Thanks for sharing this!
Feels like all the top people in EA would have gotten into EA anyway?
Possibly you don’t endorse this statement and were just using it as an intro, but I think your interlocutor’s response (1) is understated: I can’t think of any products which don’t benefit from having a marketing department. If EA doesn’t benefit from marketing (broadly defined), it would be an exceptionally unusual product.
I imagine taking my best guess at the “current plan of meta-EA” and giving it to Paul Graham and him not funding my startup because the plan isn’t specific/concrete enough to even check if it’s good and this vagueness is a sign that the key assumptions that need to be true for the plan to even work haven’t been identified.
For what it’s worth, CEA’s plans seem more concrete than mine were when I interviewed at YC. CLR’s thoughts on creating disruptive research teams are another thing which comes to mind as having key assumptions which could be falsified.
Also seems relevant that both 80k and CEA went through YC (though I didn’t work for 80k back then and don’t know all the details).