Mathieu Putz

Founder @ ARENA
773London, UKJoined Dec 2019
arena.education

Bio

Hey, I'm Matt! I recently finished studying Engineering Science at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), with a specialization in Machine Learning. 

Currently, I'm running ARENA, the Alignment Research Engineer Accelerator, with Callum McDougall: arena.education 

(last updated on the 6th Oct 2022)

Comments
67

Can you say more about the 20% per year discount rate for community building? 

In particular, is the figure meant to refer to time or money? I.e. does it mean that

  1. you would trade at most 0.8 marginal hours spent on community building in 2024 for 1 marginal hour in 2023?
  2. you would trade at most 0.8 marginal dollars spent on community building in 2024 for 1 marginal dollar spent on community building in 2023? 
  3. something else? (possibly not referring to marginal resources?)

(For money a 20% discount rate seems very high to me, barring very short timelines or something similar. It would presumably imply that you think Open Phil should be spending much more on community building until the marginal dollar doesn't have such high returns anymore?)

Minor nitpick: 

I would've found it more helpful to see Haydn's and Esben's judgments listed separately.

Need is a very strong word so I'm voting no. Might sometimes be marginally advantageous though.

Thanks for writing this up! Was gonna apply anyway, but a post like this might have gotten me to apply last year (which I didn't, but which would've been smart). It also contained some useful sections that I didn't know about yet!

I'm not sure what my general take is on this, I think it's quite plausible that keeping it exclusive is net good, maybe more likely good than not. But I want to add one anecdote of my own which pushes the other way.

Over the last two years, while I was a student, I made two career choices in part (though not only) to gain EA credibility:

  • I was a group organizer at EA Munich (~2 hours a week)
  • I did a part-time internship at an EA org (~10 hours a week)

Both of these were fun, but I think it's unlikely that they were good for my career or impact in ways other than gaining EA credibility. I think one non-trivial reason EA credibility was important to me was that I wanted to keep being admitted to things like EAG (maybe more than I admitted to myself in my explicit reasoning at the time).

Having said that, I think EA credibility has also been important to my career in other ways, notably to receive grants, so it's not clear that this was bad on net.

It might also be that these were unnecessary or ineffective ways of gaining EA credibility --- I don't know what the admissions team cares about. Regardless, I think it's an update that this is part of what led me to make choices that I otherwise might not have made (though quite plausibly I would have made them anyway).

This is so useful! I love this kind of post and will buy many things from this one in particular.

Probably a very naive question, but why can't you just take a lot of DHA **and** a lot of EPA to get both supplements' benefits? Especially if your diet means you're likely deficient in both (which is true of veganism? vegetarianism?).

Assuming the Reddit folk wisdom about DHA inducing depression was wrong (which it might not be, I don't want to dismiss it), I don't understand from the rest of what you wrote why this doesn't work? Why is there a trade-off?

This seems really exciting!

I skimmed some sections so might have missed it in case you brought it up, but I think one thing that might be tricky about this project is the optics of where your own funding would be coming from. E.g. it might look bad if most (any?) of your funding was coming from OpenPhil and then Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna were very highly ranked (which they probably should be!). In worlds where this project is successful and gathers some public attention, that kind of thing seems quite likely to come up.

So I think conditional on thinking this is a good idea at all, this may be an unusually good funding opportunity for smaller earning-to-givers. Unfortunately, the flip-side is that fundraising for this may be somewhat harder than for other EA projects.

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