Pawel Sysiak

Writing and learning at
42 karmaJoined Working (6-15 years)New York, NY, USA


Writing • Distilling the most impactful knowledge • Working on improving epistemics and collective decision-making using technology • 🙃🧬💿🧘‍♂️🔍


[Question about text formatting] How did Holden format the text to include a collapsible section? If you don't see it search for "Click to expand". I cannot figure it out. Unfortunately using the Markdown as mentioned in this example doesn't work. Does anybody know? 

Thanks for highlighting these concerns! Here is what I think about these topics:


I focused on doing an overview of the HLI and the problem area because compared to other teams it seemed as one of the most established and highest quality orgs within the Clearer Thinking regranting round. I thought this may be missed by some and is a good predictor of the outcomes.


I focused on the big-picture lens because the project they are looking for funding for is pretty open-ended.

So far, we’ve looked quite narrowly at GiveWell-style ‘micro-interventions’ in low-income countries to see how taking a happiness approach changes the priorities. This sort of analysis is quite straightforward - it’s standard quantitative economic cost-effectiveness -  but we’re not convinced that these sorts of interventions are going to be the best way to improve global wellbeing. We’ve hired Lily to expand our analysis more broadly: Are there systemic changes that would move the world in the right direction, not just benefit one group? What should be done to improve wellbeing in high-income countries? A world without poverty isn’t a world of maximum wellbeing, so how could moving towards a more flourishing society today impact the long-term? These are harder, more qualitative analyses, but no one has tried to tackle them before and we think this could be extremely valuable.

I think the prior performance and the quality of the methodology they are using are good predictors of the expected value of this grant. 


I didn’t get the impression that the application lacks specific examples. Perhaps could be improved though. They listed three specific projects they want to investigate the impact of:

For example, the World Happiness Report has only been running for ten years but its annual league table of national wellbeing is now well known and sparks discussion amongst policymakers. Further funding to promote the report could substantially raise the profile of wellbeing. Other examples include the World Wellbeing Movement which aims to incorporate employee wellbeing into ESG investing scores and Action for Happiness which promotes societal change in attitudes towards happiness.

That said, I wish they listed a couple of more organizations/projects/policies they would like to investigate. Otherwise, communicate something along the line: We don’t have more specifics this time as the nature of this project is to task Dr Lily Yu to identify potential interventions worth funding. We, therefore focus more on describing methodology, direction, and our relevant experience. 


I am not sure how much support HLI gets from the whole EA ecosystem. It may be low. In their EA forum profile, it appears low “As of July 2022, HLI has received $55,000 in funding from Effective Altruism Funds”. Because of that, I thought discussing this topic on a higher level may be helpful.


I also think the SWB framework aspect wasn’t highlighted enough in the application. I focused on this as I see a very high expected value in supporting this grant application as it will help HLI stress test SWB methodology further.


As for Nuño's comment. I don't see a problem that money is passed further through a number of orgs. I sympathize with Austin's fragment of the comment  (please read the whole comment as this fragment is a little misleading on what Austin meant there) 

I'm wondering, why doesn't this logic apply for regular capitalism? It seems like money when you buy eg a pencil goes through many more layers than here, but that seems to be generally good in getting firms to specialize and create competitive products. The world is very complex, each individual/firm can only hold so much know-how, so each abstraction layer allows for much more complex and better production. 

Initially, FTX decided on the regrant dynamic – perhaps to distribute the intelligence and responsibility to more actors. What if adding more steps actually adds quality to the grants? I think the main question here is whether this particular step adds value. 

I use immersive reading all the time. I find that it substantially increases reading speed and comprehension. Here are some tools I find helpful:

  • In the past, I used Instapaper and Pocket to aggregate articles and use their text-to-speech software (I think Instapaper's text-to-speech is better). But about a year ago I switched to the Matter app (iOS only, I think it is a very well-thought-out app and has a good text-to-speech mode.
  • If you buy an old version of Kindle – that is Kindle 3 you will get a very solid text-to-speech software that works with any book. Amazon discontinued this feature (perhaps to boost Audible sales?). I used it a lot and works well.
  • Dotsam already linked how to enable text-to-speech on iOS I use it even more on Mac. You use it by selecting a text and hitting "option + esc"

Are there any such coworking / event spaces in SF Bay or any other city? I love this initiative. It makes me more inclined to move to NYC

Marta, did you publish your research anywhere?

„Think about the population density of places you go to regularly. Ask yourself: “How many people have been here in the last week?”. Avoid places where that number is large, and, take extra precautions.”

What do you consider a small/moderate/large numbers here? i.e. I go to a small exercises studio with ~200 weekly visitors. When this type of place starts being a high risk place.