Thank you for writing this! I strongly agree that we should broaden the tent.
EA's biggest weakness in my opinion is that almost nobody knows what it is. I've spoken to many hundreds of athletes about EA in the last 2 years and only a handful had any idea what it was (hadn't heard the term) before I explained it. These are people with large audiences and cultural clout, who could be outsized levers in bringing the ideas to hundreds of millions.
However, EA as it presents itself right now seems quite exclusive. I don't believe that broadening the tent would lessen the direction or determination of those who are "pure" EA, but would gather a much more powerful groundswell around it.
I love this post. I think EA has a weakness when it comes to storytelling and grabbing hearts. We're great at appealing to the cerebral folk with careful reasoning and logic, but they're a small minority. If we want EA ideas to percolate deeply we need to be outcompeting the other heart-grabbers, which means appealing to emotion and layering the logic on top. IMHO.
Did you try?
I just tried it myself: followed three accounts in 17 seconds (having lost a couple of seconds in starting my stopwatch), which gave me 1m43s to think about my network and whether it includes athletes.
Also open to alternate headlines, e.g. Two tiny requests from HIA, A Variable Amount of your Time Depending on your Click Speed, Network Size, and Desire to Spend Time on the Task.
This is a fair point and one I'm not completely firm on myself.
The main reason for including Atmosfair and Burn are because in my experience pro athletes (particularly tennis players who fly almost every week) are particularly aware of their carbon footprint. Carbon offsetting is a relatively easy sell for this audience.
Dan Stein at Giving Green has done research on carbon offsetting's impact, and specifically efficient cook stoves. https://www.givinggreen.earth/post/fuel-efficient-cookstoves
I recommend BURN, as well as Atmosfair's cookstove pr...
Thanks Ben, great comment.
Do you think this approach works across the board? In my personal experience athletes are quite self-centred and asking for anything for free is a shock to them. So far, bringing up a percentage pledge has scared the vast majority of the athletes I've spoken to, despite giving myself as an example of someone for whom it works and feels good. Most have shied away from a percentage, asking to donate a discreet amount and maybe come in at a 1% pledge next year or the year after.
Perhaps this response is only typical ...
I don't have any experience with athletes, though I'd be surprised if they were unusually self-centred compared to other rich people.
Donating a % of winnings above a threshold might be better if income volatility is the worry. That's the approach Founder's Pledge and REG both use, which are also very relevant examples. (Note that FP started out with IIRC 2% as their default but now they don't have a specific percentage and try to suggest the idea of donating much more initially.) I could imagine a pitch like "if you win X big competition, how abo...
Also, I would love to have a wide variety of athletes represented by HIA. As it's still very new I'm focusing outreach on those I have personal relationships with, which means tennis, which is predominantly white in the professional space at this point in time. I'm hoping that over time I can get in touch with a more diverse range of athletes from many different sports.
This is a good point and not one I'd thought of before. Thank you.
Re 'saintly', it is intended as a joke. Do you think it's more offensive than funny? Or not worth the risk?
Re diversity, I can't help that I'm the founder and I'm white, but having a more diverse advisory board sounds good. Do you have any ideas as to who would be good advisors for this sort of thing? Important to note that all the advisors are completely pro bono.
This is a huge discussion, so sorry for the very quick comment. Very happy about the idea of the project in general!
I'm pretty unsure that pledges around 1% are a good idea, especially among people who are already wealthy. In the US, people donate 2% of their income on average (and more altruistic people presumably start higher), and so getting someone to pledge 1% could easily reduce how much they give in total. (Since after they take the pledge, they might feel they've done their bit, and reduce informal donations.)
I think it's important to set the defau...
I think if you focus on climate change and pandemics, it can actually seem really mainstream (especially now!).
Just don't mention AI :)
I think it would be really cool if you added a section on 'catastrophic risks' and used the recommended charities from Founder's Pledge – they have examples in pandemic prevention and climate risks - at least as an experiment.
Hi Alex, thanks for your comments! I'll reply to each. I'm aiming to cast the net as widely as possible within the athlete community. To me this means mixing the novel (effective altruism) with the known. I think it is also valid to say that the animal welfare charities represented have a large impact on the environment.
By 'code' I mean sport. I've spoken to athletes from around 8 different sports thus far and have generally seen a lot of interest. But the big challenge is to go from hearing 'that's a cool idea' to 'how can I donate'.
I agree that inspiration and mentorship could both be huge, and I would also say that they begin from the same point of communication and education in the athlete community. The athletes can't pass on what they don't yet know.
I'd push back on the last paragraph here - granted, some sports are salary based and relatively financially secure from year to year. Tennis and many other individual sports are the opposite and purely based on how many matches you win. Given the huge expenses inherent in flying to tournaments and hiring coaches, many weeks are break-even or losses, even at the highest level. If dealing with this sort of uncertainty helps with EA alignment then it bodes well for approaching athletes from many individual sports.
Hi Ishaan, cool idea. At this point I'm not intending to set up officially as a tax-deductible charity. The athletes will be donating from all over the world, so creating a broad enough network of orgs would be a huge undertaking. At first I'm purely intending to act as an educator and a connector to the charities themselves. Perhaps down the line once this thing has more momentum it would make sense to talk to PPF. Thanks for the input!
Hi all, thought I'd jump in here with a few comments.
I think Ryan brings up a fair point in that the thought patterns of poker players may be MORE naturally aligned with EA than other sports. I do, however, think that pro athletes are more focused on optimisation and potential shortcuts than the average person, given how short sport careers are and how hugely impactful a good shortcut/efficiency can be on career earnings. The focus is always on 'better', and I think I can use a narrative along those lines to help bring other athletes into al...
Hi Aaron, yes that's me!
I've had a great chat with Stefan from REG who couldn't bring to mind any athletes outside of the poker space. I am basically trying to bring REG's model into the pro sport space (beginning with tennis due to my personal relationships there).
Phelps is an interesting one. No idea how I'd get in touch with him but if he's been exposed to the ideologies already he could be an easier ask than most.
Thanks for the reply!
I love this Rebecca!
The only thing I'd want to see changed is to add a pledge % cell into the FI table at the top, so you can play around with the percentage right from the start.
I'm assuming people visiting the calculator will have at least some idea of what they're about to look at.