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Matt Levine on the Archegos failure

Thank you for sharing these — I may pick up the Clarke book as summer reading!

Is effective altruism growing? An update on the stock of funding vs. people

I continue to think that jobs in government, academia, other philanthropic institutions and relevant for-profit companies (e.g. working on biotech) can be very high impact and great for career capital.


Those looking to work at the intersection of academia, biorisk, biotech, global health/infectious disease, and philanthropic institutions may wish to look at roles at leading academic medical centers. A few years at Charité; Cleveland Clinic; one of the Harvard  affiliates (e.g., the Brigham or MGH);  JHU;  Mayo Clinic; Toronto General;  UCH in London; or another leading institution could give one some surprising flexibility to support EA projects within a well-resourced academic institution.

The following link from this week lists a number of new strategy jobs at Mayo Clinic.  I suspect these roles would have career capital / impact benefits beyond what the brief job descriptions suggest.  https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6825490031046639616/

You should write about your job

I'd love to hear more about your trajectory and work!

This interview with Reuben Munger is one of my favorite discussions with an energy/infrastructure financier who is having an impact on renewable energy markets in North America — it certainly led me to consider his corner of finance a fairly EA-friendly career path — in case it's interesting to you or others: https://capitalallocators.com/podcast/private-capital-perspective/

Consider canceling your WiFi

Thanks for this post! The spring college semester when I didn't have a laptop (it had shattered in late '07, and I didn't replace it until I needed one for a summer '08 job) was by far the most productive and intellectually richest semester I had on campus. 

This was before most students had smartphones — so that also helped — but chiming in that effectively not having internet in one's home can work nicely and lead to more reading and better sleep, if you have access to a good library/computer lab when you need one.

Matt Levine on the Archegos failure

Matt Levine's newsletter is a delight to read, and I'm happy others here enjoy it!

The report on the Challenger disaster also chalked the loss of life and failure up to poor risk (and conflict) management. Experts the night before the launch raised serious concerns about the safety of launching under certain temperature conditions... and were basically over-ruled by managers who didn't want to pull the plug on such a high-profile launch that had been so long in the making.

We recently enjoyed this documentary on Wirecard's failure. The firm's auditors at E&Y (much like Arthur Andersen for Enron) basically mailed in their audits to avoid rocking the boat with a large client, ignoring flaming red flags that follow-on auditors from KPMG identified immediately.

Not sure that the Challenger and Wirecard examples add more beyond the valuable points you've made re: Archegos, but sharing as additional case studies in case they may be of interest to others.

The $100trn opportunity: ESG investing should be a top priority for EA careers

Completely agree. Here are a few case studies of ESG investing career paths that some might find interesting (originally posted here). 


Those interested in this path might enjoy interviews with Lauren Taylor Wolfe — and reading about the work of Québec's pension plan, John Kerry and Mark Gallogly, and Mark Carney to drive more effective ESG investing and governance norms.

ESG investing isn’t high-impact, but it could be

Those interested in this path might enjoy interviews with Lauren Taylor Wolfe — and reading about the work of Québec's pension plan, John Kerry and Mark Gallogly, and Mark Carney to drive more effective ESG investing and governance norms.

AMA: Ian David Moss, strategy consultant to foundations and other institutions

If you were advising someone five years behind you, but on a somewhat similar track (a MBA type leaving a  senior role at a mission-driven organization to become an independent consultant), what would your top pieces of advice be re: 

  • transitioning into consulting from a more-stable organization 
  • structuring outreach to and refining proposals with prospective clients
  • (and) managing the peaks and valleys of client work?

Thank you!

Possible gaps in the EA community

Thank you for sharing! I hadn't looked deeply into RISC's work before — and very helpful to know about Levitt's ties to Schmidt Futures.

Thoughts on Personal Finance for Effective Altruists

I should have known that at the price of a small premium I could have insured myself against a lot of negative and annoying things in life. Most people have insurance for their health care, liability insurance, and insurance for their car. But you can basically ensure yourself against everything such as the inability to work or your belongings. So to prevent the hassle of bad events and time wasted dealing with them, I plan to insure myself for more negative outcomes in the future.

I also tend to invest more rather than less in insurance. This includes legal insurance, etc. Exceptions include travel insurance, supplemental life insurance, and cell phone insurance — where the hassle of submitting an Asurion claim, combined with the deductible, left me more willing to bear future full replacement costs. Until recently I also had an unwise habit of choosing PPO rather than more-minimalist HDHP health insurance plans. I switched when I better understood how U.S. tax laws make the HDHP/HSA combination attractive for relatively healthy people in their 20s and 30s.

That said, I do think this EA-leaning personal finance writer is onto something with his minimalist approach to insurance. Even if I'm far from his school of thought in personal practice, as he wrote in 2011's Insurance: A Tax on People  Who Are Bad At Math?, self-insuring in many categories beyond travel, life, etc., likely makes sense for more people than currently practice self-insuring:

Get almost [no insurance]. Especially if you already have a healthy stash of savings built up and could thus afford any unexpected expenses...

Then for the insurance lines that you are keeping, do a nice afternoon of shopping around – I did this last January and sliced about $300 per year off of my remaining home and car insurance...

Then put all the savings from these premiums into growing your nest egg, realizing that you are now getting paid to be your own insurance company.

It sounds risky if you let the fear creep in. But it should actually feel deeply satisfying and safe. By not buying into a product where the odds are stacked against you, you are STATISTICALLY likely to win. We can’t predict the future, but we do have one tool that lets us turn the unknown to our advantage, and that is statistics....

Over the past 10 years, I’ve saved about $40,000 in insurance premiums compared to the average level of spending, and now that $40K is sitting alongside my other employees, producing $2,800 of passive income each year, and already more than big enough to cover replacing a crashed car or paying any possible deductibles on medical bills.

And after 10 years of relatively exciting living, I haven’t even had to dip into it once. Now I see why insurance companies make so much money!

Personal preference is important here as I'd rather forego other "luxuries" to overpay a few hundred dollars a year for certain categories of peace of mind, but I've appreciated learning the minimalist perspective and adopting small parts of it in recent years. 

Thanks for a thoughtful post!

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