Locke

Run the data and research @ CA Good Government Organization
Working (6-15 years of experience)
178Joined Jun 2022

Bio

My dog's name is Scout. Yes that's a daily reminder to maintain a Scout rather than Soldier's mindset.  A bit of backstory: Out of grad school, several friends and I launched a public data nonprofit, with seed funding from the Knight Foundation and a coalition of visionary water managers that believed in our vision of public data infrastructure. You can learn more about our water data work at theCaDC.org

 

I led that team, setting the project vision, building the initial tools, hiring and growing the team, responding to client needs and feature requests, and managing the project for five years. Those analytics helped our partners save over $20 million in avoided capital costs, informed the optimization of almost half a billion dollars in turf rebates and delivered California’s first ever statewide water efficiency benchmarks (for <5% the state government budgeted). The project has continued to enjoy steady, sustainable growth -- a rarity in gov tech! 

 

In 2019, I left the organization in good hands and joined California Forward, where I currently run the data and research for the organization. There I lead the development of our California Dream Index (“CDI”) and broader initiative to ground policy with evidence. When I joined, the CDI was a concept that had been discussed for the previous three years. Within six months starting, I was able to execute and launch the initial analytics product at our flagship annual event.


I have also led research and development for a measure of high wage jobs produced across California. Together with the CDI, these data are critical for tracking the state's transition to a decarbonized economy. At CA FWD, I have also had a unique vantage point to participate in leading climate policy discussions through our workgroups and unique convenings like a deliberative poll on climate policy. 

How others can help me

DMs open for gigs and job opportunities.

How I can help others

Reach out if you're interested in civic / gov / urban tech, the data for good movement and pioneering digitally native public institutions

Comments
87

Is there an EA subgroup focused on philosophical pragmatism? EA has a strong utilitarian image. There's a lot more nuance though one problem with utilitarianism is that if the ends justify the means, then sufficiently impactful ends can justify any means -- even very problematic issues like the recent SBF revelations. 

Philosophical pragmatism offers a lot of insight for the EA movement.  That would see ends and the cost benefit calcs that are beloved around here as one important though not all encompassing factor in decision-making. 

Anyone work at GiveWell? I was somewhat intrigued by the new senior researcher position though curious to learn more about the direction of the organization. Specifically, I'd be curious into how deep GiveWell is open to looking into state capacity issues. I saw the relatively recent jpal work and curious if they'd be open to doing more of that work. 

 

https://www.givewell.org/about/jobs/senior-researcher

I'd be happy to help however I can :) 

"In response to a comment that “multiple friends who applied to the Pareto Fellowship felt like it was quite unprofessionally run” CEA staff reiterated that an evaluation was “forthcoming”, but it was never published."

 

...

How do EA anchor institutions plan to operationalize changes based on these critiques? There seems to be a bit of a pattern in some that I've read where people point out problems and then nothing changes. 

Was and is there going to be any accountability for the cultish aspects of things like the Pareto fellowship? That sounds absolutely bizarre. 

Is there any explicit path for integrating criticism from the contest? I.e. are folks at some of the EA anchor organizations planning to read the essays and discuss operational changes in the aftermath? 

Great post! Have any specific changes come about as a result of writing this? I'm always curious to better understand the feedback loop between dialogue on the forum and actions in the movement. 

 

I particularly like the points about how EA can be too totalizing and think the movement could benefit from a more pragmatic streak, both with more practical minded professionally experienced people and also honestly more engagement with the pragmatist school of philosophical thought. (Everything seems to be pretty much implicitly consequentialist all the time around here.) I also wonder why can't there be explicitly space for loose and half joined EA's: "she got the sense that EA was a bit totalising, like she couldn’t really half-join"

Here's a bit I wrote on the need for a more open and ecumenical EA movement: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/NR2Y2B8Y4Wxn8pAS8/towards-a-more-ecumenical-ea-movement

Ah fair enough. That's definitely a good reason. FWIW as someone long time EA adjacent but more newly active some of the questions in the application feel more like proving one's fidelity to the EA cause rather than generally screening for problematic people or ensuring a diversity of perspectives. 

Ha I definitely did miss it! Why are there applications though for a virtual event? That seems like an easy opportunity to be much more open like Scott is suggesting.

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