Managing Director @ Leaf
2527 karmaJoined Working (6-15 years)Archway, London N19, UK



Jamie is Managing Director at Leaf, an independent nonprofit that supports exceptional teenagers to explore how they can best save lives, help others, or change the course of history.

Jamie previously worked as a teacher, as a researcher at the think tank Sentience Institute, and as co-founder and researcher at Animal Advocacy Careers, which helps people to maximise their positive impact for animals.


Topic contributions

Oh woops! Apologies for the faff. That worked, thanks!

Hey! Is this Slack still active? I'm getting a notification saying "[!]doesn’t have an account on this workspace" when I click the join link and sign into gmail. Thanks!


In terms of age, I originally advertised as 16-18 but lowered the minimum to 15 because I realised that people in year 11 in the UK (GCSE exams year, deciding which A-Levels to take) might benefit as well. The majority of participants have always been in year 12 (16-17 years old).

For the rest, I have info about these sorts of things in the full doc if you'd like access. Just can't share it all fully publicly for various reasons (and didn't want to spend the time required to make a full public version that I'd be happy sharing).

Yep, definitely something I'd consider! I know some people have a strong preference against sharing though so it'd be helpful to still have access to at least some single rooms.

(I also find some people have single rooms with ensuites as a hard requirement for medical or religious reasons).

The flexibility makes it sound more promising and useable

For my org, I can imagine using this if it was 2x the size or more, but I can't really think of events I'd run that would be worth the effort to organise for 15 people.

(Maybe like 30% chance I'd use it within 2 years if had 30+ bedrooms, less than 10% chance at the actual size.)

Cool idea though!

Yeah many of those things seem right to me.

I suspect the crux might be that I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing if "the casual reader of the website doesn't understand that 80k basically works on AGI". E.g. if 80k adds value to someone as they go through the career guide, even if they don' realise that "the organization strongly recommends AI over the rest, or that x-risk gets the lion's share of organizational resources", is there a problem?

I would be concerned if 80k was not adding value. E.g. I can imagine more salesly tactics that look like making a big song and dance about how much the reader needs their advice, without providing any actual guidance until they deliver the final pitch, where the reader is basically given the choice of signing up for 80k's view/service, or looking for some alternative provider/resource that can help them. But I don't think that that's happening here.

I can also imagine being concerned if the service was not transparent until you were actually on the call, and then you received some sort of unsolicited cause prioritisation pitch. But again, I don't think that's what's happening; as discussed, it's pretty transparent on the advising page and cause prio page what they're doing.

Makes sense on (1). I agree that this kind of methodology is not very externally legible and depends heavily on cause prioritisation, sub-cause prioritisation, your view on the most impactful interventions, etc. I think it's worth tracking for internal decision-making even if external stakeholders might not agree with all the ratings and decisions. (The system I came up with for Animal Advocacy Careers' impact evaluation suffered similar issues within animal advocacy.)

For (2), I'm not sure why you don't think 80 do this. E.g. the page on "What are the most pressing world problems?" has the following opening paragraph:

We aim to list issues where each additional person can have the most positive impact. So we focus on problems that others neglect, which are solvable, and which are unusually big in scale, often because they could affect many future generations — such as existential risks. This makes our list different from those you might find elsewhere.

Then the actual ranking is very clear: AI 1, pandemics 2, nuclear war 3, etc. 

And the advising page says quite prominently "We’re most helpful for people who... Are interested in the problems we think are most pressing, which you can read about in our problem profiles." The FAQ on "What are you looking for in the application?" mentions that one criterion is "Are interested in working on our pressing problems".

Of course it would be possible to make it more prominent, but it seems like they've put these things pretty clearly on the front. 

It seems pretty reasonable to me that 80k would want to talk to people who seem promising but don't share all the same cause prio views as them; supporting people to think through cause prio seems like a big way they can add value. So I wouldn't expect them to try to actively deter people who sign up and seem worth advising but, despite the clear labelling on the advising page, don't already share the same cause prio rankings as 80k. You also suggest "when people do apply/email, it's worth making that sort of caveat as well", and that seems in the active deterrence ballpark to me; to the effect of 'hey are you sure you want this call?'

Hey Joel, I'm wondering if you have recommendations on (1) or on the transparency/clarity element of (2)?

(Context being that I think 80k do a good job on these things, and I expect I'm doing a less good job on the equivalents in my own talent search org. Having a sense of what an 'even better' version might look like could help shift my sort of internal/personal overton window of possibilities.)

What do you think are some of the main differences between your guide/advice and 80k's?

I realise that to some extent, merely covering similar ideas with a slightly different framing and emphasis can add value because variations in these things land more or less well with different people.

But I'm wondering about more substantive differences. E.g. this page implies that you either don't endorse longtermism or endorse it less strongly than 80k, and my impression from your content is that you do tend to highlight a broader range of opportunities, including a much more prominent emphasis on global health (and climate change?).

Are then any other differences that jump to mind? E.g. like how Holden Karnofsky's "aptitudes" post was quite a different take to 80k's more 'cause prio first' approach.

(A more provocative framing of this qu: imagine that Probably Good and 80k both have an article on the same topic. Without reading either, if I do endorse longtermism, is there any reason why (or person for who) the Probably Good article is likely to be more useful?)


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