Vaidehi Agarwalla

Senior Product Manager @ Momentum
7009 karmaJoined Oct 2018Working (0-5 years)Berkeley, CA, USA



I help lead Product at Momentum, and care about making funding for high impact causes more robust & diversified. I live in the Bay Area, advise Asia-based community builders and run Pineapple Operations. I previously worked in consulting, recruiting and marketing, with a BA in Sociology and focused on social movements. (A little on my journey to EA)

I'm always keen to hear feedback through any means. Here's an anonymous way to share:

Unless otherwise stated, I always write in a personal capacity.


/'vɛðehi/ or VEH-the-hee

Some posts I've written and particuarly like: 

Advice I frequently give:

How others can help me

If you feel I can do something (anything) better, please let me know. I want to be warm, welcoming & supportive - and I know I can fail to live up to those standards sometimes. Have a low bar for reaching out - (anonymous form here). 

If you think you have different views to me (on anything!), reach out -I want to hear more from folks with different views to me. If you have deep domain expertise in a very specific area (especially non-EA) I'd love to learn about it!

Connect me to product designers, people with ops & recruiting backgrounds and potential PA/ops folks! 

How I can help others

I can give specific feedback on movement building & meta EA project plans and career advising. 

I can also give feedback on posts and grant applications. 


Operations in EA FAQs
Events in EA: Learnings & Critiques
EA Career Advice on Management Consulting
Exploratory Careers Landscape Survey 2020
Local Career Advice Network
Towards A Sociological Model of EA Movement Building


Topic Contributions

These are all great points. I was planning to add this into the main post, but I don't think it ended up in the final draft - so thanks for raising this! 

Update: It's posted!

"Less than half of this round of MATS scholars were funded for independent research."

-> Its not clear to me what exactly the bar for independent research should be. It seems like it's not a great fit for a lot of people, and I expect it to be incredibly hard to do it well as a relatively junior person. So it doesn't have to be a bad thing that some MATS scholars didn't get funding.

Also, I don't necessarily think that orgs being unable to hire is in and of itself a sign of a funding bottleneck. I think you'd first need to make the case that these organisations are crossing a certain impact threshold.

(I do believe AIS lacks diversify of funders and agree with your overall point).

My understanding is that the main reason people wouldn't want to publicize their involvement is to minimize reputation risk(most likely because of FTX). For those doing direct work it could hurt their ability to engage with non-EA actors. I think this is a pretty compelling reason not to publicize your involvement.

I was going to post something for careers week but it was delayed for various reasons (including the mandatory last minute rewrite). I plan to post it in the next couple of weeks.

An easier approach might be to mention on your Swapcard profile that you may not be able to respond to everyone who reaches out before the conference. 

There are people who I would consider "EA" who I wouldn't consider a "community member" (e.g. if they were not engaging much with other people in the community professionally or socially), but I'd be surprised if they label themselves "EA" (maybe they want to keep their identity small, or don't like being associated with the EA community). 

I think there's actually one class of people I've forgotten - which is "EA professionals" - someone who might professionally collaborate or even work at an EA-aligned organization, but doesn't see themselves as part of the community. So they would treat an EAG as a purely professional conference (vs. a community event). 

Thanks for sharing this post, this is a really positive step forward in transparency, I especially appreciated the list of attendees and description of the structure of the Forum. I like that there will be assigned owners of different projects, and I hope that outcomes of the Forum and information on initiatives that came out of it will also be shared with the community. 


I think that ultimately, issues pertinent to the community need to have meaningful, two way, sustained engagement with the community. I'd like to see participation from more "regular" community members as well who will add necessary and valuable perspectives to understand our community better and help improve it.

I believe there is a need for two different spaces - one for leaders to coordinate with each other, and one for a dialogue to be had. But I think the latter is essential to informing the agenda of the former. I'd love for the community survey to be a first step towards creating that second space. Perhaps something like what I’m describing could even be the kind of thing that’s discussed during the Forum. 

To elaborate: 

Often I think the term “EA community” or “community building” can be used to mean different things. I think there’s a difference between efforts towards “EA the movement” vs those (perhaps more internally facing) “EA the community. For example, funding a new organization to target policy professionals for AI governance would “EA the movement” decision (even though it’s community building), while improving sexual misconduct practices would be “EA the community”. 

From the post, I understand that the forum’s remit is both “movement” and “community”(emphasis mine):

only focused on the “meta”/community-building space rather than object-level decisions in any cause area.

and is 

aimed at improving the trajectories of EA and related communities

They are of course very intertwined, and from the events of the past year it is likely that community concerns will be an important topic of conversation. 

For such issues, I think it’s essential for there to be meaningful dialogue between (regular, representative) community members and EA decision-makers and leaders, and more mechanisms by which community members can systematically raise concerns that are directly relevant to them (e.g. a place to see current issues, how much support there is for addressing those issues, potential solutions being considered & worked on, etc.) 

I think that in any community, leaders will likely not always be aware of what is happening "on-the-ground", and that there are many systemic, power-differential related reasons that they won’t always be getting the information they need. I wouldn’t be surprised if this has improved post-FTX, but I’m pretty sure we have a ways to go in this regard.

Up until now, leaders haven’t prioritized this very highly (even if they believe it's important). I think this is because there has historically been a lack of clarity as to whose responsibility managing the community is. The community itself has grown faster than the community infrastructure could keep up.

I don’t think setting up the infrastructure to allow for this dialogue to occur is trivial or easy. It's costly to do well. It requires investment from leaders and others who would work on these issues full time. The work is (often emotionally) hard, unrewarding, and sometimes it’s not clear if you’ve had an impact. That being said, I believe it is essential infrastructure to make this community sustainable and health (and allow it to grow). 

Do you have plan to share the results of the community survey? 

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