One of the people running EA Israel.
Thank you Michelle for posting this!
I wanted to add that when we founded Probably Good, we were also worried of exactly the sort of things detailed here. The reality turned out to be much better than we had even hoped: We contacted 80k and everyone on the team were incredibly supportive. This is both true in their attitude (being happy to see more people in this space) and also in practice (with advice and help along the way).
So I'm very happy to say that I agree. There's still lots of areas to explore in EA career advice and the people at 80k are far far nicer than you'd expect from someone when you tell them you want to 'compete'* with them.
Besides that, naturally, if we (Probably Good) can help people with advice or anything else, we'd be more than happy to!
* I know, it's not really competing. We really are genuienly working towards common goals.
I generally agree with the idea and appreciate the clarity of this post.
One related thought which I think is potentially useful both for thinking of which projects to fund or to start:
Projects usually need to be scalable at advanced stages, but not at the start. It's ok (and even recommended* in many cases) to start doing things in non-scalable ways that aren't cost-effective.A lot of times, the value in information \ experience \ growth is high enough that it's worth starting out doing things that you won't be able to sustain as you grow.
Obviously, there should be a plan (or at least ideas on how) to become more scalable later. I'd be looking for projects that have reasonable path(s) to being very scalable down the road.
* This link is advice for for-profit startups. It's only partially relevant for our context but the point I'm making is made there in more detail.
By the way, both Sella and I (Omer) will be at EAG. Feel free to connect, we'd love to chat with people who are interested in Probably Good and hear what you have to say...
Thanks for letting us know!
If that's alright, I'll send you an email with some questions to figure out what the problem is...
Just writing a quick comment here that I've changed the title of this post to be less confusing.
The previous title: "A New Career Guidance Organization: Probably Good" does sound like this is an evaluation. Didn't want to it seem like this comment didn't make sense to people who haven't seen the previous post title.
That sounds great! Thank you for sharing this.
If that's ok, I might get in touch soon with some questions about this...
Yes, that makes perfect sense. I think we definitely need to have a system that (1) let's people know if they're not going to get coaching even though they asked and (2) doesn't take up a lot of our time.
Thank you for the input!
I think some of the questions you raised are (at least partially) answered in our documents. Specifically, where we detail the impacts that we hope to achieve - those are impacts that we think we would potentially have a comparative advantage over 80,000 hours. Areas where we think we would be similar to 80,000 hours wouldn’t be areas where we’d expect to have significant counterfactual impact.
Regarding the abstractness and general nature of the documents, that’s completely fair. I expect things will be a lot clearer when we have a website up and some content, rather than documents explaining the principles by which we are creating the content.
As we’ve written in a few places, we’re taking this one step at a time and trying to get as much feedback as possible at every stage. I hope it won’t be very long before we’re able to start publishing some of our materials, which will be a good example of our actual work and will convey the specifics of our focus.
My initial intuition (stressing even more that this is based on no evidence but my best guess) is that the name "Probably Better" would be more confusing to people than "Probably Good". I'm expecting a lot of people asking "better than what?"
It also loses the meaning of good as in moral good (which I like, but not everyone here did).
Thank you for writing what you'd find most valuable! This lines up well with my thoughts...
Regarding being overwhelmed by requests for advice: Yes! That's definitely a failure mode. We've discussed how much we can give direct advice (very little in the near future, potentially more later but that's quite a bit of work to get there) and how to choose candidates (where we have a lot of thoughts but, as with other things, we expect to decide on a criteria and then have to fix it once we see where it fails).
I'm cautiously optimistic that we just don't have enough time to fall into this failure mode and so we'll stop ourselves before this becomes an issue :-)