sella

I am currently the founder and chair of the board of Effective Altruism Israel, I lead Google's Flood Forecasting Initiative alongside several other humanitarian and climate-related efforts, am a strategic advisor for Firstime on investing in startups that advance the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and teach Applied Ethics (and Information Security) in Tel Aviv university.

Feel free to reach out if there's anything EA-related you believe I can help you with.

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EA Israel Strategy 2020-21

Hi Brian, thanks for the kind words and the insightful feedback!

Here are my thoughts on the points you raise (not necessarily coordinated or representative of EA Israel in general):

1. I totally agree with your point about having separate metrics for proficiency with EA vs. engagement with EA Israel. In practice, our contributors and participants groups are actually some mix between these two metrics. For example, EAs professionally working in high-priority paths were often included in them (if they were interested) even if they were not actively engaging with EA Israel. All of this is to say - I don't think we're neglecting people who are proficient or involved in EA in practice, but this only strengthens the case for referencing these metrics explicitly.

2. I agree there is room for some more longterm planning. To be honest, it has been very long since it was unclear whether EA Israel would survive months, let alone years. It was only fairly recently, when Gidi started working part time (and received CEA's community building grant which allowed him to do so), that we've been able to more meaningfully organize and plan. We've started with defining this strategy, which focuses mostly on the upcoming year, and have not yet done meaningful longer term planning (and will probably only do so after our new mode of operation settles a bit). Regarding many of your specific questions, such as the number of sub-groups, and how those would be divided - I genuinely don't know, and prefer an experimental/empirical approach rather than trying to dictate our end goal from first principles.

3. I think the comment about student groups is a great point, and wanted to share a few thoughts on this. Students are actually our top-priority audience group, and a majority of our outreach efforts are focused on students (including a new academic course, a new fellowship, thesis consulting with effective thesis and more). In fact, reading this comment I re-read the strategy doc and was surprised to find out students are not mentioned even once given how much we prioritize and discuss outreach to students internally. I think we should definitely update this fact as part of our strategy. The other when referring to student groups is the specific framework, for which student groups are one possibility. I am generally in favor of this, though less certain as to whether this is the right way for us to try and get students involved. Formal student groups are less common and popular in Israel than in many other countries (see David's comment about some reasons why), so we're still thinking about how to onboard and organize students. We're going to try fellowships this year, there are also "cells" which are groups of students organizing to take action on a specific topic (e.g. sustainability, or various political groups). Long story short, engaging students is one of our top priorities, though we're still not willing to commit to a specific framework for doing so.

4. I would roughly estimate that about 80% of our time is dedicated to community building & outreach, while only about 20% of time is dedicated to direct work projects. In terms of the optimal ratio, this is a bit challenging to phrase in a way that isn't misleading. As we mention in the strategy doc, a main driver of our involvement in direct work projects is new members' interest in doing them, and the fact that we think it's a good way to get people more involved. Since one of our top priorities is to grow the pipeline of people becoming deeply involved, and (given our strategy) this would have the effect of having more people working on direct-work projects (at least in the early stages of their involvement), then I would love to see the percentages of direct work projects go up. However, I would not want people working on community building & outreach to switch to working on direct-work projects.

Thanks again, and please keep the questions and feedback coming!