All of Marcus Daniell's Comments + Replies

Two Tiny Requests from HIA, Two Mins of your Time

Totally. I'm being very tongue in cheek above. 
The gist of the headline and the post is that community members can contribute to a potentially highly impactful project with a very trivial amount of time and energy spend.
I very much agree that good intros take time.

2Charles He21d
Yes, of course, that's fair. I guess it can be difficult to communicate tone online.
Two Tiny Requests from HIA, Two Mins of your Time

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.

3Charles He23d
Ok. I guess this comment is a little argumentative and not the highest signal to noise but: I can see how someone who hasn’t used their social media in a while, need time to login, unjig their password manager, agree to the latest privacy policy, etc. which takes several minutes. Also, it seems like many introduction emails take more than 2 minutes to write, especially if you haven’t spoken to that person in a while or they are loosely connected.
Introducing High Impact Athletes

I've thought about getting in touch with them and seeing if they wanted to partner up somehow. From what I can see they don't have any alignment with EA, so perhaps I could try and move the needle a bit towards that. 

Introducing High Impact Athletes

They've both been super helpful, particularly REG!

Introducing High Impact Athletes

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... (read more)

7JoanMM2y
I understand what you mean. Carbon offsetting is something many people is already familiar with and also tangible (direct action). Indirect actions like developing new technologies, including advanced nuclear, or lobbying to influence political solutions, might be the most effective way, but it is less compelling to many people. I used to offset my carbon footprint as well until recently. It took some time for me to absorb the facts and act consequently. However, I still find the top charities currently recommended by Founders Pledge kind of abstract and "unsexy". These adjectives might not be considered relevant for advanced effective altruists, but I think the emotional component should not be neglected. This is especially important when talking to other people about it. It is only my own experience and intuition, but the current top charities do not make one feel excited about it and eventually many will not donate anything, while if other charities that perform direct action are mentioned, it could be more compelling. The compromise I found is CoolEarth. Protecting forests is tangible (direct action) and people generally like the concept of protecting forests and can grasp it instantly. In addition, according to the studies available (see below - unfortunately, I do know of any more updated versions) we are talking about the same order of magnitude when comparing it to the top charities. Therefore, when talking to other people, I usually start talking about CoolEarth and only in cases where I see they are interested in getting deeper I will talk about the other options. Regarding the 100x effectiveness: * Clean Air Task Force: $0.10-$1/tonne of CO2e. Source: Founders Pledge report 2018 [https://founderspledge.com/research/fp-climate-change] * Coalition for Rainforest Nations: $0.02 - $0.72/tonne of CO2e. Source: Founders Pledge report 2018 [https://founderspledge.com/research/fp-climate-change] * CoolEarth: $0.18-$0.71/tonne of CO2e. Source: GWWC report 2016
Introducing High Impact Athletes

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 ... (read more)

Hi Marcus,

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... (read more)

7Larks2y
I am imagining this conversation: Marcus: you should donate 1% of your income Athlete: I don't want to commit to a percentage. How about a fixed dollar value for this year, and maybe a percentage later? Marcus: Sounds good. How much you you make? Athlete: I make $500k a year. Marcus: How about donating 10k then? That's a nice round number.
Introducing High Impact Athletes

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. 

7Alex HT2y
Yep! I assumed this kind of thing was the case (and obviously was just flagging it as something to be aware of, not trying to finger-wag)
Introducing High Impact Athletes

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. 

8Marcus Daniell2y
Changed! Thanks for the input
2alexrjl2y
Sanjay [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/users/sanjay] has a lot of experience on the advisory/trustee side of charities. I'd recommend sending him a PM if you haven't already.
2Alex HT2y
I don't find anything wrong at all with 'saintly' personally, and took it as a joke. But I could imagine someone taking it the wrong way. Maybe I'd see what others on the forum think
Introducing High Impact Athletes

I would argue that most people reading the website are very wealthy - living in a western country almost inevitably qualifies you as very wealthy. For the main target audience - successful professional athletes - a 10% pledge would not change quality of life one whit. 

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... (read more)

Introducing High Impact Athletes

See below about casting the net - being an athlete myself and knowing many personally I think longtermism is too much of a stretch conceptually for most athletes at this point. 

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.

Introducing High Impact Athletes

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. 

Are there any other pro athlete aspiring EAs?

Hi Linch,

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.

Are there any other pro athlete aspiring EAs?

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.

3RyanCarey2y
Makes sense! How people deal with the uncertainty could also be informative. If they talk about calculating the expected value (in earnings) of a tournament, or expected points won from a shot, or get excited about sport statisticians' work generally - then that would be extra-encouraging.
Are there any other pro athlete aspiring EAs?

Sounds like a good dude. Any idea how I could begin to approach someone like that? My area is tennis and I haven't had a huge amount of network crossover into football. Cheers

1jared_m2y
It looks like he is represented by Germany's Arena11, so my first three stops would be reaching out to Liverpool, its ownership group FSG, and Arena11. (Perhaps a German member of the EA community can help with running down an Arena11 contact who works with Björn Bezemer, his agent.) TBD if any of those three will reply... but those would be the first three avenues I'd try. https://www.forbes.com/companies/arena11-sports-group/#13990f5720cf [https://www.forbes.com/companies/arena11-sports-group/#13990f5720cf] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenway_Sports_Group [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenway_Sports_Group]
Are there any other pro athlete aspiring EAs?

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!

Are there any other pro athlete aspiring EAs?

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... (read more)

7Linch2y
I think the optimization mentality is a really big deal. There's a reason the deliberate practice [https://hbr.org/2007/07/the-making-of-an-expert] literature focused on the sports and arts. To the extent that this is translatable to other endeavors (as you and jsteinhardt alludes to), this can be a really big deal for optimization endeavors in EA. What does "code" mean in this context? Different language codes [https://sociologytwynham.com/2008/12/26/bernstein-speech-codes/] spoken among different sportspeople? I think this makes a lot of sense. As Ryan and others have mentions, there might also be non-monetary EA goals that are useful as well, for example policy goals that are more cosmopolitan and future-oriented, or inspiring/mentoring [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/CRLqnx7Es95tjCueN/are-there-any-other-pro-athlete-aspiring-eas?commentId=ydRvEZ2oAaoXQeSaF] future generations of researchers and policymakers.
Are there any other pro athlete aspiring EAs?

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!

3Aaron Gertler2y
I haven't heard of Phelps being involved in anything EA-related since then, so I'd guess this was just a random charity event to him (one among many). Rob Mather of AMF organized the swim event, so he may know whether any of the high-level swimmers from that fundraiser continued to be involved with AMF afterwards.