Sudhanshu Kasewa

Advisor @ 80,000 Hours
46 karmaJoined


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With another EAG nearby, I thought now would be a good time to push out this draft-y note. I'm sure I'm missing a mountain of nuance, but I stand by the main messages:


"Keep Talking"

I think there are two things EAs could be doing more of, on the margin. They are cheap, easy, and have the potential to unlock value in unsuspecting ways.

Talk to more people

I say this 15 times a week. It's the most no-brainer thing I can think of, with a ridiculously low barrier to entry; it's usually net-positive for one while often only drawing on unproductive hours of the other. Almost nobody would be where they were without the conversations they had. Some anecdotes:

- A conversation led both parties discovering a good mentor-mentee fit, leading to one dropping out of a PhD, being mentored on a project, and becoming an alignment researcher.

- A first conversation led to more conversations which led to more conversations, one of which illuminated a new route to impact which this person was a tremendously good fit for. They're now working as a congressional staffer.

- A chat with a former employee gave an applicant insight about a company they were interviewing with and helped them land the job (many, many such cases).

- A group that is running a valuable fellowship programme germinated from a conversation between three folks who previously were unacquainted (the founders) (again, many such cases).

Make more introductions to others (or at least suggest who they should reach out to)

By hoarding our social capital we might leave ungodly amounts of value on the table. Develop your instincts and learn to trust them! Put people you speak with in touch with other people who they should speak with -- especially if they're earlier in their discovery of using evidence and reason to do more good in the world. (By all means, be protective of those whose time is 2 OOMs more precious; but within +/- 1, let's get more people connected: exchanging ideas, improving our thinking, illuminating truth, building trust.) 

At EAG, at the very least, point people to others they should be talking to. The effort in doing so is so, so low, and the benefits could be massive.


Edit: Punctuation