80k supporter update

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Benjamin Todd

Feb 13, 2018, 3:15:24 AM2/13/18
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Hi everyone,

Here’s our first update after we finished our annual review.

Summary metrics

Cash reserves (end Dec)


Costs last month (Dec)


Cash reserves divided by spending last month


Months’ runway (expansion budget, inc. 2018 donation commitments)


All financial figures above are approximate.

# of salaried employees (FTE, excluding freelancers)



10 (3 FTE)

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


Primary growth metric

Change in total impact-adjusted significant plan changes

Monthly growth rate:

4 weeks on previous 4 weeks (ending 2018W06)


Annual growth rates:


Change in total IASPC

Growth: TTM compared to this period

Last 12 months (ending Jan)















Monthly growth chart - increase in IASPC per month

Progress in 2 sentences

So far in 2018, we wrapped up fundraising and started making concrete plans for the next 4 months. We also drafted our advanced series (40k+ words); coached 40 people; did 20h of headhunting; and released two podcasts. (We also took some holiday.)

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

Key progress

So far in 2018, we wrapped up fundraising and started making concrete plans for the next 4 months. We also drafted our advanced series (40k+ words); coached 40 people; did 20h headhunting; and released two podcasts. (We also took some holiday.)

Our key focus right now: plans for the next four months

We’re clear that we want to focus on getting more rated-100/1000 plan changes, as we discussed in our annual review.

To do this, we want to create a repeatable process that produces one rated-100+ plan change per month (up from ~3 per year currently). If we did this, then we should easily clear our target for the year of 2200 IASPC points.

We also have firm views on roughly how the process should work (you can also see more detail in the annual review). In brief, we tell our readers about our priority paths, then help them enter.

However, we’re unsure about where to focus in order to grow the most.

Some candidates for key bottlenecks include:

  • Motivation & matching with top jobs

    • We already have lots of great readers and community members. But they often don’t know about top job opportunities that would be a good fit, and could use encouragement to switch.

    • This could involving making a list of priority jobs, then speaking one-on-one to people who might fill them. If we speak to 20+ additional great people per month, we might get one placement, which would mean we make the growth goal.

  • Attracting people with the right skills

    • Often the biggest barrier to more people entering top jobs is that few have the right skills. So instead of working with the people we already know, maybe we should focus on attracting people with these skills into our audience. In particular, some are concerned that our content is too introductory and aimed at young people, and puts off the people best placed to enter our priority paths. It seems possible to work with people who have many times higher chances of making rated-100 plan changes.

    • This could involve creating more specialist content, or redesigning our key landing pages to better appeal to these people.

  • Filtering our existing audience

    • There are probably many more talented people we could help within our audience and extended community than those we already know about. If we could better identify them and prioritise who to work with, we might be able to make the one-on-one advice many times more effective.

  • Concrete help getting jobs

    • There’s already a significant group of people trying to enter our priority paths. We could assist them with better mentoring, job introductions and scholarships to increase the chance they follow through. It’s worth spending a lot of effort even just to raise the chance of a big plan change by 1%.

  • Research

    • There’s a lot we don’t understand about which sub-options are highest-impact within our priority paths, especially in AI and biorisk policy. If we understood these better, we might be able to focus people on options that are far higher-impact.

    • Some other key uncertainties include: (i) how to quickly narrow down the priority paths based on fit (ii) how to prioritise which priority paths to focus our efforts on (iii) whether there’s a priority path we’ve missed.

  • Hiring

    • We have extremely limited one-on-one capacity right now (just ~10 per month from Brenton and ~10 per month from Niel on AI policy, compared to ~30 tier 1 applications with no promotion). Maybe we should just hire more people to fill these slots. Likewise, we have many requests to headhunt for specific roles, and could fill a new staff member’s time with matchmaking.

    • However, we think there’s a good chance we can first increase the efficiency of the coaching 2-3 times with the steps above (i.e. IASPC per hour), so prioritise these improvements this over hiring.

We’re also trying to identify the key bottlenecks within each of our priority paths, and making “bottom up” comparisons of concrete projects.

Our key focus for the next week is making progress on these questions, and then drafting a plan for the next two months (“bout 2”). After next week, we plan to push ahead with implementation and re-evaluate in April.

Other progress

  • Around Christmas we promoted the GWWC pledge drive and re-released content on where to donate.

  • Systems

    • Implemented IASPC-2.0 (added 100/1000 categories; started recording updates to plan change values over time including negative changes; set up systems to measure the change in IASPC total each period rather than IASPC from new plan changes only).

    • Created a new metrics sheet with live updates.

  • Hiring & development

    • Started working with a freelancer to edit and publish the podcasts, saving about 50% of Rob’s time per podcast.

    • Started a 12 week trial with a freelance web engineer.

    • Most of us did annual personal reviews, and chose personal development priorities for the year.

    • Viewed 5 offices in Berkeley (the aim is to move by summer).

  • Attended an AI strategy and superforecasting workshop

Have a great week,



Benjamin Todd | CEO & co-founder  | 80,000 Hours
www.80000hours.org    |    b...@80000hours.org

80,000 Hours is part of the Centre for Effective Altruism, a registered charity in England and Wales, Registered Charity Number 1149828
Centre for Effective Altruism, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Littlegate House, St Ebbes Street, Oxford OX1 1PT, UK

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