Larissa Schiavo

32Joined Jul 2021

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Hi Tomer, congrats on the launch! I really love your designs. 

Some questions/ideas:

  1. What's the profit margin like for each item? It would be cool if there were transparency about the profit from each item, and maybe a ticker at the bottom tracking how much has been donated so far. 
  2. I'm a little blackpilled from seeing so many 'for good' clothing items be a total wash - the net amount donated per item is often tiny in comparison to just donating to the charity. For example, someone sells a shirt for $20, the costs associated with making/selling the shirt are $15, they net $5 profit to donate from each t-shirt. As a consumer, why wouldn't I just get a t-shirt at a charity/thrift shop for $2 and donate the $18 difference directly? 
  3. Another reason I'm a little cynical about clothing as a charity motivator is that a lot of people (in developed countries) are already pretty flush with clothing, and clothing is pretty labor and resource-intensive relative to the final product. Sewing/pieceing a garment is a difficult-to-automate task that requires a lot of (often poorly-paid) human labor for each shirt, a lot of resources for the cotton required to make the shirt, etc. Perhaps you should address your sourcing process on the site somewhere?
  4. With the above points being said, I would totally buy a 'shirt' - literally just a button on the website where I can donate $x (where x = profit from a shirt) to AMF/Clean Air Task Force. Maybe a little cheeky but could also be a good marketing point with some copy. Or maybe it links to an image file that someone could print to a transfer and iron-on to a thrifted shirt?

Oh, and lest we forget, there's Peter Singer's The Life You Can Save  free ebook as a case study - though I'd guess that the HTML rights are cheaper to secure than the ebook rights while still being just about as readable. 

Four categories that I feel like having a dynamic, maintained list would be helpful for: 

1) Funding opportunities - this might include sub-sections for: 

  • Large Grants (>$50k?),
  • Small Grants (<$50k?),
  • Micro Grants (things like covering new personal equipment, webhosting, software licenses, LLC incorporation fees?),
  • Learning Grants (scholarships, paying for courses, personal development, living expenses while in school?),
  • grants divvied up by cause area,
  • and grants for specific things (eg a compute credit program for independent researchers getting started, maybe a grant offering to subsidize daycare if you want to independently work on cool stuff but are spending a ton of time on childcare?)

2) Open problems/project ideas - ??? not sure how to make this work, or how to moderate this, but would be cool if possible 

3) Volunteer/collaborator searches - I see a lot of posts of this type in the EA Slack teams I'm in, and it seems like these posts get lost in the milieu. These are different from EA Job Board posts, as these aren't really jobs so much as... pre-jobs?

4) Free (legit) learning materials - anecdotally, I notice people get really stoked when they discover that so many AI related resources (eg the deep learning book) are free.50. I think this is especially true for people in developing countries, though I can't speak to that personally. Compiling other substantial free materials, syllabi, etc related to other areas - maybe other HTML versions of textbooks? - would be cool (filtering out blatant content marketing materials and Libgen rips ofc). 

I thought this was lovely, Lizka! I wasn't expecting to see a picture-book-type entry in this contest, so thank you for that. 

My biggest suggestion would be that I'm seeing several picture books presented in your story as it is right now. How did Black Bird make the decision to peck at the little tree? What were some counterarguments from the birds swarming the man with an axe? I feel like you could draw each scenario you presented out into a full picture book with a clearer central conflict. This could also help draw older readers in, and perhaps address the 'preachy' vibe some commenters mentioned.

I'm immediately reminded of The Little Red Hen - which focuses on not sharing bread with others. Written during the social-Darwin-ish Gilded Age, it was popular during the Reagan administration as a tool for illustrating the dangers of welfare. I'm seeing some evidence that Reagan even rewrote the story as an 'economics lesson' for a 1976 radio program. Birds + bread seem to be good parable fodder, perhaps?

+1, a lot of David Mitchell's metafiction-y books have EA vibes (huge scope, interwoven characters doing the right thing for unknown future others)

I feel like a decent percentage of protagonists in Participant-produced movies/TV shows would fit the bill here. 

Gravity's Rainbow probably also would be an example of this, as it basically (/supposedly?) is the story of de-risking of V2 rockets during WWII, and is written on an insanely-big scale (400 named characters, over way-too-many pages). However, I gave up on reading it after a few-hundred pages, because it is very long, VERY postmodern, and practically requires a string map to follow - so I don't know if the remaining 75% of the book suddenly shifts gear and portrays the Nazis as the good guys. 

Lord of the Rings: absolutely moral heroism/altruism in protagonists. Two hobbits et al. walk from Florida to Michigan, push themselves very far outside of their comfort zones, and risk death/torture in order to protect literally everything on (middle) Earth.

(please note: this is slightly facetious in tone)

I would say Harry Potter is not exactly an EA example. The super-powerful almost-immortal physical embodiment of evil has a huge beef with him (a not-very-skilled not-very-smart teenager??). Though he knows that Evil Embodied is constantly trying to assassinate him in inefficient baroque ways, Harry Potter puts hundreds of other wizards in danger (resulting in a few dozen deaths) by going to Hogwarts versus, eg, insisting on homeschooling. Why is Harry the sole person who can save the magic-world? Why not hedge your bets and explore other methods? Pinning the survival of your entire society on one teenager seems like a particularly ill-advised move. Tangentially, why not study (and later attempt to reproduce) what makes Harry immune to a ton of otherwise-lethal magic stints?

Then, after defeating the Most Evil And Worst Person In Wizardom, Harry takes his wealth of insane experiences and decides to become... a magic cop (if you're really The Very Special Main Character maybe you should write and share your experiences/insights with everyone instead of issuing wizard parking tickets?).