Wiki Contributions


Maybe one thing worth mentioning on this: If my memory serves correct, Reserve was founded with the goal of funding existential risk work. This included funding the Leverage ecosystem (since many of the members thought of themselves as working on solutions that would help with X-Risk) but would have also included other people and orgs.

Oh you might be right. I think around 2017 was when the overall thing started to separate into subgroups, some of which I remember having stronger requirements (eg do one presentation every X weeks or something). Around that time I was off doing Reserve, which largely got started in New York, and wasn't so in touch with the rest of the "ecosystem" in the Bay Area. OK, yeah, I think this makes me not a reliable commentator on the 2017-on period. 

Follow-up: I wanted to acknowledge that some other people who spent time at Leverage had much worse experiences than I did. I don't want to downplay that. My experience may have been unique since I focused on building an external company and since my social circle in the Bay Area was mostly non-Leveragers. 

All that said, I still stand by what I wrote above. I was reacting mainly to the original post wearing a guise of objectivity. I think I would have no gripe with it if the title was, "I have beef with Leverage and so here are some biasing facts I'd like to highlight about them" – though, to be fair, that's a really long title, and also I could be projecting.

oh ps, I'm sure this has already been mentioned in the 100+ comments I haven't read, but it's weird to call Leverage a "high-demand" group since – during my time there – people were regularly complaining about basically having too much freedom. I can't remember a single day there that anyone demanded I do anything, in the way a manager demands of employees or guru makes demands of disciples. (Actually there might have been a few where, eg, there was a mandatory meeting that we all install a good password manager so we don't get hacked. But often people missed these "mandatory" meetings.) Most days I just did whatever I wanted. Often people felt like they were floating and wanted *more* directives.

Hi all,

During my years in the Bay I spent some of my time as an employee of Paradigm, a Leverage 1.0 affiliate. I also spent a good amount of time living and hanging out at the Leverage house/offices.

I'm writing here from a coffeeshop in Berlin because...why? I think because I get frustrated by the balance of coverage that Leverage gets. When I consider what sorts of things produce value, they tend to start off being very high-variance. They tend to have very weird-seeming history. 

For instance: Whispers have it that – before AI X-Risk was a respectable, well-known cause backed by people like Elon Musk – that a high school drop-out named "Eliezer Yudkowsky" wrote a Harry Potter fan-fiction to bring hundreds of people into a rationalist movement that might someday save the world from runaway algorithms. Did you know Trump-supporter Peter Thiel was an early funder of one of its main organizations?! Did you know that many rationalists have become affiliated with Neoreaction, an alt-right group with members that support authoritarianism?!! Don't get me started on a different now-respectable org – one staffed by many rationalists – that bootstrapped itself in part through astroturfing and which maintains strict information management policies (what are they hiding???).

I speak above of causes and orgs (ones that I like by the way) that have since done a decent job of PR...to the point where most people don't know about their strange early history. Leverage 1.0, on the other hand did a crap job of PR, and so clearly biased "Facts" posts I've seen on here do more damage. They do damage to reputations of organizations that were – on net in my opinion – worthwhile endeavors and to people who continue to be generative (like Geoff, who, full disclaimer, is my friend).

That all said, I don't dispute most of what BayAreaHuman has mentioned above. I'm reacting more to "Facts" posts that read like gossip magazine content but with the stylistic manner of rationalist objectivity. I.e., posts that seem intent on curating bullet-points about Leverage that appear to me to be hand-selected to be off-putting, despite an overall tone and structural properties of objectivity. (My straw-man imitation: "Look, I'm not saying LessWrong is a cult. I'm just stating several facts showing a similarity to 'high-demand groups.' Wink wink.")

For my part, Leverage 1.0 harmed me in some ways. It helped me in some ways. The result was, upon reflection, quite net positive. I'd be happy to say more after eating some dinner.

Hi Clarity,

Sorry for the delayed reply - the team has been in the thick of it running the three conferences!

Currently, we're set for Melbourne, but the Oxford event has a $25K financial aid gap. The gap is large because we're hoping to give aid to anyone who applied, requested aid, and was accepted. So, our criteria for dispensing financial aid is the same as our criteria for admission. (+ stated reasons why the person needs financial aid that are good reasons)

For the Google event, we had amazing support from the community in funding scholarships, so we're now raising round two. Would you still be interested?

Cheers, Tyler (Alterman) EAG President tyler@eaglobal.org

ps Love the library cash stash idea. =)