Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 06 March 2016 10:36:22PM 15 points [-]

So here's what I did recently:

1) As leader of Intentional Insights, I have been collaborating with The Life You Can Save and the Local Effective Altruism Network to spread Giving Games to a secular audience. GGs are workshop-style events promoting EA-style effective giving. Intentional Insights has the connections with secular groups and ways of adapting GGs to their needs, while TLYCS provides both funding and facilitators, and LEAN provides facilitators. We have had some good concrete outcomes of that project. I wrote and published an article for a prominent secular organization, United Coalition of Reason, on Giving Games, and their Board of Directors has approved a UCOR-adapted packet and put it up on their resources page. TLYCS and LEAN facilitators are now going to reach out to the hundreds of COR-affiliated secular groups in the US and Canada to start hosting GGs for them.

2) I published an introductory article on effective giving targeted at EAs to help them optimize their giving strategies. It was cross-posted on TLYCS, InIn, and the EA Forum.

3) I published a thought piece on the EA Forum providing some ideas on the value of different participants within EA.

4) I published an article encouraging people to donate their Valentine's Day gifts to effective charities in the 16th largest newspaper in the US, whose Sunday edition (the only one that published op-eds) reaching over 424K and having 5 million monthly visitors.

Overall a good month, I think.

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 20 March 2016 07:45:45AM 2 points [-]

Thanks for creating this accomplishments open thread Gleb, I think it's a great idea for this forum and the EA community at large!

I read your intro article on effective giving just now; it's a great start! What do you think about investing planned donations and taking advantage of compound interest, even if just for several years, to increase total giving power?

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 25 February 2016 11:59:15PM 1 point [-]

one in ten startups fail

You probably meant nine in ten startups fail.

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 26 February 2016 03:14:30AM 1 point [-]

Thanks for the catch! Post edited.

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 25 February 2016 06:34:30AM *  4 points [-]

While it may be implied, I don't get the feeling from reading this article that it supports the idea of simultaneously working towards career goals the traditional way and launching projects at the same time. If it does, please disregard the following paragraph. Instead, it feels like the article is recommending young people to "try to tackle G and [take on the high risk of failure, even repeated failure]."

To counter the idea of dedicating one's early life entirely to project launching, I would like to note that this strategy may not suit the vast majority of people, especially not in the age group that the Pareto Fellowship is targeting. Students usually have no career capital and no funding. That leaves them with no specialized skills or startup funds to launch and follow through with a project, and if the project fails or does not generate enough revenue for financial stability, the young person's strategy also results in no fallback plan besides potentially taking a low-paid starting position and living at home if a project fails and they have lost their degree by dropping out to pursue a project full-time. Even older individuals frequently cannot generate the funds necessary to pursue a project full time, let alone sustain it and recover if the project does not succeed, especially with obligations like childcare and saving for retirement. I agree that I will not be killed off if a project fails, but the risks and uncertainty are simply too high to devote 100% of my resources to pursue something so uncertain. I'll note the oft-cited statistic that nine in ten startups fail. Probably because of the high risk of failure with the project and in achieving future career goals, 80000 Hours does not seem to recommend serial entrepreneurship to most young people looking at potential future careers.

As one of the Pareto hopefuls, and one who's "G" may have been alluded to in the article, I'd like to point out that I am currently following the dual-strategy of launching projects (including my G) and simultaneously working towards generating income and building career capital. I believe that this strategy is far superior to dedicating 100% of resources and time towards early-life project launching because it gives people the necessary background and benefits to launching and managing projects while also overcoming the inherent risk of losing everything. Also, Oliver Habryka and many other EA's I've met appear to be implementing my "dual strategy" as well. I suggest that the article suggest this dual strategy as an alternative, or the preferred alternative, to 100% early-life project launching, or clarify that this is the idea the article meant to convey.

Comment author: Brendon_Wong 25 February 2016 04:37:56AM *  2 points [-]

Hi Todd,

I think the idea of creating a charitable giving portfolio is very promising, especially if it can change donor attitudes and persuade people to donate to more effective charities based on evidence and results which can easily be expressed as a stock price. If you do not have the bank accounts and nonprofit status needed to make this idea possible, I can provide that. I have the framework necessary to accept tax deductible donations, hold them in a bank account or brokerage account, and disburse the funds regularly to charities as this idea would require.

I think your idea is excellent, and to utilize psychology and make people more willing to participate and give, I believe that real money has to be at stake. I believe it would be best if people who successfully predicted nonprofit successes were able to somehow gain greater monetary influence for the charities they supported.

To implement this, I propose a seemingly highly complex system, but one that would be simple for donors to understand and participate in. This idea is a brainstorm, and likely needs some thorough analysis and correction of conceptual errors before it becomes mathematically possible. My idea could be implemented very simply in a Google Spreadsheet before hopefully evolving to a more effective solution. First off, I would like to introduce the concept of an "impact point." An impact point is equivalent to one dollar sent out to a charity each year for the foreseeable future. There would be a ratio between dollars and impact points, perhaps to the scale of $40 to one impact point initially. This is a rather steep scale, so perhaps it could be highly modified, but i'll use that as an example for now. if you're curious how one dollar sent out each year could be sustained, the brokerage account that I have access to could invest all money in stocks or a low risk 2.5% annual return investment so that impact points would perpetually hold value, and maybe even automatically increase in value yearly (or investors would get extra impact points for free) if investments in the brokerage account substantially increased in value. All charities, such as the Against Malaria Foundation, would have a share price which could be determined arbitrarily or set as a ratio between a dollar in the share price and the nonprofit's approximate total annual budget. If $1 was equivalent to $10,000 in a nonprofit's annual budget, and AMF's annual budget was $3,000,000, its share price would be $300. That could be an overly steep entry price, so some adjustment to the formula could perhaps be made, but a higher share price is advantageous because it encourages larger investments in any given stock. Anyways, similar to the stock market, donors would have to bid to "buy" shares in a nonprofit, while sellers would propose an asking price for shares. If there was additional demand to invest in a nonprofit because the nonprofit was successful or GiveWell updated their recommendation status or something, the share price would increase as existing shareholders would want to set their asking prices as high as possible to get more impact points out of their transaction and earn a profit in impact points. If a nonprofit was suddenly downgraded by GiveWell, existing investors might want to switch their impact points into other charity instead, and the stock price would crash as sellers set their asking prices as low as possible to escape the charity. As an add-on idea, if donors wanted to liquidate their impact points, perhaps they could sell their shares in the charity, and then have the stock exchange sponsoring organization exchange their impact points for direct donations to a charity/charities.

With this system, investors would be motivated to select the most promising charities as those promising charities' stock prices presumably would increase in value over time as the charities became more effective, thus achieving the goal of the system in encouraging donations to effective charities.

Does anyone have any thoughts?


Comment author: Brendon_Wong 15 July 2015 08:42:57PM *  2 points [-]

This seems like an extremely useful resource. As someone familiar with working on developing high impact ideas, to have just a little bit of extra help to get something started and see if a project is viable could mean the difference between success and failure.

I think that for many people with great ideas, sometimes the "startup inertia" is too great, and the .impact fund can go a long way towards reducing startup inertia.

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