No-Bullshit Optimization/Risk Reduction, Life Extension, EA, Rationality, Startups, Film, MMA. Larry David is my spirit animal.
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I agree that that's a possibility regarding problems and solutions but wish I would see it more in practice.
Re: certificates of impact. I talked to my team about this. One of my cofounders said:
“That's an interesting idea. It'd be really cool to create a currency that incentivized people to do good things and pay for good things! But it seems like coordinating that would be extremely difficult unless you had a central institution that was doling these things out. Otherwise how could anyone agree on the utility of anything? Like, I ate lunch, and therefore reduced my suffering from hunger, so do I get certificate for that? Maybe you can make a certificate for anything, but it depends on who's willing to buy it. Say I cure cancer, and I make myself a certificate. “I cured cancer!” Someone buys it from me for $100. But then someone else wants to buy it for $1 million. So I end up with less money than the middle man who did nothing but bet on which certificates were worth something. And I don't know why people would want these certificates in the first place if they're so divorced from the actual deed on them that they have no value but bragging rights. I know people collect high-status bragging type things all the time, but it seems kind of a stretch to say, “Hey, here's this new virtual thing! Want it!””
Do you have thoughts on this? We're seriously considering trying to implement something provided it would be useful.
I use PredictionBook for keeping track of informal predictions I make but this provides a great way to formally apply it more in the workplace and could be extrapolated to interpersonal relationships as well. Thanks for writing!
I've been thinking of similar things as I co-founded a crypto startup that just got into an incubator. Our original idea was a personal finance app for cryptocurrency, but we started building it and realized it might be too early to make money because there wasn’t a market for it yet -- very few people use cryptocurrency as an actual currency! We have sort of the reverse problem most people have where they have a great idea and just need someone to back it: we have the backing now but with no good idea. We’ll probably build some moderately useful cryptocurrency financial tools and use them to get users while we explore the space more and potentially pivot. We're very interested in EA and life extension but don't seem to have any domain expertise that would allow us to work directly in that space without making money first and having more flexibility like the serial entrepreneur you mention.
The coming up with better ideas to work on problem seems like a difficult one. Having a master doc of world problems separated by domain as you describe would be really useful. For example, I could see my team going through it and seeing if blockchain tech could contribute anything. This doc from a comment in the plant-based startup post seems like a great representation: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zCwLkwqwYzfzxwIm1-iHrvheRhMhbLYBxqEiz_7bHdE/edit That said, it almost seems if people could formulate the problems that well then they very well might already be working on it.
Thank you for taking the time to write this up!