80k supporter update - plan for the rest of the year, two new hires

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Benjamin Todd

Sep 28, 2018, 8:27:00 PM9/28/18
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Hi everyone,

Here’s our update for the last 5 weeks (ending 19th Sept), and our plan for the start of bout 5.

Summary metrics


All figures are approximate.

Cash reserves (end July 2018)


Costs last month (July 2018)


Cash reserves divided by costs last month


Months’ runway (rough estimate based on expansion budget, including commitments to donate, end July 2018)



# of salaried employees (FTE, excluding freelancers)



14 (2.6 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 2018W37)


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

Annual IASPC targets

We don’t expect to make the 2200 target, as explained in a previous update, so we’ve made a new target of 1,000 IASPC before the end of Nov.

Progress in 2 sentences

We hired Howie Lempel, who used to be a program officer at the Open Philanthropy Project. We also made our plan for the rest of the year, which is focused on (i) in-person advising and recruiting to generate plan changes (ii) improvements to the site to better appeal to and help the most high potential readers.

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

Story of a plan change

Last week Sebastien Krier started work at the Office for AI, which is a new part of the UK civil service which managed national AI policy. He was initially focused on social impact consulting, but after reading our online content about AI risk over several months he decide to focus on AI policy instead. He said:

80K definitely had a big impact in my decision making - I had a good look at the different articles and podcasts dealing with AI safety, policy etc. on the website during my job search, and that helped a lot, particularly this page. So if it wasn't for 80K, I think I would be maybe 60% less likely to have gone for the AI policy route.

Key progress

In the last update, we reported on progress over bout 4. Since, then we’ve:

  • Made more progress hiring.

    • We hired Howie Lempel. Howie started at GiveWell in 2013, and later became a program officer at the Open Philanthropy Project, with a focus on funding global catastrophic risks and biosecurity. Before that, he went to Yale Law for two years, where he spent his summers as a public defender in Louisiana and suing prisons with poor conditions at the ACLU. He left Yale to help get the Open Philanthropy Project started at GiveWell. Howie has also worked on white collar crime at the Manhattan DA’s office and was a research assistant at the Brookings Institution for two years. Howie is starting on research at 80k, and has already helped us finish several pieces that had been in our backlog for months. He has also been informally advising us on strategy the last few months, and we’ve found his input super helpful, so we’re really excited.

    • As mentioned last time, we’ve also recently hired Michelle Hutchinson, who is already doing a great job advising, which will make a big difference to our advising capacity over the coming months.

    • Overall, we’re very happy with how hiring has gone, think the team is better than ever, expect to have a noticeable increase in output already in the coming months, and morale is high.  

    • We’ve decided to deprioritize hiring for the rest of the year to focus on growing IASPC instead, but we have several other exciting candidates already in progress, and we will push ahead with these.

  • Made our plans for the rest of the year (see below)

  • Released more content:

  • Started on our bout 5 priorities, including:

    • Trained Michelle in coaching.

    • We reviewed 100+ coaching applications and have spoken to 15+.

    • On-boarded our first org with our new recruiting project.

    • Improved topic archive page to help people find old content.

    • Released minor updates to the coaching page.

  • New office: the deal is in the final stages - we’re doing the lease negotiation and creating refurbishment plan with contractors.

Plan for bout 5 (12th Sept - 13th Nov)

We’re going to focus on two key priorities:

  1. Getting more plan changes (IASPC).

    1. We’ll do this through one-on-one advising. Brenton, Michelle and Niel will all focus on this, and the target is to advise 100 people.

    2. We’re also starting a new recruiting project within the in-person team, led by Peter McIntyre. We’ve carried out 3 small-scale experiments in recruiting for specific jobs at other organisations over the last 18 months, and it seems to be similarly or more effective to advising. What’s more, it seems like a clear need in the community, and has lots of other attractive features (e.g. lots of existing best practice, fast feedback). Peter will initially be setting up our basic systems (e.g. CRM), working with several initial organisations, and aiming to get at least one placement before the end of the year (a typical headhunter might fill about one position per month).

  2. Improving the website for key readers.

    1. The issue: We think the website most appeals to a broader audience age 20-25, but given our list of priority paths, we ideally want to be able to appeal to people age 25-35, who already have some relevant qualifications, such as graduate degrees or policy experience. We also want to make sure we can appeal to the most talented and socially motivated readers. We think there’s a lot we can do with the website to increase this appeal (and also better serve our existing dedicated readers).

    2. Here are the three key projects we’re focusing on:

      1. Push forward the advanced series and release at least two articles. (One already done.)

      2. Keep going with the podcast, especially focusing the content on material that will either (i) attract new high potential listeners (ii) give useful advice to our existing listeners.

      3. Redesign several key landing pages to better appeal to key readers. We’ve already launched a redesign of the problem profiles page (previously just a list of profiles), and will go onto the front page, top menu, and several other key pages.

Weekly targets for the bout



(this week)


(this week)


Advising: people coached, including initial follow up

🎯100 over the bout





Recruiting: calls

🎯35 over the bout





Content: releases

🎯12 over the bout





We went a little behind our targets in the first week of the new bout, but we expect to get back on track next week.

Have a great week,


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