What are some high-EV but failed EA projects?
post by MichaelDickens
This is a question post.
EAs should take on ambitious projects with high expected value, even if they have a high chance of failure. And people deserve praise for taking on those projects, whether they succeed or fail.
I want to give praise to those people. Who are they?
One example is No Lean Season—a promising global poverty intervention that turned out not to work as well as expected. Good on them for running this project, and good on them for shutting it down when it didn't pan out.
What are some other examples? If you did something that you thought was high-EV but ended up failing, feel free to name yourself!
answer by Peter Wildeford
) · GW
Few people know that we tried to start something pretty similar to Rethink Priorities in 2016 (our actual founding was in 2018). We (Marcus and me, the RP co-founders, plus some others) did some initial work but failed to get sustained funding and traction so we gave up for >1 year before trying again. Given that RP -2018 seems to have turned out to be quite successful, I think RP-2016 could be an example of a failed project?
↑ comment by IanDavidMoss ·
2022-05-14T00:07:48.506Z · EA(p) · GW(p)
That's fascinating! What do you think were the key differences between the 2016 approach and the 2018 approach, and how much was just luck of timing?Replies from: Peter_Hurford
↑ comment by Peter Wildeford (Peter_Hurford) ·
2022-05-14T01:14:49.104Z · EA(p) · GW(p)
I think three key differences:
By 2018, we had more of a track record before starting.
For the 2018 attempt, we self-funded for six months before seeking funding to build an even bigger track record, rather than trying to get funding right at the beginning.
EA funding was notably more plentiful in 2018 than 2016. (Though still notably less plentiful than in 2022.)
answer by Isaac King
) · GW
Carrick Flynn's congressional campaign just failed.
answer by Jeff Kaufman
) · GW
Wave's first attempt to build a mobile money system was in Ethiopia. I joined them to help with it, and was laid off when it failed.
(They've more recently been successful in Senegal and elsewhere; it's just the initial Ethiopia project that failed.)
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