80k supporter update - review of bout 3

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Benjamin Todd

Sep 15, 2020, 9:19:31 AM9/15/20
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Hi everyone,

Here’s our update since July, summarising our progress over bout 3 and our plans for bout 4. See our previous update.

Progress in two sentences

We significantly exceeded our targets for bout, releasing 14 pieces of content (our fastest ever rate), speaking one-on-one to 92 people and making a number of other improvements. As part of impact evaluation, we also designed and released a new user survey.

Summary metrics


All figures are approximate.

Cash reserves (end June 2020)


Average monthly costs over last 6 months (end June 2020)


Cash reserves divided by 6 month average of costs


Months’ runway (rough estimate based on expansion budget, including commitments to donate, as of end June 2020)



# of salaried employees (FTE, excluding freelancers)



3 (1.1 FTE)

Morale (on a scale of 1-10, full-time staff average)


Note that our cash reserves remain unusually high because we received some donations as cash that would have normally been future commitments, and we’ve underspent our expansion budget in 2020 so far. 

-----------------------Full update -----------------------

Key lead metric targets from bout 3 (21st July - 30th August)

We made all our lead metric targets, and hit stretch goals for two:

Target for bout



Difference from


Key lead metrics

Number of content releases

🎯8 over the bout, 11 stretch goal




1-on1 team: Calls

Bout 🎯: 73. Stretch 🎯: 90.




Job board: # of vacancy clicks, 4 week moving average

🎯 Maintain at >1500 for at least 4 out of 6 weeks of the bout




Key progress over bout 3 (July 21st to August 30th)

Overall, we had a productive bout. More info by team:

  • Research & podcast

    • We focused on releasing content and made our stretch target - see everything listed below. This is probably the fastest rate of releases we’ve achieved, and was made possible by Arden’s addition to the team and me spending more time writing.

    • I also drafted ‘how to plan your career’, which aims to be a major complement to the key ideas page – the idea is that the key ideas page introduces the most important concepts, while ‘how to plan’ explains step-by-step how to put these concepts into practice. This was something I wanted to add last year, but wasn’t able to fit into the site update. I hope it can address many misconceptions about our advice, and be useful irrespective of someone’s cause.

    • I was approached by a publisher about releasing another 80k book, sought advice on which options might be best, and have a proposal I intend to take forward in about a year.

    • We also worked on lots of other content, so haven’t significantly reduced our backlog despite releasing a lot.

    • Arden also interviewed 16 people for feedback on the key ideas page ahead of our next iteration.

  • Job board

    • Exceeded our target for vacancy clicks.

    • Now automatically monitoring 70% of employer vacancy pages (vs. target of 60%), which significantly speeds up the process of finding vacancies we want to advertise.

    • Missed one development target due to timing of a visa application.

  • Advising

    • Habiba got into the swing of advising, letting us advise 66 people, exceeding our target of 40 (with quality similar). 

    • Michelle also did some advising, though her main focus was on wrapping up her thoughts on strategy and which ‘vision’ of advising we should focus on.

  • Headhunting

    • Continued to build our CRM, and switched to Salesforce in order to handle the greater scale and for greater flexibility.

    • Had 29 calls and sent suggestions for 12 roles.

    • Trialed a freelancer to help search for leads.

  • Internal systems

    • Started to create detailed plans for the impact evaluation and implement them, especially creating the new user survey.

    • Found a number of good candidates for our Junior Operations Specialist to replace the office manager position we failed to hire for last year. This time we tried to hire from the community, which seems to have gone better.

All content released this bout (reverse chronological order; 14 pieces in total, but some counted as 0.5 for our metric):

Reflections - going faster on our core content

After spending bout 2 focused on research and bout 3 focused on writing, I’m feel like I’m getting towards reflective equilibrium on some of the key issues in our advice (e.g. how to balance different tiers of cause; the now vs. later tradeoff; how much to emphasise personal fit & transferable career capital; how to relate to patient longtermism).

I also continued to have more writing time than typical bout 3, and it seems like it will be possible for this to continue through greater delegation (while being careful to manage this). This means I can continue to push forward our core content (i.e. what appears on the key ideas page) next year.

Combined with now having Arden work full time on the core content (vs. no-one else last year), we’re making much faster progress on it than we did in 2019.

I can now see how we could get key ideas etc. to the ‘next level’ during 2021, which might enable us to focus a bit more on increasing our reach in 2022. 

We still need to reflect on this in our annual review, but I’m excited by the faster pace.

Plans for bout 4 2020 (12 weeks)

Our main focus will be the annual review. We’ll start by doing our impact evaluation (where the user survey is the biggest focus this year), followed by our internal review of strategy/plans/progress. We’ll use this to create an external review for donors, and then start our annual fundraising round.

We’ll use remaining time, especially towards the end of the period, to get back to delivery i.e. releasing content, advising, headhunting, developing the job board, and so on.

'til the next update,


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