Jorgen_Ljones

Currently Assistant Executive Director at EA Norway. Co-founder of EA NTNU, the first EA group in Norway and former Managing Director of the Effect Foundation.
\\ Interested in community building, operations and project management. My current plan is to continue working in meta EA, primarily at EA Norway.
\\ I have a masters engineering degree at NTNU, Trondheim Norway in industrial economics and technology management. My engineering field is computer science, tech specialty being artificial intelligence and econ specialty being operations research.

Jorgen_Ljones's Comments

EA Leaders Forum: Survey on EA priorities (data and analysis)

Regarding the question about the preferred resource allocation over the next five years, I would like to see someone take a stab at estimating the current allocation of resources over the same categories. My guess is that many of the cause areas are far from these numbers and it would imply a huge shift from status quo to increase or decrease the number of people and/or money going to each cause area.

The 3.5% allocation to wild animal welfare, for example, is 35 of the most engaged EAs contributing to the cause area and the money that goes with it. Or more people and less money if we trade off the resources against each other. Currently Wild Animal Initiative, the most significant EA actor in the field, employs eight people according a document on their website, most of them part-time. Going from here to 35 people would mean large investments and need of management, coordination and operations capacity. Especially if we should interpret it to mean 35 people on average over the next five years, given the position we're starting at.

I believe similar examples could be made from biosecurity (90 people and 9% of funding) or AI in shorter-timeline scenarios (180 people and 18% of funding). I guess that meta EA, global health and development and maybe farmed animal welfare are the categories that would need to scale back funding and people involved to reach these allocation targets.

Aaron commented that the respondents answered quickly to the survey questions, and this particular question even asks for a "rough" percentage of resource allocation. This might suggest that we shouldn't look too much at the exact average numbers, but only note the order of cause areas from most to least resources allocated.

Another possibility is that the respondents answered the questions based on the assumption that one could disregard all practical issues of how to get from status quo to this preferred allocation of resources. If so, I think it would be helpful to state this clearly with the question so that all respondents and readers have this in mind.

Be the Match: a volunteer list for bone marrow donation

FWIW, I was a stem cell donor in March this year.

Here in Norway you can sign up after donating blood at least three times, they take a couple of extra blood samples for the stem cell registry and then you wait for the call. Most people on the list are never matched with anyone. I understand that the registry is an international collaboration, so the patient could have very well (most likely) been from a different country than Norway. I don't know where the patient lives that received my stem cells.

Here's a database of countries and agencies that take part in this international collaboration: https://share.wmda.info/display/WMDAREG/Database#/

I donated through blood, which means I was first treated with injections of growth factors in the four days leading ut to the blood harvesting to provoke the release of stem cells from the bone marrow into the blood. This induce flu like symptoms with neck and back pain as the bone marrow swells up. The first injection my doctor gave me, but the rest I took at home after observing how it was done. On the day of the harvest I went to the hospital and spent about 3h in a bed hooked up to an apheresis machine which takes my blood out one arm, separated out the stem cells and puts the rest of the blood in the other arm.

The day of the harvest was a Monday, and I started feeling sick (the induced pseudo-flu) Friday evening with significant back pain on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but I was back to work the second half of Tuesday.

In total I think I spent a total of ~30 hours of productive hours (including Sat and Sun), while the Norwegian Bone Marrow Donor Registry refunded my workplace for the 15 hours I was on leave for this. I didn't pay anything in the end, nor got compensated anything else than my normal salary for the hours I was on leave. Some of this time I spent on low productive things like reading books and the rest I spend relaxing, playing computer games or sleeping.

I don't think this was the most effective thing I've done in my life, and I'm unsure it was even better than the expected value of my hours, but I'm confident that was higher than average.

Since I already was a blood donor it was very low effort to registrer for stem cell donation, and when I was a match, the relevant calculation on my part was the time I was going to spend, not the time all non-matched donors already had spent.

I also value that I learned some interesting things about stem cell treatment and stem cell donation in particular, and I enjoyed the experience and the story I can tell afterwards.

EAGxNordics 2019 Postmortem

It seems to me like you and Halffull (previous comment) puts more weight on the goals we didn't achieve than was our intention with this report. I would like to note that we did not conclude the conference to be a failure and that the results are more nuanced.

It is true that we mostly failed at reaching the specific goals of engaging "inactive" EAs with the conference as we defined it. But the results report also show that there was a 10 percentage points increase in interests in applying for an EA Job and also an increase in interest of being responsible for an EA project.

In addition to these results being more nuanced than concluding with "EAGxNordics19 was a failure", on more traditional conference engagement targets we did quite well. An NPS of 45 is very good, 70% said the conference influenced their plans and 85% of the attendees found at least some interactions valuable. 92% of the respondents reported that the conference keeps them motivated to do good and 88% feel like they are part of a community because of the conference.

Because of this, we do not think our evaluation of EAGxNordics to be a case against running EAGx-conferences. If anything, our strongest take away for later EAGxs is that is it hard to use the conference as a tool for engaging "inactive" community members, and if you are aiming to to that, intensive, targeted outreach is needed to get them to participate in the first place.

Announcing plans for a German Effective Altruism Network focused on Community Building

Sorry we're late to reply, but we hope it's still valuable.

Thanks for our detailed post and willingness to be transparent about our plans! Regional and national EA groups in Germany seems like potentially a very valuable initiative.

Based on our experience building the national EA group in Norway, we want to echo the feedback previously given here by EAF, Michelle and Aaron. Especially the notion of not planning too much in advance, as reality will always be merciless to any plans. Adopting an agile approach with rapid feedback cycles is really important. We've found much of the advice in the Startup Playbook (Y Combinator) really useful: https://playbook.samaltman.com/

Here's a relevant extract from their chapter about great products:

"Understand your users as well as you possibly can. Really figure out what they need, where to find them, and what makes them tick.

“Do things that don’t scale” has rightfully become a mantra for startups. You usually need to recruit initial users one at a time (Ben Silbermann used to approach strangers in coffee shops in Palo Alto and ask them to try Pinterest) and then build things they ask for. Many founders hate this part, and just want to announce their product in the press. But that almost never works. Recruit users manually, and make the product so good the users you recruit tell their friends.

You also need to break things into very small pieces, and iterate and adapt as you go. Don’t try to plan too far out, and definitely don’t batch everything into one big public release. You want to start with something very simple—as little surface area as possible—and launch it sooner than you’d think. In fact, simplicity is always good, and you should always keep your product and company as simple as possible."

May be it's a good idea to select just a few of the activities you mention, starting with North Rhine-Westphalia or Greater Berlin before expanding? NRW is 18 million people, about the size of Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined.

We would very much be interested in discussing EA community building and new regional and national groups further. We regularly collaborate and share experience and best practices with other EA groups so please don't hesitate to reach out.

Pre-announcement and call for feedback: Operations Camp 2019

Thank you for an interesting comment. Would you say that we should expect more impact from the fact that we are identifying and referring strong candidates, and providing them with a strong signal of their competence, motivation and EA understanding, than from any learning and experience they might build during the camp?

Pre-announcement and call for feedback: Operations Camp 2019

Thanks for your comment. In our previous posts we explored the nature of the operations talent gap, and among other things surveyed EAs working in operations roles about what traits and skills they believed to be important in their job, and how these skills could be acquired.

From our previous post [part 2]:

"...work experience with operations, running logistics at events and workshops, and project management are mentioned as ways in which the respondents gained some of their skills. Furthermore, internships, volunteering and doing independent side projects were mentioned as concrete ways to gain certain skills, while also being less costly than taking a job somewhere."

"Other mentions in the survey were reading articles and books on business-related topics, trying to improve the organisations you work at, and getting feedback from colleagues and experienced operations people. [...] In terms of other ways which one could acquire these skills, the respondents proposed attending workshops, and work experience in the private sector or non-EA organisations. They also mentioned taking tutorials on relevant topics, coaching from others, and online courses."

We share your concern that short-term experience will not provide participants with a significant increase in skill level of any relevant skill. Still, we think that an intensive project with deliberate practice, supported by solid mentoring, could provide useful and enhance participants skills. At least if the target group of the camp is juniors. Also, we would add that given the third mechanism mentioned in our post, we believe that most of the value will come from finding already skilled people and help them signal their skill level and motivation reliably, rather than relying on significant up-skilling during the camp.

Pre-announcement and call for feedback: Operations Camp 2019

That's great! Thanks for the offer! We'll add your name to a list of resources we'll consider for the camp. That being said, developing the content is not a priority in the next month.

A short review of the Effect Foundation in 2017

As of now it is quite low effort. We got a website that works like a donation portal providing information about GW orgs in Norwegian, general arguments for why one should give effectively and transparent information about the Effect Foundation. The main value here is the information is provided in Norwegian and that we support Norwegian payment methods. These payment methods are no or low fees so there are some savings in transaction cost by donating through us rather than directly.

In addition to the website we use Facebook to promote the organizations and effective giving, and we use the new facebook fundraising feature. Also we have a promotional video shown on national television 1-2 days a year(http://effective-altruism.com/ea/l0/eacommersials_on_national_tv_in_norway_for_free/).

We have experimented with donor events (AMF visited Oslo last year for a talk and get together at a pub afterwards) and reaching out to companies and their CSR-projects (http://effective-altruism.com/ea/1js/project_report_on_the_potential_of_norwegian/).

Effective Altruism London - Strategic Plan & Funding Proposal 2018

I'm interested in hearing how the fundraising drive went and what the current situation of EA London is?

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