This is a super interesting idea! I like this push for more object-level thinking. I live in Kenya - may be worthwhile to do in the poorer regions here. Heading home for Christmas and maybe I will bring back a suitcase full, then travel around the northern deserts handing them out.
Making this really practical, here are the things I'm thinking through on actually doing this:
I'll report back if I go through with this!
A few other thoughts:
Strongly agree with your thoughts on safety.
"Just directly physically doing things seems to be high-impact in general" - interesting. Of the four top charities, seems like only Malaria Consortium physically does stuff. The other three seem to fund and support existing organizations who are doing highly effective physical things (1).
In that spirit: I can potentially fund a person or two to go around handing out antibiotics! Let me know if you are reading this and are thinking of doing it but worried about funding.
"I’d guess that each course saves more like 1/100 life rather than 1/1000". Where does this come from? I have no intuition around how likely antibiotics are to help people, so would like to understand better!
1. descriptions of four charities from a 5-minute readthrough of their summaires on GiveWell
I'm super excited about this! Seems like there's a lot of potential. Just a few half-thought observations and data points below in case helpful.
A potential worry about the restaurant-first approach - anecdotally it seems like hip restaurants in places like NYC/Boston/Philly may already doing quite a bit with tofu in different varieties. The mechanism by which food goes from "being used in chic restaurants" to "drastically changing the volume of tofu eaten" probably needs some proving.
For example the first (non-random) restaurants I looked up has Mustard Seed Crusted Tofu with spaghetti squash. The second just has glass noodles with roasted tofu, which maybe supports your point that it's limited varieties of tofu being used.
It may be unrealistic to expect a modern American restaurant to devote more than a couple dishes to "non-Chinese" dishes. (maybe this is averted if the main channel is things like lasagnas and grilled "cheeses" like you're trying).
Potential inspiration: Mtofu is a newish company in Kenya that is markets flavored tofus, eg chorizo substitutes: https://m.facebook.com/mtofukenya/
Hi Kirsten, I wrote up an update here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Ee4q4RhbjZTG9DKZ8/update-on-pestering-embassies-to-reduce-non-policy-barriers
Hi Guy, I wrote up an update here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Ee4q4RhbjZTG9DKZ8/update-on-pestering-embassies-to-reduce-non-policy-barriers
I'm happy to give more detail if it's helpful! I don't really think anything I did was particularly impactful due to not understanding the system well enough, and due to "advocacy from Americans" being less of a limiting factor than "political capital within the embassy"
Thank you! Agreed that EA as a community often overlooks the value of protests and social change. Excited to look more deeply into the report
On “backfire” - do you have any view on backfire of BLM protests? I’ve been concerned with the pattern of protest -> police stop enforcing in a neighborhood -> murder rates go up. Seems like if this does happen, it really raises the bar as the long run positive effects protests like this need to achieve in order to offset the medium term murder increase.
But maybe I’m thinking of this wrong. Or maybe this wouldn’t be considered backfire - more of an unintended side effect?
Thank you so much! Let me write to Kneedler. May do a FOIA request later too
Absolutely, it's a lose-lose, unforced error.
For channels see my comment to Guy Raveh with what I've done so far!
Thanks! See my comment to Guy Raveh with what I've done so far!
Agreed - would love more work visas! Way more impactful. Would love lots more people to work on that as well.
So far what I have done:
Would love any feedback / further advice on this!
Love this idea! Excited to see this go into action. If the fund gets high returns I think it would be great to have a large pool of funds under control of a broader base of EAs (assuming a lot of EAs contribute to the fund). And I think the brand building getting EA in direct contact with early stage entrepreneurs (and in front of the eyeballs of everyone reading eg TechCrunch and seeing EA Snowball fund listed as a funder) could be powerful.
Biggest concern in my mind is that this becomes a low tier VC - establishing it as a “premium” brand that founders want to have as a funder would be critical I think, so that the EA founders don’t just say “we’ll I’d rather just get an extra 100k from my existing funders and not have to deal with this Snowball fund”