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Khorton comments on EA Hotel with free accommodation and board for two years - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 11 June 2018 01:40:02PM 0 points [-]

vague idea of how things ought to be, rather than a conscious attempt to maximize success.

I would say it’s a bit more than vague ;) I think it’s important to have someone who really understands and shares the goals of the project. Someone who doesn’t get EA is not likely to care about it much beyond seeing it as a means to get paid. It would then be largely up to part time volunteers (the other Trustees) to direct the project and keep it aligned with EA. This scenario seems more likely to lead to stagnation/failure to me.

less of the skills we tend to have (such as a flair for optimization)

I think a flair for optimisation is needed in any kind of ops role. The more you optimise, the greater your capacity (/free time).

and even more of the skills we tend not to have (consistency, hotel-related metis)

Conscientiousness would be required. But there are a fair amount of EAs with that trait, right?

optimizing for initial success seems more important than optimizing for future expansion.

In practice I think these are mostly the same thing. The more initial success there is, the more likely expansion is. The point I was making is that the manager will have a large stake in the course the project takes, so it will depend on what they make of it (hence meaning it should be seen as an exciting opportunity. I mean yeah, there will be some amount of “boring” (mindfulness promoting?) tasks - but it could be so much more fun than “Hotel Manager in Blackpool” initially sounds).

less external validation of managerial capability than a similarly qualified external candidate, who might be a hotel manager already!

In many ways this won’t be a typical hotel (non-profit, longer term stays, self-service breakfast and lunch, simplified dinner menu, weekly linen/towel changes, EA evening events etc), so I’m not sure how much prior hotel experience is relevant. Really anyone who is a reasonably skilled generalist, passionate about the project, and friendly should be able to do it.

I expect you'd need to offer a higher salary to attract the same level of talent

Salary is open to negotiation (have amended ad).

require separating the hotel manager and the community mentor

I think that once everything is set up, the day-to-day management of the hotel itself won’t require full time hours. Would prefer to have one full time employee rather than two part-time employees, but as I’ve said previously, I am open to splitting the role.

division of labor

As mentioned above, part of optimisation can be outsourcing tasks you are less good at (or don’t like doing). e.g. hiring someone else to do the cooking or laundry (depending on how much you value your time/money).

Comment author: Khorton 11 June 2018 05:17:40PM *  4 points [-]

"In many ways this won’t be a typical hotel (non-profit, longer term stays, self-service breakfast and lunch, simplified dinner menu, weekly linen/towel changes, EA evening events etc), so I’m not sure how much prior hotel experience is relevant. Really anyone who is a reasonably skilled generalist, passionate about the project, and friendly should be able to do it."

I think this is where we disagree. It's taken me years to develop the (rather basic) domestic skills I have. I think it would be quite a challenge for someone like me, who can competently manage a household, to competently manage a hotel with 17 people. For example, when I organized EA London's weekend retreat and oversaw the housing, cooking and cleaning for 25 people, it was really hard and I made some significant mistakes.

This worries me because a large majority of the EAs I meet in London are worse at cooking/cleaning/household management than I am. If I'm not currently capable of the task, and most EAs are less capable than I am, then I wonder who CAN do the job.

There are a couple of things I might be wrong about: maybe people are better at domestic tasks outside of London, or maybe there are one or two exceptional candidates (and that's really all it takes!). But based on my experience, I really don't think "anyone who is a reasonably skilled generalist, passionate about the project, and friendly should be able to do it" - or at least, not to a high standard, not right away.

Comment author: Greg_Colbourn 12 June 2018 01:36:48PM 0 points [-]

when I organized EA London's weekend retreat and oversaw the housing, cooking and cleaning for 25 people, it was really hard and I made some significant mistakes.

Would be interested to hear more details about this (fine to PM).

Also, it's unlikely to be 17 guests all at once to start with, things are ramping up gradually so far (have a few people booked in over the next few weeks), so the learning curve should be relatively gentle.