. It's also a co-ordination problem (see 'the unilateralist's curse'), and if you've got a diverse range of groups within the movement who differ pretty fundamentally then co-ordination is going to be difficult - and I think that may explain why they suffer these branding issues. This is something we really should try to avoid. (Also, you mention the Bay as well - my impression, which might be wrong (based on conversations with Geoff Anders), is that they agree that it's a bad problem, but think that there's not much we can do about it and so don't actually spend much time on it. I think it's worth trying, but I agree it's a judgment call). In terms of concern for this - this is something I've changed my view on a lot over the last 5 years. Because there's so much bullshit-speak surrounding brand management, I was initially very skeptical of its value. But experience with the different orgs has made me switch my view a lot. The most important example of this was back when 80k was 'High Impact Careers' and was quite aggressive in its marketing - focusing on earning to give and banking/doctors comparisons. This was a disaster. People thought we were being deliberately contrarian (and they were right), and we're even still trying to overcome the impression that 80k is o