my upcoming report with CSER on this topic
Would it be possible for you to share a link to this, or at least the name of the report so that I can find it?
Thanks for sharing this.
While people in EA seem to like the narrative of "take big bets" and "small possibility of a huge success is worth it," I really like to read about people reflecting on things that didn't go their way (either for reasons within their control or for reasons outside of their control).
I want to encourage this (sharing of failures) to become more of a norm.
I am commenting here and upvoting this specifically because you wrote "I appreciate the pushback." I really like seeing people disagree while being friendly/civil, and I want to encourage us to do even more of that. I like how you are exploring and elaborating ideas while being polite and respectful.
Strongly agree. When I've done hiring in the past I would have loved to look at a resume book or some other consolidated standardized database of interested applicants, especially if I am able to filter on relevant criteria (time zone, earliest start date, EA work experience, did Intro Fellowship, etc.)
As a job hunter, the dream is to submit your resume or fill out your information to a single website, and then get contacted by multiple organizations that might be a good fit.
I strongly support this project.
N=1, so have your salt shaker ready!
I am commenting to say that I really like this phrase. It feels much more clever/witty than the more generic variants, and it made reading your article a bit more enjoyable. :)
You agree that the salaries roughly track skill level though?
Roughly speaking, I think so.
I have a bad feeling about funding researchers in the most expensive places in the world and calculating their salaries based on what they could earn at Google, minus a discount.
Agreed. I don't have a particularly clear or solid argument against it; at this point just a sort of yucky feeling when someone claims that the best possible use of money is to give it to someone as a really big salary to motivate them to leave their other really big salary role.
I am most interested in exploring Buddhism and/or general mindfulness and EA
Do you mean Buddhism as a religious practice, or more of a secular buddhism? I see a lot of overlaps between secular Buddhism and stoicism (stoicism as described by Massimo Pigliucci, not stoicism in the sense of feels no emotions).
I'd be happy to bounce ideas around with you about Buddhism and EA.
I really liked this. It was simply, but a smooth read and quite enjoyable. I'd be happy to see more of this type of content.
While I agree with you in principle, I think that the reality is that it is tough to keep this idea in mind, primarily because we judge people based on the results/achievements, rather than on the effectiveness of what they achieved based on what they had.
Simple toy example: the person who started with $100 and ends up with $500 gets much more praise than the person who starts with $5 and ends up with $100.
Would anyone find it interesting/useful for me to share a forum post about hiring, recruiting, and general personnel selection? I have some experience running hiring for small companies, and I have been recently reading a lot of academic papers from the Journal of Personnel Psychology regarding the research of most effective hiring practices. I'm thinking of creating a sequence about hiring, or maybe about HR and managing people more broadly.
I've recently discovered Connected Papers, and while it doesn't address all of your questions, it might be helpful for finding EA-linked authors and papers. Here is an example of the web of connections for What Should We Agree on about the Repugnant Conclusion.
Here is my rambling answer to your question.
I like virtue ethics, and I see it as compatible. I think that EA would be a slightly better movement is the level of utilitarianism was reduced by 5% and the level of virtue ethics was increased by 5%. My rough thoughts are that while I am influenced by various ethical ideas/schools of thought, I tend to be slightly less of a utilitarian and slightly more of a virtue ethicist than the EA-aligned people I see (which is admittedly a very small and non-representative sample).
I view "being a good person" not merely ... (read more)
I'm glad you posted this. Although my situation differs from your in many ways, it is similar in that I do not have many of the signals of EA alignment, and I also have experience in operations management. I've considered writing something similar, but I think that anything I say on this issue would have a perception of "this is person is bitter/frustrated because they aren't getting a job they want."
Two large monitors. I'm not familiar with the research, but I vaguely recall reading something about a relationship between the "real estate" and productivity. I know that I feel so much better with enough monitor space to have 2+ programs open simultaneously, and it makes it much easer to refer to 2+ documents without opening/closing different programs.
It is possible for a person to build a successful organization from scratch; it is a very rare thing. The base rate of being a "Steve Jobs" is quite low, approximately one in 7 billion.
Don't forget to give credit where credit it due. The source of most of the text here is an HBR article from 2012: https://hbr.org/2012/04/the-real-leadership-lessons-of-steve-jobs
I don't have anything smart or worthwhile to comment, but I want to say that I am glad you wrote this.
I'm quite uncomfortable with the idea that the best use of money is to give it to inexperienced young people from wealthy families who went to expensive schools. Helping privileged people get access to more privileged doesn't rank high on my personal list of cause areas, and I'm glad that someone is speaking out against this trend.
According to your LinkedIn you completed your Bachelor's Degree in 2017, and you have been CEO of a company since 2017. Because it is astonishingly rare for a fresh graduate to have the required skills to be an effective CEO, I'm guessing that you are CEO and founder of your own little company. Thus, I'd want to know what qualifications/skills/background make you competent to found and run a university.
The fact that you describe it as "in Africa" rather than as in any particular country gives me a bit of a negative feeling, but I'm not exactly sure why.
Thi... (read more)
A couple of thoughts in response.
First: yes, I strongly agree that the E world would be a better place if young EAs gained some maturity and general professional skills before trying to change the world.
Second: My guess is that the companies who are competent and at which young EAs would learn valuable skills has a lot of overlap with the list of companies who are large/famous/well-paying.
Third: The rough impression I have is that it is very uncommon to be able to identify how good of a working environment a particular role will be before you are actually ... (read more)
Although my own opinion is that securing a piece of r/Place isn't a worthwhile use of time, I think that this serves really well as a training exercise.
An opportunity arises, we have not prepared for it and we didn't have a plan of action ready. It requires internal collaboration as well as a certain amount of external communication. There is no clear leader, because the opportunity is not within a particular team/organization/company. Learning how to collaborate and manage a project like this seems like a valuable skill. Much in the same way that militari... (read more)
I had a conversation with my partner yesterday about how we want to do good better, but at the same time nobody can do 100% and taking care of yourself is important. She described to me a concept that is a simple but important change from how I have understood EA, and I'd like to share it. While I normally thought of doing good better as
devoting more resources toward highly impact efforts
devoting more resources toward highly impact efforts
what she described was
using whatever amount of resources you are going to use for good and making sure those resources are having the greatest impact.
using whatever amount of resources you are going to use for good and making sure those resources are having the greatest impact.
This isn't a ... (read more)
Thanks for such a detailed response. I'll be thinking and processing all of this for a while. Great food for thought.
Tee, I really enjoyed this. I have a gut feeling that lines up with a lot of the points you described, which I will roughly summarize as "giving people in these situations coaching can vastly improve the 'how much stress I endure to how much I accomplish' ratio." Especially given the specific cultural habits/perspectives of EAs, I think that having many of us push a bit more for these kind of "support services" would be valuable.
I've been thinking about getting more EA-aligned coaches, and I was wondering if you could you describe how you got trained/certified as a coach, and if you would recommend that particular training program.
"Of course, all participants are expected to be polyamorous."
So on point. If I was a coffee drinker, I would have spit it out laughing at this sentence.
That helpful, thanks for providing the context. No need to dig through old documents; I think I have a rough idea of it now.
"structured interviews on the work environment"
I'd be interested in hearing more about this. Any links or documents that you could share to point me in the right direction?
"when operations work goes well, people take it for granted; when there’s a mistake, it’s obvious and everyone is annoyed"
I don't have much to contribute with this comment, other than to emphasize the often understated importance of the above concept. Similar to plumbing or bank transfers or internet access or any of a dozen other examples, maintaining a system and preventing mistakes is often ignored/neglected when people think of valuable work.
"the short-term impact of the expansion of PA roles may be a greater number of women in junior roles, my expectation is that the longer-term impact will be a greater number of women in senior roles or as founders of projects"
Is the norm in EA that personal assistants tend to be women?
As a comment on this, my perspective is that operations is usually not sexy/fun/exciting when done properly. Different roles naturally have different levels public attention. People who publish well-received books or blogs, who start well-reputed organizations, are the voices on podcasts, and who give speeches at EAG and TEDx events get more public recognition. A part of it is luck, a part is marketing/PR (edit: I don't want to ignore hard work and effort; that often plays a role also).
A somewhat related issue is that there seems to be a perception in EA t... (read more)
I agree. I would love to have even just a sentence or two explaining what each of these critiques is, possibly with links to more in-depth explanations.
I liked a lot about this post. I don't really have important comments/critiques; just general reactions. My general intent with this comment is "this is really nice. I enjoyed reading this. I'd like to see a bit more of this type of content."
I view the overall tone of this piece as roughly "there are lot's of things that I don't do in the standard/proper way (dishes, cooking, laundry) and it works well for me. Don't force yourself to follow somebody else's playbook if it doesn't work for you." I like that a lot. I think that many people (myself included) s... (read more)
Seconded. I am surprised that in EA so much attention is paid and resources are devoted to people with relatively little life experience and professional experience. I often find myself a bit confused when I see someone in EA who is a COO or a VP or a director or a senior manager and who also has 0-3 years of work experience.
I'm in my 30s and I feel it is hard to get involved in EA other than "earn to give" because the career paths tend to either A) involve taking an entry level position in an EA hub city (such as Boston or San Francisco) or B) involve having a bachelor's degree in a particular field.
I apologize for asking such a simple question, but what is "rare tofu?" I'm aware that tofu is generally processed soy beans (and sometimes refers to a "tofu-like solid"), but what do you mean by rare tofu? Do you literally just mean types of tofu that are uncommon and hard to find?
Of the many posts I've read on the forum during the past few years, this is one of the posts I have enjoyed the most. Thank you for writing this and sharing it.
Great initiative. I was thinking of the value of an EA hiring agency just a few days ago. If I was located in my home country without the need for a visa I would take action on this. :)
Regarding using something like an "EA group" on LinkedIn, I like that concept. I think that might be a better idea for a MVP than a Google Sheet. Thanks for mentioning it. I'll let the idea percolate for a while.
Regarding several orgs to agreeing to handle their hiring through a single system, my first thought about hiring was actually somewhat related: having a centralized hiring/recruiting team for multiple large EA orgs. This way, rather than organization A, B, C, and D all employing a recruiter, getting a subscription to a applicant sourcing service, l... (read more)
I'll add one small comment regarding this. I think that the claim that "resources devoted toward economic development tends to do more good than resources toward small-scale health interventions" makes sense. On three different occasions when I've mentioned randomized control trials as a great way for creating new knowledge, I've had EAs refer me to this article as if this article was a critique of RCTs. Thus, I suspect that multiple people have misinterpreted the aim of the article, and are mentally categorizing it as "a critique of RCTs" rather than as "a critique of small scale interventions as less effective than economic growth."
I would love to see intro-to-EA materials that are more applicable for people living outside of high income countries.
I'm not sure if it would make sense to A) make the current intro-to-EA materials less targeted (and therefore more inclusive), B) have a parallel set of intro-to-EA materials that is for developing countries or for non-high income countries, or C) for various regions/countries to have their own intro-to-EA materials.
I lean towards A, but I think that it would be a massive undertaking. Maybe a good first step would be to take a sin... (read more)
Strongly agree. In the USA it wouldn't be considered too abnormal for a child to tell a parent that he/she is applying for a scholarship for college and needs family income information. But because this scholarship is targeted at people from other cultures we should take those US-centric (or perhaps UK-centric) assumptions.
Perhaps a drop-down menu in which an applicant could select from various ranges might be a better shop: "To the best of your knowledge, what was your households total annual income for the previous calendar year: 0-10k, 10k-30k, 31k to 50k..."
That's good. I'm glad that they thought of this. I can't imagine the difficulties in attempting to apply for a US university (and visa) as a non-US citizen without documentation of funding.
Agreed. There are top-ranked universities in other countries. Additionally, $X might allow 5 students to attend a good university, or 1 student to attend a great university. I'd suggest learning toward a more "diversified" model in which more students receive funding (a larger number of "bets" are taken).
I strongly agree. My impression (not based on research, but merely on unfounded hypothesizing) is that either an non-US applicant must have a finances arranged for a US university prior to applying. I would recommend providing the approval of the scholarship in advance of being admitted to the school. This way the applicant could apply and honestly list his/her method of funding the degree. The funds would be released only after the applicant is admitted to the school.
I'm fairly focused on China (studied China in university, speak Mandarin, live in China, read about 50 books on/about China during the past 10 years).
While there are plenty of books that can give you a general feel or a broad understanding of some trends in society (Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, China in Ten Words, China's Millennials: The Want Generation), and there are a few books regarding specific parts of the government/policy (The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers, Out of Mao's Shadow: The Stru... (read more)
I'd like to second the opinion that it is a bit of a turn off that the resources go toward people who already have resources. I understand that "justice" and "equality of opportunity" aren't core EA concerns, and I also realize that giving an hour of time to a person at an elite university who has received lots of educational benefits in life very well may have a higher ROI than giving an hour of time to a "normal" person (I'm using normal here to indicate a person who grew up in a family with a more median income, and who went to a less outlier school).
Un... (read more)
I have done a decent amount of HR work focused on hiring over the past several years, as well as a lot of reading regarding how to do hiring well. While recruiting for a fellowship isn't completely identical to hiring an employee, there are enough of similarities to justify learning.
I can't say I am surprised that a "hiring" process like the one described here failed to properly filter/select best fit candidates. Finding the right people for for a job (or in this case a fellowship) can be really difficult. Not difficult in a way that requires for time or e... (read more)
I'm glad that you mentioned EA being young. I am in my 30s and fairly new to reading about EA, having just started to read books and forum posts within the past month or two. The youth is very surprising to me, and it is something I've been thinking about for the past few days. This isn't a well thought out thesis, but I will share my rough thoughts:
First, if a middle aged person sees a community of a bunch of 20 somethings, he/she will likely conclude "this isn't meant for me" and walk away (even if the 20 somethings are friendly). Thus, potential collabo... (read more)
As someone in their late 30s with kids often identified as one of the "older" EAs, I strongly agree with this.
And to quote Monty Python: "I'm thirty seven - I'm not old!"
Thanks for sharing this. I that info about good financial practices are being shared here. I have two questions that you might be able to answer.
First, what specific options are available? As an individual I can open a high yield savings account with Ally (or I can refer to NerdWallet for a list of other high yield savings accounts). But If I am running an NGO I can't legally use accounts intended for individuals, right? Could you provide a list of options?
Second, these ideas are fairly limited to cash held in USD in the United States, right? For org... (read more)