Kim Stiens

12 karmaJoined Oct 2022


Can't wait to read more! Especially as you build your alumni pool, I'm interested to see how much this coaching actually shapes people's careers. I've worked at places that did management training and coaching before, and a constant struggle was the difference between subjective individual benefit ("this coaching really helped me change my perspective and approach! I feel much improved!") versus objective aggregate benefit ("this person is demonstrably a better manager within the organization"). Obviously the two are connected, but I don't know that one predicts the other. 

Individual subjective benefit is still good though (especially looking at your section 3 'giving permission' - where the blocker is entirely internal and subjective in the first place)! Interested in seeing how this looks over time!

Thank you for writing this! I agree about all the points you've made. I think 1 and 4 would be especially impactful - I've worked with a few startup groups now that really do not know what they don't know, and even having a checklist with common $$$ amounts associated would be helpful. Accountability metrics around compliance would be good and probably pretty easy (do you have these kinds of insurance y/n, are you duly registered in every state in which you operate y/n, etc). 

I'm less concerned with 2 and 3, though that might be idiosyncratic - I always felt I had people I could reach out to for mentorship and coaching in ops, but I rarely felt like I had a reliable place to get concrete recommendations on vendors, internal policies, professional services and other stuff that companies tend to be weirdly secretive about.

One factor that I've seen (from outside the EA space) is that funders are reluctant to be seen as endorsing particular vendors or approaches, and I feel like this leads to a lot of duplicative efforts. I don't think the EA Cinematic Universe needs to have endorsed vendors, but I feel like every organization goes through long processes of vetting various professional services, doing the same research as other orgs have already done, and it feels like duplicative work. 

A funder saying "you need a bookkeeper" is good. Providing a thorough rubric for evaluating bookkeepers & bookeeping firms is better. Is "here's our list of trusted bookkeeping firms" even better than that? Or is that overstepping on the funder's side? I could see a lot of value to funders providing a skeleton frame for fundees ("this is how a nonprofit is structured, here's some standard accounting SOPs for your country of operation, here's a list of trusted payroll vendors that meet your needs as an org, here's the EA Standard Benefits & Salary Bands starter kit...") and I think it could be done without being too heavy-handed, but maybe that would result in more orgs losing out on new vendors and systems that haven't been vetted (and thus less innovation in approach / an implicit status-quo bias at a systemic level).