Hey Akash! Thanks for your comment, and apologies for my late response!Let me respond to your individual thoughts:
1- I’d love to hear more about your decision to go with a career-focused post rather than a donation-focused post. I see how someone changing their career could have an immense impact (especially if they are able to find something impactful that they’re also very good at). However, I’m skeptical about the proportion of people who would seriously consider changing their career paths as a result of this. Maybe my forecast is off, though—I wouldn’t have expected 5 messages/calls! Would love to hear more about how those go.
I think that students, especially young students (like 1st/2nd/3rd year undergrads) are often open to many different career paths, or don’t know what they want to do yet. I’ve noticed that with advertising for Stanford EA’s fellowship, career-focused mentorship and readings are the part of the fellowship students are most excited about, since many students want to go into high-impact careers, but don’t know what options are out there. This is corroborated by post-talk survey data after an intro to longtermism/EA talk with Will MacAskill last year, where many more people said they were interested in learning more about how to enter high-impact career paths (~90%) than finding out the most cost-effective donation opportunities (~60%).
2. I wonder if a post that had info about careers and donations would be effective. Maybe readers would be left feeling confused and it’s better to focus on one thing. But maybe adding a paragraph about GiveWell and including a quick blurb would be enough for some people, without distracting too much from the focus on 80k hours. What do you think?
I wanted to focus on career choice exclusively rather than give people multiple options to increase the likelihood of them checking out 80K, and also to counter the misconception that EA is primarily about donations as mentioned in the post.
3. At first glance, I think it would’ve been net positive to explicitly mention EA. Personally, I think people would have seen this as a “birthday post” (especially because of your great/clear hook) rather than “just another EA post.”
Yea, I spent some time debating what was best and wasn’t sure of my decision in the end. I maybe mistakenly assumed everyone who read this would know this was indirectly about EA given how much I talk/post about it, but I think that was an incorrect assumption. That being said, the comments have lots of mentions of EA so hopefully that compensates somewhat. I also imagine most of the value of this post comes from people checking out 80K, in which case they’re likely to find out about EA anyway.
4. I think your description of existential risk is great—one of the most accessible/engaging that I’ve seen. I wonder if mentioning existential risk might turn people off, though (then again, it seems like you would’ve had to mention it since you’re working at the Existential Risks Initiative).
I think terms like “existential risks/threats/etc.” are fairly commonplace (e.g. they were brought up in a U.S. presidential debate earlier this year in reference to climate change), so I didn’t worry too much about it throwing people off, but did also try to describe their scope/scale in a way that would make people take the issue seriously without being too sensational.
Thanks for all the feedback and for your kind words! :) I’d be happy to edit a draft of your birthday post if you’d like!