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I've recently made an update to our Announcement on the future of Wytham Abbey, saying that since this announcement, we have decided that we will use some of the proceeds on Effective Venture's general costs.

Can you give a sense of what proportion? Should we expect 'some' to mean ≤10% or something more significant?

I've heard people express the idea that top of funnel community building is not worth the effort, as EA roles often get 100+ applicants.

I think this is misguided. Great applicants may get a job after only a few applications. Poor applicants may apply to many many jobs without getting a job. As a result you should expect poor applicants to be disproportionately well represented in the applicant pool - hence the pure number of applicants isn't that informative. This point is weakened by recruitment systems being imperfect, but as long as you believe recruitment systems have some ability to select people, then I think this take holds.

I'm really only making a claim about a specific argument, not whether or not top of funnel community building is a good idea on the margin.

H/T Amarins for nudging me to post this

Agreed – my favorite "acceptance rates aren't that meaningful" stat is that Walmart is much more selective than Harvard.

I strongly agree that the reasoning "top of funnel community building is not worth the effort, as EA roles often get 100+ applicants" is misguided. But I think the argument about many applicants being "poor applicants" because they get rejected more often is not that important compared to other reasons.

Here are 3 reasons that I think are much more relevant:

  1. Most effectively altruistic work is not in "EA roles". Random example: the eradication of smallpox was more altruistically effective than any EA project, and none of the work that made it happen was in an "EA role".[1]
    There are many tens of thousands of jobs that are at least as promising as the median "EA role". And after all those are filled by hyper-competent people, there will still be millions more FTE needed just to end: factory farming, easily preventable illness, global poverty, near term x-risks, wild animal suffering, ... (And many would need to do earning to give to fund all the above.)
    Reflecting on how to do altruism more effectively can help people in those roles help more (e.g. learning about scope insensitivity, expected value, counterfactual reasoning, the Copenhagen interpretation of ethics, how to make and evaluate a theory of change, cost-effectiveness analyses, radical empathy, longtermism, ...)
  2. 100 applicants is not that many (~2000 would be). There are often many independent filters that significantly reduce the pool: willingness to relocate or timezone compatibility, culture fit, relevant experience for that exact role, salary expectations, start date availability, visas...
    1. We can see many for-profits that receive way more than 100 applicants per role still advertise their open roles, presumably because the expected value per hire is much higher if you have 1000 applicants compared to 500
  3. More people doing effective altruism can often create more EA roles by
    1. Contributing funding. Especially now that everything is funding constrained, from AI Safety to Farmed Animal Welfare
    2. Starting new projects, in the spirit of a do-ocracy. Strong founders seem to be a constant key bottleneck both in the non-profit and for-profit sector.
    3. Enabling people currently in EA roles to move to different impactful roles. I think that there are EA projects that someone needs to do, but if new people qualified enough to do them would come along, the people currently doing them could move towards other impactful opportunities that might be an even better fit for them. Especially now that everything is talent constrained, from AI Safety to Farmed Animal Welfare

Less relevant to your main point, but I strongly want to urge readers against "poor applicants get rejected often" kind of reasoning. I see it very often in this community and I think it's greatly overrated. Some relevant links and thoughts:

This is already super long, but I also want to quickly note that 7.3% of EA-survey-respondents are from one city, which seems to indicate that there might be lots of opportunities for top of funnel community building.

  1. ^

    Other examples in this great comment of yours.

This feeds into Jonas’ argument in his recent Quick Take about focusing on talent development rather than community building - focusing on bringing in top potential applicants rather than on the number of people interested in EA jobs

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