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The ACX/EA/LW Sofia regular meetup for February will be on 12 February at 18:00, at Don Domat on Triaditsa 5.

We'll be having a round or two of a Hamming circle:

What is a Hamming circle for?  What does it do?

A Hamming circle is a tool/process for making some kind of progress on some large, significant bottleneck.

This is slightly vague, because Hamming circles are versatile.  Participants at CFAR workshops have brought, into their Hamming circles, all sorts of problems and questions and goals.  A sampling:

  • How to find a spouse
  • What to do about my deteriorating relationship with my teenage child
  • Is it possible for me, specifically, to have a meaningful impact on existential risk
  • Something just isn't right about my life
  • I need to secure $250,000 in seed funding for my startup
  • My partner and I keep having the same fight
  • Even though I know I need to exercise, I just keep not exercising
  • What if everything I'm doing is "fake" and I'm only doing it because I feel like I'm "supposed" to
  • I want to go on a trip.  It feels important to go on a trip.  But I don't know why, and I don't know where, and I don't know what this trip should be
  • I think I want to quit grad school
  • I'm expected to speak at my father's funeral and I have nothing but scathing, bitter, angry things to say

What happens in a Hamming circle is fairly similar to what happens in a pair debug, or even when you're just working through your problems in your own mind. However, the problems tend to be larger or deeper or more confusing or intractable, with the hope being that people will bring their most pressing bottleneck.

(Though bringing something smaller is fine; there shouldn't be moral pressure to shoulder a heavier problem than one feels ready to handle.)

The idea is that, for the duration of the circle, instead of having access to just one brain's power, each participant will instead have 3-5x their usual working memory, 3-5x their usual wisdom and life experiences, 3-5x their usual perspective or field-of-view, 3-5x idea generators or problem solving strategies, etc.

Ideally, you'll have thought in advance about what problem/bug/bottleneck you'd want to work on with the group. 

Sofia ACX started with the 2021 Meetups Everywhere round. Attendance hovers around 6-8 people. Everyone worries they're not serious enough about ACX to join, so you should banish that thought and come anyway.  "Please feel free to come even if you feel awkward about it, even if you’re not 'the typical ACX reader', even if you’re worried people won’t like you", even if you didn't come to the previous meetings, even if you don't speak Bulgarian, etc., etc.

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