80k supporter update - Q1 review & Q2 plans

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Benjamin Todd

Jun 17, 2021, 7:47:01 AM6/17/21
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Hi everyone,

Here’s an update summarising our progress over bout 1 2021 (25th January - 29th March). See our last update here.

Progress updates in two sentences

We released a podcast with Ezra Klein, which broke a record for listening time, and we delivered more advising calls than we have in any previous quarter. We hired a new advisor and Peter McIntyre, our head of growth decided that he would transition out of his role. 

Summary metrics

This is behind last year since the web team has been more focused on strategy and planning in Q1, and we had a spike last year due to our material on COVID-19.


All figures are approximate.

Cash reserves (end February 2021)


Average monthly costs over last 6 months (end February 2021)


Cash reserves divided by 6 month average of costs


Months’ runway (rough estimate based on expansion budget, including commitments to donate, as of end February 2021)



# of salaried employees (FTE, excluding freelancers)



4 (1 FTE)

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

Team changes

Howie Lempel has taken on a new role as chief of staff. In this position, he’ll provide coaching to the directors, act as an advisor to the CEO, and help to coordinate and troubleshoot problems across the organisation. I’m hopeful this will free me up to focus on our top priorities (right now, web growth), while keeping things running smoothly as we grow.

Peter McIntyre, our head of growth, is planning to leave 80,000 Hours. Pete has had a big impact during his time at 80k - giving dozens of workshops, starting the job board and the current iteration of one-on-one advising, and developing our experiment with headhunting from scratch. We’re excited to see what he does next!

Key progress over bout 1 


In effect, we formed a new web team in Q1, with Arden as the head. As part of this, we did a review of web strategy, and created a new two year plan.

One thing we realised from this process was that our web articles should primarily focus on readers 18-24, with a secondary focus on readers 25-30, which is a reduction from our previous 18-35 age range. This is because we have the most big plan changes from this range and our written content is most popular with them. (Though, the podcast, job board and advising still focus a lot on people in their late 20s.)

We also determined that SEO seems like a more scalable and effective channel for our content marketing than social media, and we made a list of keywords that future content can target, which suggested it could be possible to increase readership several fold through SEO.

Over the next quarter, the web team decided to focus on restructuring and redesigning key parts of the website, especially the key ideas series, new career planning series, and top navigation menu. The changes are intended to address the most common user feedback – that the site is overwhelming – and to make the content more engaging, putting us in a better position to market it.

Progress so far includes creating an outline of the redesigned key ideas series, a new top navigation, and a new intro to 80k essay. 

Our other priority is to hire a head of marketing, and test out different marketing channels, including referrals, FB ads, SEO and PR, to work out which will let us grow the most.

Roman is attending a 12 week Codeworks bootcamp to level up as an engineer before Peter Hartree scales back his time on 80k (as discussed in our previous update). 


This team conducted 169 advising calls, the most 80,000 Hours has ever delivered in a quarter, and above our stretch target. 

They also:

  • Ran a hiring round and made an offer to Alex Lawsen. Alex is a maths teacher who went through Teach First. He’s been a successful forecaster on Metaculus and has made several videos teaching the skill to others. He plans to join the team as an advisor. 

  • Wrote a post for the EA Forum about the one-on-one team’s plans as well as projects we’d like to see others take on. Hopefully the post will improve community coordination and reduce the sense that there’s only ‘room’ for one group to provide one on one career advice in the EA community. 

Job board

The job board released 356 vacancies and had 38,161 clicks to listed vacancies (see graph above). Clicks grew ~45% compared to last year, in large part because we started sending email updates once every 1.5 weeks rather than once every 3. I expect clicks to roughly correlate with job board hires, and because inputs were flat, I made a positive update on the job board’s cost-effectiveness. In our annual review, we reported that in 2019 we tracked 60,000 clicks, but we’re on track to hit 130,000 in 2021, with similar FTE inputs.


Rob and Keiran were able to focus almost fully on the podcast this quarter. They’re on pace to achieve their goal of releasing at least 2 episodes per 3 weeks during bouts, and my impression is that the quality of the episodes was unusually high (e.g. Ezra Klein, Brian Christian, Andy Weber). The main challenge for the podcast is figuring out how to reach new listeners after appearing to saturate our existing community in 2020. It seems like the best two approaches to this are (i) having famous people on your show and (ii) appearing on other podcasts, and we’re planning to do more of both.

Bout 1 2021 Scoreboard



Stretch goal

Difference from


Minutes of podcast episodes released





Advising calls





All content we released up until the end of the bout:

Bout 2

Key focuses for bout 2:

  1. Web team: redesigning key parts of the website to make the site more digestible and engaging; marketing experiments; hiring a writer and/or marketer.

  2. Podcast: continuing to regularly release episodes, with a focus on reaching new listeners.

  3. 1on1: delivering more calls, with a target of 146. Their secondary focus is hiring and lead generation, so we’re able to give more calls in the future, and to improve call quality.

  4. Internal systems: Brenton will take over overseeing lots of internal policies from me, which we’re calling the ‘infrastructure project’. Will run an office manager hiring round. 

Key metric targets:

Bout 2 2021 Scoreboard


Stretch goal

Website milestones



1on1 team calls



Minutes of podcast episodes released



'til the next update,


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