80k supporter update - plans for next 7 weeks

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Benjamin Todd

Feb 23, 2018, 2:19:14 PM2/23/18
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Hi everyone,

Here’s our update for the last week, and on our plans for the remaining 7 weeks of this bout.

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)



8 (2 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 in TTM compared to this period

Monthly compound rate

Last 12 months



















Monthly growth chart - increase in IASPC per month

Progress in 2 sentences

The last two weeks we focused on making plans, which are explained below.

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

Story of a plan change

This week we found a great example of plan change that was purely driven by our online content (but with the aid of the rest of the EA community). They’re a student at a top 20 US university studying computer science. When they came across our online guide they found the focus on evidence immediately compelling and spent hours reading over several months. This encouraged them to take the Giving What We Can pledge, get involved in their local university EA group and attend a CFAR workshop. They also found out about AI safety on our website. Due to all of the above, they switched from probably working in tech to focusing on AI safety. They’re currently working on several papers under the guidance of a safety-sympathetic professor and plan to start a computer science PhD after they graduate.

Other plans for the next 6 weeks

As covered last week, our focus for the year is creating a scalable process to produce at least one rated-100+ plan change per month.

Towards this aim, over the remaining 7 weeks of this bout, we decided to work on the following projects (in order of user engagement, from early to late stage):

  1. Consider redesigning the front page. Based on user feedback, we’re concerned that the site is focused on getting rated-1 plan changes rather than attracting the type of people who might become rated-100 plan changes. We want to experiment with some new front page designs to increase our appeal to this niche.

  2. Finish the first version of our advanced series - four core articles that lay out our key positions. There are a variety of ways our community doesn’t understand our latest views, and we think explaining these positions could cause some large plan changes, as well as attract high-quality readers.

  3. Keep going with the podcast. This is highly popular with our core users, relatively quick to make, and brings people up to speed. We intend to release 3 per 2 weeks when we’re not releasing other content. We will be aiming to grow the number of regular subscribers to the show.

  4. Experiment more with job matchmaking. There are lots of valuable open positions in the community right now, and we think Brenton (head of in-person) has a reasonable shot of filling them with existing community members. We suspect that doing this will create more plan changes per hour than generalist coaching, and might become a key part of our in-person product in the long-term. If we can also create a system to record the data we need to do this matchmaking, then our ability to do matchmaking will increase over time as our user base grows.

  5. Continue our experiment with specialist coaching in AI policy. AI policy is our highest priority path right now, and we think that coaches who specialise in a particular area might turn out to be more effective than generalists, so at the end of last year we hired Niel Bowerman to test this out over a year or two. We’re continuing with this experiment. Right now the top priority is to figure out how the process should work. This bout, Niel will likely test out advising existing community members who are interested in working in government, and giving talks at schools that send lots of people into government.

Within operations, we’re focused on improving our visa situation, doing our audit, improving our financial systems, and looking at offices we might move to in the summer.

Other key progress

An observation about web traffic

The following table shows our traffic by page over the last six months. What’s interesting is that the problem profiles page, which is simply a list of problems, has become the third most viewed page, and it almost all comes from search traffic. Three other pages on global problems also rank highly (/articles/cause-selection/, /career-guide/world-problems/, /problem-quiz/, /articles/most-pressing-problems/).

We’ve been considering orienting our mission more about “helping people solve the world’s most pressing problems” rather than “find a fulfilling career that makes a difference”, because we expect it’ll better attract the right people. This high traffic is evidence that a problems focused approach could be popular too.

The plan

We’ve mostly wrapped our planning, and will be pushing ahead with the projects listed above.

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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