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TL;DR: We are offering (paid) software consulting and contracting services to impactful projects. If you think we might be a good fit for your project please fill in the form here and we’ll get back to you within a couple of days.

The CEA Online team has recently taken on a few (3) projects for external organisations, in addition to our usual work which consists of developing the EA Forum[1]. We think these external projects have gone well, so we’re trying out offering these services publicly.

We are mainly[2] looking to help with projects that we think have a large potential for impact. As we’re in the early stages of exploring this we are quite open in the sorts of projects we would consider, but just to give you some concrete ideas:

  • Building a website that is more than a simple landing page. Think of the AMF website, which in spite of its deceptive appearance actually makes a lot of data available in a very transparent way. Or the Rethink Priorities Cross-Cause Cost-Effectiveness Model.
  • Building an internal tool to streamline some common process in your organisation.
  • Building a web platform that requires handling user data. E.g. a site that matches volunteers with relevant tasks. Or, if you can imagine it, some kind of web forum.

If you have a project where you’re not sure if we’d be a good fit, please do reach out to us anyway. You will be providing a service to us just by telling us about it, as we want to understand what the needs in the community are. We might also be able to point you in the right direction or set you up with another contractor even if we aren’t suitable ourselves.

In the projects we have completed so far, the thing that has been suggestive of this work being very worthwhile is that in most cases the project would have progressed much more slowly without us, or potentially not happened at all. This was either due to the people involved already having too many demands on their time, or having run into problems with their existing development process. We’re excited to do more in the hope that having this available as a reliable service will push people to do software-dependent projects that they wouldn’t have done otherwise, or execute them to a higher quality (and faster).

What we could do for you

We're open to anything from “high-level consulting” to “taking on a project entirely”. In the “high-level consulting” case we would do some initial setup and give you advice on how to proceed, so you could then take over the project or continue with other contractors (who we might be able to set you up with). In the “taking on a project entirely” case we would be the contractors and would write all the code. The projects we have done so far have been more on the taking-on-entirely end of the spectrum.

We also have an excellent designer, Agnes (@agnestenlund), and the capacity[3] to do product development work, such as conducting user interviews to gather requirements and then designing a solution based on those. This might be especially valuable if you have a lot of demands on your time and want to be able to hand off a project to a safe pair of hands.

As mentioned above, we are hoping to help with projects that are high-impact, so we’ll decide what to work on based on our fit for the project, as well the financial and impact cases. As such, these are some characteristics that make a project more likely to be a good fit (non-exhaustive):

  • Being motivated by EA principles and/or heavily embedded in the EA ecosystem.
  • Cases where your organisation is at low capacity, such that you have projects that you think would be valuable to do but don’t have the time to commit to yourselves.
  • Cases where we can help you navigate a technical area that you are unfamiliar with, such that you would struggle to execute the project on your own[4].
  • Being medium-sized (more than a landing page, less than a Swapcard replacement).
  • Directly using something we have already built (such as the Forum codebase). This is also where the “high-level consulting” end may be more useful as we can provide a lot of context in not that much time.

And some sorts of projects that would probably not be a good fit:

  • Projects that are very large, or which will require a lot of ongoing support. E.g. would require a full time engineer for a year.
  • Anything very specialised, such as pure-ML projects. Web development is our main area of expertise, and most things that fall under “general software development” we should be more than capable of helping with.
  • Projects where software development should be part of your core competencies. If your goal is to run a specific course and need a web platform to do so then we could be a good fit, but if your main goal is to make a platform for running courses then probably hiring someone directly would be better.

What we have done already

We recently worked with Caleb Parikh on a project that we unfortunately can’t link to. Here is a review from him:

I recently contracted the CEA online team for a grantmaking related project. I am happy with the quality of work they produced, their responsiveness to feedback, and their help in pushing the project forward. Whilst some of the team has sadly moved on to other opportunities, I would be happy to work with them again. It felt less like contracting out a piece of work and more like working with them as part of a team - which I greatly appreciated.

The two other projects we have worked on are also undisclosable, we’re hoping some future ones won’t have this constraint. Our main work is on the Forum (code here, see the recent feature update for some examples of the sorts of things we build), which we co-develop with LessWrong.

How to get in touch

You can fill in this form regardless of whether you have a specific project fairly well scoped, or if you’re at an earlier stage and are just exploring your options. You can also contact us individually in the usual ways (such as by email or Forum DM), the best people to reach out to are JP, Will, and Sarah.

  1. ^

    And a few other websites like effectivealtruism.org

  2. ^

    We will also consider projects where this isn’t the case, but for these we’ll charge more (i.e. we would do this as a source of funding for CEA, rather than mainly for impact reasons)

  3. ^

    The full team who may work on these projects consists of all the US employees of the Online team. This is Agnes (design, product), JP (engineer, product, team lead), Will (engineer), Sarah (engineer). In general you will get a subset of these people.

  4. ^

    A particularly salient type of struggling is that it can be hard to vet developers for competence if you are not yourself a developer, hence why we think we can add a lot of value in these cases





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