Posts

EA Hotel Fundraiser 2: Current guests and their projects 2019-02-04T20:41:18.823Z · score: 65 (34 votes)
EA Hotel with free accommodation and board for two years 2018-06-04T18:09:09.845Z · score: 79 (67 votes)

Comments

Comment by greg_colbourn on Halffull's Shortform · 2020-03-25T15:35:39.881Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Maybe also that the talk of preventing a depression is an information hazard when we are at the stage of the pandemic where all-out lockdown is the biggest priority for most of the richest countries. In a few weeks when the epidemics in the US and Western Europe are under control, and lockdown can be eased with massive testing, tracing and isolating of cases, then it would make more sense to freely talk about boosting the economy again (in the mean time, we should be calling for governments to take up the slack with stimulus packages. Which they seem to be doing already).

Comment by greg_colbourn on Illegible impact is still impact · 2020-02-18T15:32:46.134Z · score: 12 (8 votes) · EA · GW
I don't know that this is still or ever really was part of the mission of the EA Hotel (now CEEALAR), but one of the things I really appreciated about it from my fortnight stay there was that it provided a space for EA-aligned folks to work on things without the pressure to produce legible results. This to me seems extremely valuable because I believe many types of impact are quantized such that no impact is legible until a lot of things fall into place and you get a "windfall" of impact all at once

Yes, this was a significant consideration in my founding of the project. We also acknowledge it where we have collated outputs. And whilst we have had a good amount of support (see histogram here), I feel that many potential supporters have been holding back, waiting for the windfall (we have struggled with a short runway over the last year).

Comment by greg_colbourn on Concerning the Recent 2019-Novel Coronavirus Outbreak · 2020-01-31T14:37:28.439Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Makes sense from the point of view of killing germs, and temperatures being tolerable for us also being tolerable for germs. My intuition is that it's easier to get dirt (which contains germs) off hands with warmer water (similar to how it's easier to wash dishes with warmer water).

Comment by greg_colbourn on Concerning the Recent 2019-Novel Coronavirus Outbreak · 2020-01-31T11:02:42.789Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Alcohol-based hand sanitiser is also good. Often better than hand washing in practice as very few people actually wait for the water to get warm, or spend 20 seconds lathering the soap.

Comment by greg_colbourn on The EA Hotel is now the Centre for Enabling EA Learning & Research (CEEALAR) · 2020-01-29T17:50:06.157Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW
Props for putting in the work to keep this organization alive and well. It's a wonderful asset to the EA community. :)

Thanks!

CEALAR

I agree that the extra E is a bit jarring at first (someone else has pointed this out too). I worry that without it it's too similar to CEA though; and the "Enabling" also seems useful in helping to describe what we do.

Comment by greg_colbourn on The EA Hotel is now the Centre for Enabling EA Learning & Research (CEEALAR) · 2020-01-29T17:35:21.673Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Interesting - you mean this? Worth considering for an alternative name/brand [Jonas' comment above] down the line a bit.

Comment by greg_colbourn on The EA Hotel is now the Centre for Enabling EA Learning & Research (CEEALAR) · 2020-01-29T16:50:29.020Z · score: 5 (6 votes) · EA · GW
Congratulations for putting in all the time and effort required to get the (former) EA Hotel registered as a proper charity!

Thanks!

poll on an EA Facebook group

We did do this for the initial naming. It seems like a very lengthly process though, looking at the example of FRI. I'll also note that the names that got to the top of the latest poll I've seen (from 14 Dec) don't seem that great (but then my judgement perhaps isn't the best in this area, given the reception so far to "CEEALAR"!)

Comment by greg_colbourn on The EA Hotel is now the Centre for Enabling EA Learning & Research (CEEALAR) · 2020-01-29T14:35:22.778Z · score: 11 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Note we are still offering the same as before, with the caveat that we aren't subsidising people earning-to-give (as was originally envisaged with the EA Hotel). We are still open to short-term visitors.

Comment by greg_colbourn on Concerning the Recent 2019-Novel Coronavirus Outbreak · 2020-01-28T11:55:44.315Z · score: 10 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Estimate of swine flu fatality rate was ~0.5% in July 2009 with 100,000 cases reported. It ended up dropping over an order of magnitude.

Comment by greg_colbourn on Concerning the Recent 2019-Novel Coronavirus Outbreak · 2020-01-28T09:39:14.638Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW

~1/6 of the world population were infected by the 2009 swine flu (mortality rate was much lower though, at ~1/3000 of those infected).

Comment by greg_colbourn on Concerning the Recent 2019-Novel Coronavirus Outbreak · 2020-01-27T19:34:53.944Z · score: 10 (5 votes) · EA · GW

A better comparison would be to look at death rate for those infected: ~0.1% for seasonal flu.

Comment by greg_colbourn on 8 things I believe about climate change · 2019-12-29T09:19:37.402Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Just flagging that I posted this comment (the parent) from the wrong account (EA Hotel), should've been from this one! [mods, I don't suppose there is any way of correcting this?]

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Meta Fund November 2019 Payout Report · 2019-12-11T19:00:55.254Z · score: 12 (6 votes) · EA · GW

We asked for feedback on the first rejection.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Meta Fund November 2019 Payout Report · 2019-12-11T17:28:16.022Z · score: 20 (7 votes) · EA · GW

We didn't apply (although did tick the "Forward my application to the EA Meta fund" box on our application for the October 2019 round of the Long Term Future Fund).

We got rejected in the March 2019 round of the Meta Fund, and didn't receive any feedback.

In July I made an application to the Meta Fund for an "EA Events Hotel" to be also based in Blackpool, UK (for a hotel dedicated to workshops/events/retreats/bootcamps, given it's difficult to host many people at the EA Hotel for events in addition to the longer term people). This also got rejected without feedback.

Given this situation, we haven't further engaged with the Meta Fund (we've had more engagement with the Long Term Future Fund, despite the Meta Fund being the more natural fit for the EA Hotel).


Comment by greg_colbourn on ALLFED 2019 Annual Report and Fundraising Appeal · 2019-11-26T13:02:49.104Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Great report, and exciting times for ALLFED!

I notice that you don't include peanuts, which are one of the cheapest sources of calories currently widely available. Is this because they require a warm environment?

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-11-07T21:51:44.642Z · score: 28 (12 votes) · EA · GW

Fair point, but Nicole refers to:

Some concern about the handling of past PR situations

Also it's worth mentioning our actual subsequent track record over the past year (i.e. 0 further PR situations).

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-11-07T21:30:55.858Z · score: 3 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Regarding explicit direction vs advice - for me it was the fact that something I thought had been dealt with acceptably seems to have - unbeknownst to me - remained a live issue in terms of it effecting funding decisions. More explicit direction at the time in terms of "if you want to get funding from CEA you need to do this" seems like it would've been better in hindsight.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-11-07T21:15:45.216Z · score: 13 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Hi Julia, ok but to me the point you raised about media was tangential, i.e. it was not directly related to the PR situations themselves. For those curious - I missed a meeting with a professional communications advisor at EAG London last year, on account of missing an email (in which the meeting was arranged for me) sent the day before whilst I was driving to London. I was overwhelmed at the time with interest in the hotel, and that wasn't the only email (or meeting) I missed.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-11-07T19:01:07.976Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
Bill Gates does not (to my knowledge) support the EA Hotel

We are far too small to be on Bill Gates' radar. It's not worth his time looking at grants of less than millions of $ (Who know's though, maybe we'll get there eventually?)

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-11-07T18:55:40.781Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW
which is less likely to have much of an effective impact, compared to other organizations such as DeepMind and OpenAI..

Do you think this is true even in terms of impact/$ (given they are spending ~1,000-10,000x what we are)?

however, the EA Hotel also has the funding it needs from other sources now

We now have ~3 months worth of runway. It's a good start to this fundraiser, but is hardly conducive to sustainability (as mentioned below, we would like to get to 6 months runway to be able to start a formal hiring process for our Community & Projects Manager. The industry standard for non-profits is 18 months runway).

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-11-07T18:25:26.809Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · EA · GW

See Nicole's comment in the parent thread.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-11-07T18:20:53.340Z · score: 26 (13 votes) · EA · GW
Some concern about the handling of past PR situations; I think these were very difficult situations, but I think an excellent version of the hotel would have handled these better

I think this is a little unfair. It would be good to know exactly what we (or an excellent version of the hotel) could've (would've) done better regarding the PR situations (I assume this is referring to the Economist and Times articles). Oliver Habryka says here "I still think something in this space went wrong", but doesn't say what (see my reply to Habryka for detail on what happened with the media). Jonas Vollmer says in reply to Habryka's comment:

... "better than many did in the early stages (including myself in the early stages of EAF) but (due to lack of experience or training) considerably worse than most EA orgs would do these days." There are many counterintuitive lessons to be learnt, many of which I still don't fully understand, either.

but doesn't elaborate. I have also talked to someone at CEA at length about media, including what happened with the hotel, and they didn't suggest anything that we could've done better given the situation (of the media outlets publishing whether we liked it or not). So I'm genuinely curious here. Although, ok, I guess maybe we could’ve removed the flipboard sheet from the wall before the journalist came in, even though it was a surprise visit.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-11-07T18:10:34.839Z · score: 20 (6 votes) · EA · GW
Potential for community health issues, and concern about handling of a staffing issue

It's true that there is potential for community health issues whenever you have a group of people living together. I think we have generally faired well in this regard so far though. It has been suggested that there is a significant reputational risk involved with funding a project such as the EA Hotel given the interpersonal dynamics of a large group of people living together, and therefore it might be better for it to be funded by individuals instead of grant-making organisations. However, as a counter-point: most universities provide massively-communal student accommodation.

Regarding the staffing issue, I'm afraid there's not much I can say publicly. Although it was my understanding at the time that we dealt with it appropriately, after taking advice from prominent community members.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-11-07T17:30:20.882Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for commenting Nicole. To address your points (will post a separate comment for each):

Hotel management generally (including selection of guests/projects)

In terms of general management, I agree that there is always room for improvement, but I don't think things have been too bad so far.

Regarding the selection of guests/projects, I have a lot to say about this, which I hope to cover in EA Hotel Fundraiser 10: Estimating the relative Expected Value of the EA Hotel (Part 2), and possibly also a separate post focusing more on my personal opinions. For now I will say that I think there might be some philosophical disagreement between us, although I can't be certain as I don't know the specifics of which guests/projects you are referring to in particular.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 6: Concrete outputs after 17 months · 2019-11-06T13:35:44.961Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Regarding emotional investment, I agree that there is a substantial amount of it in the EA Hotel. But I don't think there is significantly more than there is for any new EA project that several people put a lot of time and effort into. And for many people, not being able to do the work they want to do (i.e. not getting funded/paid to do it) is at least as significant as not being able to live where they want to live.

Still, you're right in that critical comments can (often) be perceived as being antisocial. I think part of the reason that EA is considered by new people/outsiders to not be so welcoming can be explained by this.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 6: Concrete outputs after 17 months · 2019-11-06T13:24:01.022Z · score: 19 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Flagging that there has been a post specifically soliciting reasons against donating to the EA Hotel:

$100 Prize to Best Argument Against Donating to the EA Hotel

And also a Question which solicited critical responses:

Why is the EA Hotel having trouble fundraising?

I agree that the "equilibrium" you describe is not great, except I don't think it is an equilibrium; more that, due to various factors, things have been moving slower than they ideally should have.

EA hotel struggles to collect low tens of $

I'm guessing you meant tens-of-thousands. It's actually mid-tens-of-thousands of $: £44.2k~$57k (from 69 unique donors) as of writing (not counting the money I've put in).



Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-31T20:41:42.016Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

See reply below.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-31T20:40:32.177Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

[Replying to above thread] One reason I asked you to plug some numbers in is that these estimates will depend a lot on what your priors are for various parameters. We will hopefully provide some of our own numerical estimates soon, but I don't think that too much weight should be put on them (Halffull makes a good point about measurability above). Also consider that our priors may be biased relative to yours.

I'll also say that a reason for Part 2 of the EV estimate being put on the back burner for so long was that Part 1 didn't get a very good reception (i.e. people didn't see much value in it). You are the first person to ask about Part 2!

[Replying to this thread]

projects in developing regions are generally (but certainly not always) significantly higher in yield than in developed regions

I think this is missing the point. The point of the EA Hotel is not to help the residents of the hotel, it is to help them help other people (and animals). AI Safety research, and other X-risk research in general, is ultimately about preventing the extinction of humanity (and other life). This is clearly a valuable thing to be aiming for. However, as I said before, it's hard to directly compare this kind of thing (and meta level work), with shovel-ready object level interventions like distributing mosquito nets in the developing world.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-30T18:05:31.705Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW
does the EA Hotel provide better benefit than animal welfare efforts? Polio? Global warming? Political campaigns? Poverty alleviation?

The EA Hotel is a meta level project, as opposed to the other more object level efforts you refer to, so it's hard to do a direct comparison. Perhaps it's best to think of the Hotel as a multiplier for efforts in the EA space in general. We are enabling people to study and research topics relevant to EA, and also to start new projects and collaborations. Ultimately we hope that this will lead to significant pay-offs in terms of object level value down the line (although in many cases this could take a few years, considering that most of the people we host are in the early stages of their careers).

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-30T12:41:36.396Z · score: 12 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I would appreciate it if you could review the information a bit more thoroughly. Perhaps you could generate your own estimate using the framework developed in Fundraiser 3 and the outputs listed here. Fundraiser 10 was listed last because I want to try and do a thorough job of it (but also have other competing urgent priorities with respect to the hotel). There are also many considerations as to why any such estimates will be somewhat fuzzy and perhaps not ideal to rely on too heavily for decision making (hoping to go into detail on this in the post).

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-26T18:44:03.313Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · EA · GW

It is, in fact, an irregular decagon (or 7 sides of an octagon with fitted seating, and a passage to the door :)

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-26T18:34:30.248Z · score: 9 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I bought it, for £47k (see above).

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-26T17:34:12.659Z · score: 15 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Yes, where I say above that I "probably was a little over-optimistic about the funding prospects for the EA Hotel at the time [when buying the hotel next door]", it was largely based on this exchange.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-26T17:15:29.034Z · score: 31 (19 votes) · EA · GW

The £5000/month was an estimate based on earlier spending. Our costs are variable dependent on occupancy, hours worked by staff, random maintenance costs etc. It's unfortunate that I didn't adjust the totaliser earlier based on the actual spend, and I considered just paying out of my own pocket to hide the mistake, given that it's likely to be a black mark against me/the EA Hotel (and there seems to be very little tolerance for mistakes in EA these days). I hope at least some people appreciate the honesty.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-26T16:54:16.311Z · score: 11 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I approve. Anyone want to start the bidding?

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-26T12:56:48.150Z · score: 56 (29 votes) · EA · GW

I bought the hotel next door with my own money, and I've not spent any of the EA Hotel's money on it. Given it's relatively low cost, I see it as a decent investment largely independent of the EA Hotel (i.e. even if the EA Hotel fails I think there's a reasonable chance property prices will go up in Blackpool in the next 5-10 years).

Perhaps in terms of maximising my positive impact it would've been best for me to donate the money to the EA Hotel. I think that remains to be seen though. Although I think I probably was a little over-optimistic about the funding prospects for the EA Hotel at the time, in hindsight.

(Note the timing of the purchase wasn't ideal. It came up for auction. Strategically, I didn't want to lose the opportunity to enable the EA Hotel to easily expand (i.e. through knocking through the wall and using all same resources in terms of kitchen, appliances, stock etc) in the event it is successful enough to warrant it.)

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-25T18:42:37.617Z · score: 32 (21 votes) · EA · GW

Going to say that personally, I still very much think this is the best use of EA money on the margin, considering the low costs per person-year of work, hits-based giving, community building and network effects, and room for more funding (i.e. the current accute need of funding). Especially in the current situation, I think it's an outstanding opportunity for small/medium-sized donations to move the needle.

However, I'm at the stage where I'm having to consider losing my own financial independence / potential for investing in the future (including in EA things) if I want to give further financial support to the EA Hotel. And I'm not quite ready to do that.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-25T14:22:21.532Z · score: 23 (13 votes) · EA · GW

As things stand I’m likely to give people notice soon to start paying rent or leave from 1 Dec. I feel that this could then cause a death spiral from people leaving, cost/person increasing, further people leaving because of that etc :(

Comment by greg_colbourn on Survival and Flourishing Fund Applications closing in 3 days · 2019-10-02T18:03:25.301Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

When is the next round likely to be? (the EA Hotel is still working on getting charitable status)

Comment by greg_colbourn on Movement Collapse Scenarios · 2019-09-12T12:17:26.843Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · EA · GW

The Sequestration scenario outlined here is well articulated and struck a chord with me: the EA Hotel’s struggle to gain support (and funding) from those at the centre of the movement* seems like it could be a possible symptom of it.

Also:

I don’t want to be seen as arguing for any position in the debate about whether and how much to prioritize those who appear most talented—a sufficiently nuanced writeup of my thoughts would distract from my main point here.

I would be interested to read your thoughts on this, and intend to write about it more (and how it fits in with the value proposition of the EA Hotel) myself at some point.

*Note: we have had a good amount of support from those in the periphery.

Comment by greg_colbourn on Cluster Headache Frequency Follows a Long-Tail Distribution · 2019-08-08T08:55:33.995Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

What do you make of Emgality? Looks like a relatively small effect, but the absolute effect could still be large given the severity of Cluster Headaches.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Forum: Footnotes are live, and other updates · 2019-05-22T14:21:17.552Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Or hover-over/click-to-pop-up footnotes.

Comment by greg_colbourn on EA Hotel Fundraiser 3: Estimating the relative Expected Value of the EA Hotel (Part 1) · 2019-04-30T10:34:53.907Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

stands for expected value. , or the expected value of the resident relative to a hire. In the first formula you refer to there is also the equivalent for the counterfactual resident () and the counterfactual hire ().

Comment by greg_colbourn on Reasons to eat meat · 2019-04-29T13:20:26.620Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

The trick to not making it require continuous willpower is to not think of the stuff you're not meant to be eating as an option. Pre-committing to not considering it as food means you don't have to exercise willpower at every meal (this is similar to not agonising over every purchase once you've set a donation budget, although admittedly that is easier given the auto-payment thingy).

Also, If you're not fussy about food, being vegan is, in a way, simpler and easier when eating out, as often you only have one option to choose from (although this is less true now).

Comment by greg_colbourn on Long-Term Future Fund: April 2019 grant recommendations · 2019-04-26T17:46:58.975Z · score: 51 (19 votes) · EA · GW

My response (edited from my email to Habryka)

I think I would be in favor of giving a grant that covers the runway of the hotel for the next year.

Wow this is awesome, thanks!

# Thoughts on the EA Hotel:

Thanks for your detailed response.

First, the reasons why I am excited about the EA Hotel:
Providing a safety net ...
Acting on historical interest ...
Building high-dedication cultures ...

All good reasons, eloquently put!

1. I think the people behind the EA Hotel where initially overeager to publicize the EA Hotel via broad media outreach in things like newspapers and others media outlets with broad reach.

I think this is based on an unfortunate misconception. The whole thing with the media interest has been quite surprising to us. We have never courted the media - quite the opposite in fact. It started with The Economist approaching us. This was whilst I was on holiday and out of communication. The first I heard about it was 3 days before they went to press (the piece appeared in print whilst I was still away). The journalist was told not to come to Blackpool. I spoke to them on the phone and said I wanted more time to think about it and discuss it with people. They went ahead anyway and were told “no comment” by a resident when they knocked on the door. They picked up the story from Slate Star Codex originally and decided — whether we liked it or not — to run a piece on it. I don’t think there was anything we could’ve done to prevent it.

After that, The Times (and many other media outlets) picked it up. The Times journalist booked a call with me via my Calendly. At the exact time I was expecting the call, there was a knock on the door instead and she was there with a photographer - we got doorstepped! I had a panicked 5 minute talk “off the record” with her outside, where she explained that they were going to write about us anyway (whether we liked it or not) so I might as well let her in to interview some people so we could have at least some control over the narrative (we had none with the Economist piece).

I thought it went pretty well, and the piece could’ve been worse. However, they printed some errors, despite me sending clarifications - see the “For the record” here - which made me lose more faith in the journalistic process. It seems that even when you send corrections/clarifications they don’t factor them in if it doesn’t fit their narrative. And of course you have no right of reply (or at least no right of reply at the same level of visibility).

After The Times we had another national newspaper showing up at the door unannounced the next day. Gave them nothing despite them being very persistent.

In the next couple of weeks we were inundated with media requests. We discussed the issue with many people in EA and at CEA and 80k and decided against embracing the media (we could’ve been on prime-time TV and radio with millions of viewers/listeners). The decision was largely based around considerations encapsulated by the fidelity model of spreading ideas and the Awareness/Inclination Model of movement growth. We have turned down something like 20 media requests since The Times. Most were in October following the initial media interest. But we still get some every now and again. The outside view from my friends and family is that I’m completely crazy not to accept any of these offers. I think it’s probably the right call for the EA movement, but I’m still not 100% sure given that there is basically no data on the impact of mass media appearances on movement growth/talent discovery for EA - as far as I can tell, there hasn’t been any since the launch of GWWC and 80k (I’m talking appearances in national/international media with millions of viewers/readers here).

To try and avoid this misconception being perpetuated, I have added a disclaimer to the media page on our website saying that we have never courted the media. Also, journalistic ethics are such that requesting the media cover you is not something you can easily do or be successful with. You can write a press release and send it out, but they don’t generally do requests (note we definitely did not post a press release, nor do anything to publicise the project really, apart from me posting my initial EA Forum piece and sharing it on a couple of EA Facebook groups).

because it communicates the presence of free resources that are for the taking of anyone vaguely associated with the community

I’ve actually been surprised at how few applicants from outside the movement we’ve had, even after the media.

2. I expect the EA Hotel to attract a kind of person who is pretty young, highly dedicated and looking for some guidance on what to do with their life. I think this makes them a particularly easy and promising target for people who tend to abuse that kind of trust relationship and who are looking for social influence.

Yes, one thing I’m wary of is anyone looking to gain too much social influence at the hotel. Note that the average age is actually reasonably high at around 28 though (range 20-40) (i.e. there are a fair few people changing the trajectory of their careers).

the EA Hotel could form a geographically and memetically isolated group that is predisposed for conflict with the rest of the EA community in a way that could result in a lot of negative-sum conflict.

I don’t think we are especially memetically isolated - most of us keep up with the EA Forum and EA Facebook groups etc. There is generally a high level of shared memetic culture/jargon etc that is general to the broader movement. Geographically, many guests have travelled to EA events in continental Europe, and have visited other UK EA hubs like London and Oxford.

3. I don't have a sense that Greg wants to really take charge on the logistics of running the hotel, and don't have a great candidate for someone else to run it. Though it seems pretty plausible that we could find someone to run it if we invest some time into finding someone.

Yes, it’s not something that I want to do long term (although I have been doing a lot). And it’s taking a lot longer than I initially thought it would take to get things fully set up (especially setting up a charity and fundraising). There are two main aspects to the job really - logistics and guest mentoring/vetting. Currently one of the guests is taking on most of the cooking/dishes/food monitor work, and we have a rota for weekends (this could potentially be outsourced with more funds available). And we have a cleaner doing the cleaning/room changes. (Interim Manager) Toon has been doing checkins with guests to discuss their work. He’s only been working on the hotel part time though (he also runs RAISE) and is leaving in a couple of months. We haven’t been able to start the process for hiring a full time manager to take over due to funding insecurity. Would be great if you could help us find someone, thanks!

Comment by greg_colbourn on What skills would you like 1-5 EAs to develop? · 2019-04-23T11:01:49.801Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Charity Law - Perhaps one EA in each of the 5 countries with the highest numbers of EAs. It would be useful to have people who are familiar with EA who can offer their professional services to help incorporate new projects as charities (even better if they can offer reduced rates or pro bono advice). This is another thing we've struggled with with the EA Hotel. Our situation is complicated by the fact that it doesn't neatly fit in with the UK Charity Commission's charitable purposes. We've been recommended a few law firms, but haven't yet been able to hire anyone or get any pro bono advice (not least because we aren't already a charity!)

Comment by greg_colbourn on Can we apply start-up investing principles to non-profits? · 2019-04-11T09:39:35.034Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I think that's kind of the point: that it should be thought of as apples-to-apples - there are these huge arbitrage opportunities when it comes to non-profit investing (or EA) that aren't available with a direct for-profit incentive (if you make some basic assumptions like human lives being of equal value regardless of nationality).

Imagine if you could buy 200kg of gold for $3,500 in Malawi!

Comment by greg_colbourn on $100 Prize to Best Argument Against Donating to the EA Hotel · 2019-04-09T10:03:39.804Z · score: 16 (6 votes) · EA · GW
Humans in general often don't take critical feedback nearly as seriously as they should, and often don't adjust their thinking/actions due to sunk costs, wanting to save face in their peer group, grandiose personality, etc. This also applies to EAs (maybe somewhat but not vastly less so).

Agree that this can be tough (from experience). I would add that it can be emotionally draining, especially if the feedback is uncharitable or has some basis of misunderstanding or factual error. Also, it can be further complicated if after reflection one still doesn't fully agree with the feedback and there is a genuine philosophical disagreement. (NB I'm happy to have received feedback from Jonas Vollmer and think it has/will make the EA Hotel project stronger; "uncharitable or has some basis of misunderstanding or factual error" does not apply to his feedback).

Aaron Gertler's approach of "looking at the Hotel's guest list, picking the best-sounding project, and offering money directly to the person behind it."

This does require the hotel to exist though (or something like it). See my comment here.

I have also shared some thoughts for how to design the admission process with EA Hotel staff.

Based on some initial ideas from Jonas, we are working on a rating system for applicants and ongoing hosted projects. Tentatively it might be something like a logarithmic scale of EV, {-5,+5} with +1 = giving the money to GiveDirectly*. Trustees/Manager in one anonymous pool, Advisors in another. Bayesian priors stated in words. 95% confidence intervals given. Another round of scoring after seeing others' input and discussion (special care taken to discuss when ratings <=-1 are given). Final scores aggregated. Guests accepted if clearing a bar of +1 (to increase with diminishing capacity). If falling below, guests have 3 months to pivot/improve.

*Would be interested in comparing with any numerical schemes other EA grantmakers are using.

Comment by greg_colbourn on Long-Term Future Fund: April 2019 grant recommendations · 2019-04-09T09:02:49.143Z · score: 13 (9 votes) · EA · GW

We applied. Judging by the email I received, I think we are also part of the small group of ~7 mentioned here. Awaiting the follow up email.

Comment by greg_colbourn on The Case for the EA Hotel · 2019-04-08T22:43:02.055Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I haven't yet, but fundraising is proving to be a lot more stressful than I expected :)