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What Makes Outreach to Progressives Hard

Just for reference, there's a group kinda like Resource Generation called Generation Pledge that got a grant from the EA Meta Fund. I think they've got a bit more of an EA emphasis.

Insights into mentoring from WANBAM

We are currently actively exploring how we can scale and provide mentoring support, in addition to WANBAM, to our community (those who are interested in/ inspired by Effective Altruism) more broadly.

You probably thought of this, but I suppose you could move in more of an 80K-ish direction by asking mentees to take notes on the best generalizable advice they get in their mentoring conversations, then periodically publishing compilations of this (perhaps organized by topic or something). If I was a mentor, I think I'd be more willing to spend time mentoring if my advice was going to scale beyond a single person.

EA is a Career Endpoint

My sense is that Triplebyte focuses on "can this person think like an engineer" and "which specific math/programming skills do they have, and how strong are they?" Then companies do a second round of interviews where they evaluate Triplebyte candidates for company culture. Triplebyte handles the general, companies handle the idiosyncratic.

I used to work as an interviewer for TripleByte. Most companies using TripleByte put TripleByte-certified candidates through their standard technical onsite. From what I was able to gather, the value prop for companies working with TripleByte is mostly about 1. expanding their sourcing pipeline to include more quality candidates and 2. cutting down on the amount of time their engineers spend administering screens to candidates who aren't very good.

Some of your comments make it sound like a TB like service for EA has to be a lot better than what EA orgs are currently doing to screen candidates. Personally, I suspect there's a lot of labor-saving value to capture if it is merely just as good (or even a bit worse) than current screens. It might also help organizations consider a broader range of people.

Introducing High Impact Athletes

Ryan Carey suggests that athletes could have an impact by giving EA presentations to high schoolers.

Geographic diversity in EA

But it's not easy to visit or live in an EA hub city like London or San Francisco, for most of the global population (financially, legally, for family reasons) ... Fewer like-minded people around you means you have to put in a lot more effort to stay engaged and informed

EA Anywhere might help :-)

How much does performance differ between people?

It might be worth discussing the larger question which is being asked. For example, your IMO paper seems to be work by researchers who advocate looser immigration policies for talented youth who want to move to developed countries. The larger question is "What is the expected scientific impact of letting a marginal IMO medalist type person from Honduras immigrate to the US?"

These quotes from great mathematicians all downplay the importance of math competitions. I think this is partially because the larger question they're interested in is different, something like: "How many people need go into math for us to reap most of the mathematical breakthroughs that this generation is capable of?"

How much does performance differ between people?

YC having a low acceptance rate could mean they are highly confident in their ability to predict ex ante outcomes. It could also mean that they get a lot of unserious applications. Essays such as this one by Paul Graham bemoaning the difficulty of predicting ex ante outcomes make me think it is more the latter. ("it's mostly luck once you get down to the top 1-5%" makes it sound to me like ultra-successful startups should have elite founders, but my take on Graham's essay is that ultra-successful startups tend to be unusual, often in a way that makes them look non-elite according to traditional metrics -- I tend to suspect this is true of exceptionally innovative people more generally)

Apply now for EA Global: Reconnect (March 20-21)

They drifted away from the community, but are they still working towards EA goals?

  • If they have stopped working towards EA goals, going to this event could be an opportunity to explore whether this is a decision they [still] endorse.

  • If they have continued to work towards EA goals on their own, going to this event could be a good opportunity to learn & share the kind of things that are most readily learned & shared through face-to-face chitchat. (A fairly large set of things, in my experience.) Additionally, making new face-to-face connections with people lets you trade favors and establish collaborative relationships that are harder to establish through e.g. sending them a cold email. (See: EA is vetting-constrained.) I expect the benefit here will be high variance. There's a high probability you have a weekend full of friendly-but-useless video calls (which will hopefully help with quarantine blues at least!) There's a small probability that you end up learning or sharing something that makes a big difference for you or someone else, or making an important new connection. (If someone hasn't been interacting with the community as much, I expect this probability to be higher, since the backlog of conversations they haven't had and new people they haven't met is gonna be larger.)

Might be worth noting the conventional wisdom in the business world, that networking is really important. As EAs we might have a bias towards things which are more measurable and legible, and I don't think the benefits of networking are always like that.

I noticed the following facts about people who work with the door open or the door closed. I notice that if you have the door to your office closed, you get more work done today and tomorrow, and you are more productive than most. But 10 years later somehow you don't know quite know what problems are worth working on; all the hard work you do is sort of tangential in importance. He who works with the door open gets all kinds of interruptions, but he also occasionally gets clues as to what the world is and what might be important. Now I cannot prove the cause and effect sequence because you might say, ``The closed door is symbolic of a closed mind.'' I don't know. But I can say there is a pretty good correlation between those who work with the doors open and those who ultimately do important things, although people who work with doors closed often work harder. Somehow they seem to work on slightly the wrong thing - not much, but enough that they miss fame.

Richard Hamming, Turing award winner, on what he observed at Bell Labs

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