Process Orientation 2021-03-21T15:21:32.085Z
Enabling Children 2021-03-03T00:02:01.350Z
Could someone please start a bright home lighting company? 2019-11-26T19:20:04.622Z
[link] "Paper strips" memory technique 2018-10-06T12:11:35.248Z
Moral frameworks and the Harris/Klein debate 2018-05-03T09:49:03.626Z
[LINK] How to increase conscientiousness 2013-10-04T15:26:16.002Z
[LINK] Why Your Customers Would Be Happier If You Charged More 2012-09-21T20:10:39.525Z
Heading off a near-term AGI arms race 2012-08-22T14:23:58.382Z
How to enjoy being wrong 2011-07-27T05:48:01.005Z


Comment by lincolnquirk on Raemon's Shortform · 2021-06-17T16:45:46.370Z · LW · GW

I'm not Ray, but I'll take a stab --

The founder has a complete vision for the community/meetup/company/etc. They were able to design a thing that (as long as they continue putting in energy) is engaging, and they instinctively know how to change it so that it continues being great for participants.

The first successor has an incomplete, operational/keep-things-running-the-way-they-were type vision. They cargo-cult whatever the founder was doing. They don't have enough vision to understand the 'why' behind all the decisions. But putting your finger on their precise blind spot is quite hard. It's their "fault" (to the extent that we can blame anyone) that things go off the rails, but their bad decision-making doesn't actually have short term impacts that anyone can see. Instead, the impacts come all at once, once they disappear, and there becomes common knowledge that it was a house of cards the whole time.

(or something. my models are fairly imprecise on this.)

Anyway, why did the founder get fooled into anointing the first successor even though they don't have the skills to continue the thing? My guess is that there's a fairly strong selection effect for founders combined with "market fit" -- founders who fail to reach this resonant frequency don't pick successors, they just fail. Whatever made them great at building this particular community doesn't translate into skills at picking a successor, and that resonance may not happen to exist in any other person. Another founder-quality person would not necessarily have resonated with the existing community's frequency, so there could also be an anti-selection effect there.

Comment by lincolnquirk on What are your greatest one-shot life improvements? · 2021-06-05T23:57:01.527Z · LW · GW

I didn’t do it any more. I forgot about it next time I showered.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Peekskill Lyme Incidence · 2021-06-02T12:55:38.583Z · LW · GW

Sorry I don’t have good answers:

  1. I don’t think so, typically you’re “cured” if you get antibiotics early on and don’t see any more symptoms
  2. diagnosis was only from the characteristic “ring” rash around bite site. The nurse said that it was the “best” (clearest example) of one she had ever seen
  3. Not concerned, given i caught it quickly and haven’t seen any other symptoms
Comment by lincolnquirk on Deliberately Vague Language is Bullshit · 2021-05-15T00:07:10.854Z · LW · GW

On this topic, Orwell has a very good essay "Politics and the English language" ( which is kind of about this.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Deliberately Vague Language is Bullshit · 2021-05-14T12:27:13.897Z · LW · GW

This is pointing in a good direction, but I think the post could benefit from some more concrete examples.

Comment by lincolnquirk on MIRI location optimization (and related topics) discussion · 2021-05-11T02:42:01.446Z · LW · GW

I'm very curious what kind of "campus" type properties you're thinking of!

A YC-backed nonprofit,, bought a fully functional campus in Vermont last year (Marlboro College). -- for $1.75M, which seems like a steal to me (although later revelations suggest this might not have been the full price paid). Is this the kind of thing you were imagining?

(interesting side note: One of the founders, Seth Andrews, appears to have just last month been arrested for financial crimes. and more financial details here

Comment by lincolnquirk on Peekskill Lyme Incidence · 2021-05-11T02:27:54.080Z · LW · GW

I was diagnosed with Lyme disease last October. I have been hiking a decent amount (1-2 times per week) in New Hampshire, and I am on pace for 3-4 times a year finding a tick on me (although this spring I've already found three, it's really bad this year). Fortunately, my tick bite site was easy to observe, I noticed the ring rash and went to the doc, they gave me antibiotics and I had no other effects that I noticed. Dunno if this helps anyone.

Comment by lincolnquirk on I'm from a parallel Earth with much higher coordination: AMA · 2021-04-08T13:16:16.106Z · LW · GW

Thanks very much for bringing this over from Facebook!

Comment by lincolnquirk on The Meaning Crisis · 2021-04-02T14:53:59.938Z · LW · GW

When it says "Sunday at 3:00 PM" on my screen, it is not obvious whether it is converting to local time for me (I assume it is but I don't remember telling LW what my time zone was). I think the simplest "fix" is just to have your date/time renderer also render the timezone it is using.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Rationalism before the Sequences · 2021-03-30T22:00:34.685Z · LW · GW

Hmm, maybe a 2. I didn’t know you had read the Sequences, but it seems like the sort of thing that would appeal to you based on the writing in Dancing, etc.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Rationalism before the Sequences · 2021-03-30T19:18:37.167Z · LW · GW

This is great, strong upvoted!

Offtopic but I've really enjoyed your work over the years (CATB & Hacker's Dictionary from before I was a Less Wronger; Dancing With the Gods since). Glad to see you on LW, and thanks for the pointer to Heinlein's Gulf which I hadn't read, but was a solid read (though very clearly from the 1950s in its attitude - feels very outdated now).

Comment by lincolnquirk on Enabling Children · 2021-03-15T23:48:11.018Z · LW · GW

I haven't googled it either but I have a strong prior against "matching sites" due to selection effect problems. Still, if I were to embark on a project like this I would probably see what the google says, in case there are surprises!

Comment by lincolnquirk on Enabling Children · 2021-03-15T23:47:17.011Z · LW · GW

Thanks! I will browse the site and see if there are useful details about what others have tried!

Comment by lincolnquirk on Enabling Children · 2021-03-15T23:45:28.510Z · LW · GW

The "good fences make good neighbors" thing is something I have heard elsewhere, and wonder about. I know it's a widely repeated proverb, but I don't know where it comes from. Do you have personal experience with why this is good wisdom? The obvious drawback with implementing it is cost (to duplicate facilities that are cheaper to share) and I would rather not incur the cost without understanding the why.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Enabling Children · 2021-03-15T23:41:32.877Z · LW · GW

Do you have a sense of where to look for the right kind of people? (Feel free to answer for yourself, rather than trying to project what I or others might want)

Comment by lincolnquirk on Enabling Children · 2021-03-15T23:40:12.119Z · LW · GW

Thanks! This gives me a lot of hope, that it can happen by accident. I would love to hear if you end up purchasing adjacent property, or if you would consider moving all together to another spot!

Comment by lincolnquirk on Car Thoughts · 2021-03-09T12:14:32.886Z · LW · GW

I went through a similar process to buy my first car (although I wasn’t considering children relevant, I did consider a dog and skiing supplies, as well as wanting to be able to transport friends). I eventually settled on a $10k used car from a dealership. I was originally expecting to buy a very used $3k car, but was convinced to increase my budget by the idea that driving a maintenance-needing car would be stressful, as you note. Advice I received was that $10k was around the sweet spot for a car that could still go a long time without needing much maintenance. I ended up buying from a dealership, which I considered a worthwhile premium because I knew nothing about cars.

I also wanted 4wd/awd for New England weather driving (I wouldn’t consider this essential for boston, but driving to outdoorsy things in the winter is less stressful with this feature). Also wanted decent highway mileage, mainly for environmental reasons. I ended up getting a 7-year-old Subaru Outback with just over 100k miles on it. It’s been a year now and I’m reasonably happy with the purchase.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Open & Welcome Thread – March 2021 · 2021-03-09T01:19:28.261Z · LW · GW

My company, Wave, is building mobile money in the developing world ( We are a for-profit company helping mostly-unbanked people get access to money and digital markets. Besides the usual software engineering jobs, I’ve had particular trouble finding great senior product managers (3+ yrs experience in entrepreneurship, Product at tech companies, or engineering leadership) and head of information security (5+ yrs, ideally with some security certification experience). Not all of these roles are posted on our website so email me privately if you are interested! My email is lincoln at our url :)

Comment by lincolnquirk on Anna and Oliver discuss Children and X-Risk · 2021-03-02T12:15:48.017Z · LW · GW

Oh darn :( I was really looking forward to this event but ended up being busy then. One of the benefits of doing stuff like this on Zoom is to engage a broader community -- why stop at only people who can be there at the appointed time?

Would it have caused you to record it if I had asked nicely ahead of time? (I saw the announcement and knew I would likely be busy then. I could have thought to ask.)

Comment by lincolnquirk on Anna and Oliver discuss Children and X-Risk · 2021-03-01T13:58:00.288Z · LW · GW

Is there a recording/transcript/anything to watch after-the-fact?

Comment by lincolnquirk on Mentorship, Management, and Mysterious Old Wizards · 2021-02-25T14:57:18.773Z · LW · GW

Hmm, interesting. I suppose it would have, but it is hard to imagine what he could have told me in particular that goes beyond his essays. Maybe looking at the way I think and saying "you seem like the type to be a good startup founder".

This did prod me to remember a wizard-experience I had in 8th grade. It was with my science teacher. I was one of the better students in his class (possibly the best), and I was at one point crowding him before class, very eager to see the results of a test. He took me aside and said something like "why are you spending so much mental energy on this? You're smart enough that you'll always do okay. You don't need to get all As to be successful" (I don't remember the exact words). This was enormously impactful on me -- I think it immediately reduced my GPA, reduced my stress levels and increased my happiness & life satisfaction.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Mentorship, Management, and Mysterious Old Wizards · 2021-02-25T01:30:30.348Z · LW · GW

I really like this!

I got “permission” to be ambitious from Paul Graham’s essays. He definitely seemed like a mysterious old wizard but he also didn’t have to spend any time on me then (though I did eventually get some of his time, many years later in Y Combinator).

Dunno if this helps or hurts your theory.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Making Vaccine · 2021-02-03T21:19:29.286Z · LW · GW

I think a lot of these questions are answered in the radvac paper. I sent a copy of it to a biologist I know, and asked if he thought it was crazy to do this, and he read it and said “geez this looks safer than doing drugs”. I don’t have enough expertise to add anything beyond that.

Comment by lincolnquirk on #6: Optional additional steps · 2021-02-03T13:41:09.594Z · LW · GW

Thanks for writing this sequence!

While I don’t normally love cryptocurrency, it does seem like an obviously good idea to buy some cryptocoin and send the key into the future. There are some considerations for doing so, such as “how can I ensure that the key is readable?”, and “how can I avoid accidentally depending on a cryptocoin organization that might not continue to exist?”

I don’t actually know the best practices, but I would guess that the best thing is to take ownership of the coin with your own privately generated key using a wallet app that gives you a key recovery string of words (I think they call this a seed phrase). This seems fairly common, most wallet apps should support it. I don’t know the best wallet app, but hopefully someone else can chime in with a recommendation for one that is open source, trustworthy and has a seed phrase feature.

Then you’ll want to back up your seed phrase heavily: search for a seed phrase engraving kit on Amazon, and stamp/engrave it into metal for your lockbox. Write it down on archival paper in pencil too.

Separately, also backup the wallet itself on a few different kinds of media (maybe a USB key and a writable cd/dvd).

Lastly, back up the source code for your wallet app both on the media and printing it out.

Note that all of these steps can be done even before you fund your wallet - funding can be done at any moment later on!

Comment by lincolnquirk on #4.1: Types of life insurance · 2021-01-28T02:46:39.830Z · LW · GW

All these are great points! You've updated me that the IUL solves a real problem.

The thing I felt (and still feel) that you aren't acknowledging is the investment returns on savings -- with the IUL, the insurance company will invest the money and take all the upside; whereas if you save it yourself, you can keep that upside. In the linked post you assume a 0% return on savings.

I did run through a few scenarios with nonzero rates of return. The IUL doesn't come out ahead in expectation, but it seems to have been designed well enough that if you want certainty, it wins:

Scenario A: $320/month saved for 15 years at 7% grows to $100k in those 15 years. Then you're done. (Obviously that 7% rate of return comes with substantial risk, so you have a chance of not being at 100k at that instant; but you still have 5 years to solve the problem before your term runs out!) This has a high chance of solving the problem in 20 years instead of 60, and you still have the rest of your life for that investment to keep growing. That said, it's still a risky strategy and I haven't accounted for the cost of the term life premium.

Scenario B: $88/mo for life (your IUL quote). You will reach $100k at the 60-year mark as long as you average a 1.5% rate of return; at 2% you only need 54 years; at 3% it's 46 years. Again, a risky strategy.

IUL gives you a certainty of death benefit with a relatively low monthly premium. The cost is basically all your upside, which is substantial, but like you said, I think it's probably worth it for people who have the problems it solves.

Comment by lincolnquirk on #4.1: Types of life insurance · 2021-01-26T20:22:15.799Z · LW · GW

Great analysis!

I would strengthen the term+self-fund recommendation for readers of LW. You say it only makes sense if you "expect to be very wealthy"; however, it seems to me that it is pretty easy, over the course of 20 years or so, to plan to save up a few hundred thousand $ to self-fund after that point. If that doesn't sound easy then it is not so clear that cryonics is for you; and IUL isn't solving the problem because you still have to pay the money in expectation. It seems like IUL only makes sense if the term insurance gets expensive before you can conceive of a way to save the money on your own. I guess it also makes sense if you aren't conscientious about saving or making term payments. But it seems to me like you pay a lot for this convenience.

Comment by lincolnquirk on How much does it cost to design an app? · 2021-01-20T18:25:06.135Z · LW · GW

This is a hard question and software people will typically not want to be pinned-down on specifics without consulting with you extensively, because the depth of requirements for software projects vary dramatically. You're asking for very little functionality (which is great!) but the bulk of costs of software construction are not in the core functionality, they are in polish, bug-fixing and edge-case handling, which you included in your requirements ("simple, secure, and easy to use") but would need to be a lot more specific about, in order to get a result you'd be happy with. It's really hard to give these kinds of estimates without those conversations.

  1. To just satisfy the requirements, I could imagine doing the non-payment-processing version very cheaply using Typeform or another "survey builder" for the UI, and a simple backend that just pulls the results out of Typeform and sends notifications. I could imagine throwing a prototype for this together in a few days of time for someone like me (so less than a few thousand $) but it would probably not work well, be reliable, etc. at that level of polish. Also, few freelance developers of quality will take on a project like this at that price point, because they have "seen it all before" and know that the edge cases and polish are likely going to result in a 10x cost inflation at a minimum.

  2. Payment processing increases the cost a bunch because it adds new requirements for security, ease of understanding & debuggability, etc. You can often outsource the actual UI for it to e.g. Stripe Checkout though so it may not make a huge impact.

  3. I don't think you've given enough information to answer "what would be the best way to go about it?" For example it sounds like you need software help, but you might also need graphic design help, product design/UX help, etc. For software help I know that freelance developers will bid on your projects on various sites (I'm not familiar with which sites are currently considered reputable and I haven't done this myself so I don't know how hard it is to figure out which bidders are any good). But it's unlikely you'll produce a "simple, secure and easy to use" product without getting help in other domains as well. It is sometimes possible to convince people to work with you for free if they like your idea (and you).

Comment by lincolnquirk on The impact merge · 2021-01-13T14:30:36.045Z · LW · GW

Strong upvoted, because this post made me realize I myself am doing this "merge" and it seems like a useful distinction to draw that I haven't been thinking about enough!

The biggest fear I have about pushing too hard towards purchasing these things separately is addressed in your post: I agree that "your efforts to do good will be cut off from the energy the accomplishment desire provides — a deprivation that could be costly, especially given that cases like Bob’s above only make a difference to Bob’s attitudes, not his actions."

In some sense, I'd guess that a pretty sizable % of this community is attracted by the idea that one could do big things while also doing good things. Certainly that is a strong undercurrent in a lot of Eliezer's writing. And if we push too hard back against that, there might be something of value lost. So I guess I agree with the post and am similarly mystified by what to do about it :)

Comment by lincolnquirk on What currents of thought on LessWrong do you want to see distilled? · 2021-01-11T19:56:03.475Z · LW · GW

I have a sense that we could collate thought and interest on "how to live better at home". Setting up super-bright lighting, tips for finding friends, partners & raising kids, cohousing & coparenting, choosing places to move to en masse: it's about your existence at the place you spend most of your time, and co-existence with people you love so much that you live with them.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Gears vs Behavior · 2020-12-04T20:53:09.144Z · LW · GW

Looking back, this seems to have been quite influential on my communication in the past year. I find myself summoning a mental image of the first diagram very frequently, and using the phrase "gears-level understanding" much more often. Nominated.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Teacher's Password: The LessWrong Mystery Hunt Team · 2020-12-04T01:30:56.590Z · LW · GW

Oh exciting! I’ll probably join for this!

Comment by lincolnquirk on It’s not economically inefficient for a UBI to reduce recipient’s employment · 2020-11-22T18:24:16.523Z · LW · GW

if I am interpreting Zolmeister correctly, i think you are misunderstanding their point and/or are talking past each other.

If I get paid $100 to write software for a company, that company may earn far more than $100 from the software I write; the company then resells the software, creating a ton of wealth. The wealth creation happens through the work, not the macroeconomic details of how I spend the $100. Those macroeconomic details are the “coincidence” of which GP speaks.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Covid 11/12: The Winds of Winter · 2020-11-13T16:37:44.997Z · LW · GW

I don't have Personal enabled under Latest and thus I don't see the personal blog posts under "Latest". But I do see them under "Recent Discussion", maybe that is what ShardPhoenix is referring to? (In fact this is how I arrived here)

Comment by lincolnquirk on Where do (did?) stable, cooperative institutions come from? · 2020-11-04T12:11:57.467Z · LW · GW

I asked just the title of this post to someone near me, who first laughed and said “ha ha not possible,” and when I said “no, really”, they came back with “community”. I asked for more details and it went something like this:

Community is the everyday practice of negotiating a positive outcome with people who aren’t just like you. When you do this regularly with people around you, you learn that they are people and that they have your back. Think churches, block parties, school boards. When community is our primary source of human interaction, we build this muscle of cooperation-by-default because that’s the social expectation, and because successful cooperation has positive feedback cycles that produce immediate returns.

We suck at this today: our communities are online, national and personalized. There’s no longer a forcing function to be nice to / learn to communicate with our neighbors.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Why indoor lighting is hard to get right and how to fix it · 2020-10-28T17:57:42.333Z · LW · GW

See also Ben Kuhn: and me: (both of these are from about a year ago)

My update since my blog post is that I have a Yuji "high bay" luminaire, which I had linked to from my blog post but not tried last year. Now I can confirm that it is pretty bright, good color spectrum and easy to use -- I place it on top of a bookshelf facing towards the corner.

Comment by lincolnquirk on What is your electronic drawing set up? · 2020-10-14T10:50:01.339Z · LW · GW

I know you said android, but I use an iPad Pro and am quite happy with it. The biggest thing affecting drawing performance is pad-to-screen latency, and Apple has actual experts that have spent a lot of time on that problem at the OS and hardware level - I don’t think android is well set up to achieve anything similar because of OS/hardware disintegration.

Comment by lincolnquirk on The rationalist community's location problem · 2020-10-06T11:45:04.110Z · LW · GW

Huh, interesting. I'd like to hear more about your plans & vision, but I've put my interest in the spreadsheet.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Rationality and Climate Change · 2020-10-06T00:45:59.150Z · LW · GW

Regarding one’s ability to effect social change: It seems like the standard arguments about small-probability, high-impact paths apply. I think a lot of STEM types tend to default to shy away from policy change, not because of comparative advantage (which would often be a good reason) but because of some blind spot in the way technologists talk about how to get things done in society. I think for historical reasons (the way the rationality community has grown) we tend to be biased towards technical solutions and away from policy ones.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Rationality and Climate Change · 2020-10-05T12:13:59.013Z · LW · GW

My position is similar to that of 80000 hours: it seems like a super high impact cause, vying for the top with AI risk, pandemic risk, global poverty, and maybe 1 or 2 others. But is far more widely recognized and worked-on than those other causes. Enough so that it doesn’t seem like the marginal thing I can do is interesting compared to other problems I could work on.

My models for how to work on it if I did decide to work on it: 1) technology - we should have technology that solves the problem if widely enough deployed. I think we are basically there with nuclear and solar PV+energy storage, so I would probably only spend 10% or so of time getting up to speed on the technology before focusing on

  1. Policy - we need to convince people to deploy the technology. This seems bigger and harder than the technology one, because of two reasons: a) society’s nuclear blind spot and b) the short-term interests of oil companies and the like who are powerful opposition to any policy which would hurt them in the short run regardless of long term societal outcome.

I don’t have a clear policy agenda but it seems like some combination of carbon tax, investment in PV, and nuclear is the right way to go. I currently would expect that work on the nuclear blind spot would be the most leveraged thing. The reason we have a blind spot seems to be the work of environmentalists from the 70s. As long as we could get them to flip, that could propagate through society in a useful way.

Comment by lincolnquirk on The rationalist community's location problem · 2020-09-30T18:49:47.184Z · LW · GW

Oh great! I realize a lot of different people might have different ideas about what the vision is. Could you spend a few sentences distilling what exactly excites you about the idea?

Comment by lincolnquirk on The rationalist community's location problem · 2020-09-24T18:25:47.254Z · LW · GW

Ok, I've thought a lot about this but I don't have a strong pitch to make yet.

Here are my thoughts:

  • Cost of living seems really important in the long run! High cost of living eats up lifestyle slack really quickly, which constrains the sorts of occupations that one can have while being part of the community.
  • That said, there is a pretty substantial tradeoff between optimizing a place for the community (essentially relying on your social life being in-community members), and optimizing it for the surroundings. e.g., if you pick a place for low cost-of-living, you might expect nearly all your friends to be people who live in your community. Whereas if you pick a big city, you are probably picking it because you expect a rich social life outside the community.
  • As Vaniver wrote, it makes sense to pick places which are well suited to create a pocket neighborhood. Living in the same city as your friends is good, but living 2 doors down from them is way more awesome!
  • I know people talk about the weather as being important, but I am not fully sold on that needing to be a constraint. Humans are adaptable and most people should be able to adjust to bad seasonal weather pretty quickly. Seasonal mood disorders are a real thing though, and if we did go to a place with bad weather, I would definitely want to invest as a community into infrastructure that can help with this. I also am not willing to accept bad air quality in exchange for more temperate weather - e.g., when I lived in Senegal, the weather was gorgeous but the air quality was terrible. (That said, in the US there aren't many places with really bad air quality.)

One weird idea I am considering is the monastery life: explicitly try excluding the outside world, optimize the space only for the gated community, and see how it works. It's just an experiment, but if people are interested, let me know. (Inspiration from Neal Stephenson's Anathem :) )

Comment by lincolnquirk on The rationalist community's location problem · 2020-09-24T18:13:30.086Z · LW · GW

This seems absolutely right to me. I've been noodling on ideas in this space for a long time and it definitely seems like the right end-state for living long term is more like an archipelago / cluster than the group houses we usually see. I also don't know how to find places that are well suited to this sort of development.

But even without the support of a town, it should be possible, with enough planning/thoughtfulness, to purchase (over time) a high % of the properties within a given city block or cul-de-sac or apartment building or whatever. To me, this just seems like a chicken-and-egg coordination problem -- there are so many plausible cul-de-sacs you could buy, none will be perfect but any could work if there was already momentum, but there's not yet. (Also, most people are impatient and don't have the lifestyle slack to wait 2-5 years for a place to open up in their desired pocket neighborhood)

Comment by lincolnquirk on Open & Welcome Thread - September 2020 · 2020-09-17T16:34:19.644Z · LW · GW

Have you read ? Curious what you think. (Disclosure: I started the company that Ben works for, which does not have hard eng problems but does have a high potential for social impact)

Comment by lincolnquirk on A Scalable Urban Design and the Single Building City · 2020-07-27T02:04:29.477Z · LW · GW

Nice post. I’m excited - is there a place where people who want to work on this sort of thing / live there can coordinate?

Comment by lincolnquirk on If you are signed up for cryonics with life insurance, how much life insurance did you get and over what term? · 2020-07-22T12:22:56.441Z · LW · GW

$100k and $250k are standardized life insurance amounts which over-fund CI by a lot. I can get a $100k 10-year term life at $11/mo and a $250k one for $15/mo. I currently get $100k life insurance through my company so I just did that. Smaller than $100k doesn’t seem worth thinking about.

I do expect to pay out of pocket once I have saved enough money for the cost not to matter, because I want to stop dealing with the logistics of proof of insurance.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Maximizing impact at startup with high EA potential? · 2020-06-12T11:45:49.548Z · LW · GW

(Context: I’m an EA aligned startup founder. I wish my employees asked questions like this :) )

First and foremost, grow into a great employee and team member. This may sound self-serving, but it’s not: I think the employees who are individually great end up in thought leadership roles — I trust them more and thus give them a lot more leeway, and then those employees can start making their own decisions and expand the scope of what we do.

I suspect that what makes employees great is different in different companies, but there are certainly likely to be similarities: cultural resonance, individual effectiveness, and communication/cooperation skills.

Second, start thinking long term but be impatient in the short term. If you really like this company and want to grow within it, and think it can support you in your growth, then your marginal impact per hour of work is likely to increase by at least an order of magnitude over the next several years. There are lots of things you can do to accelerate this trend, and you should take those opportunities — but I tend to think that trust-building takes time. Try to avoid being marginalized, and make sure your work is seen. But (at least over the first few months to a couple years) you should avoid making many short-term tradeoffs which will delay the point where you reach maximum marginal impact in the long term.

Leadership training is highly underrated. If you’ve never done management/leadership training, you can get a lot from online resources (e.g. Manager Tools podcast and such); beyond that I think there’s still a lot of gains to be had from courses, individual coaches, etc.

Do weekly or monthly reviews where you step back and check whether things are on track for your career or personal impact. Share your goals with your manager and get them to buy into what you’re trying to achieve.

Stay away from stuff that will antagonize your company in the short term (“NDA chicken”, distractions from their short term goals for you during work hours). If recruiting / getting recruiting advice is an important part of your role, it should become obvious soon, at which point it will make sense to use 80k / job postings/ whatever.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Is a near-term, self-sustaining Mars colony impossible? · 2020-06-04T12:32:13.323Z · LW · GW

There’s a thing where entrepreneurs are optimistic. Sometimes ridiculously so. This is because entrepreneurship requires a lot of optimism to think that what you’re doing can work. But that optimism can lead you astray and cause you to work on things that are too hard.

Jess and Robin will never be entrepreneurs. They aren’t optimistic enough. But Elon may be over-optimistic. The sheer scope of the project makes it hard to guess accurately what the difficulties are going to be without getting pretty far into trying it and seeing where you get stuck.

And I’m just thinking about getting a Mars colony at all. I do think “self-sustaining” is a ridiculously high bar, much higher than simply having some people living on Mars. But how important is “self-sustaining” as a short-term goal? — if the colony works at all, there will be a path where the amount of Earth resources required to sustain it shrinks over time due to market forces.

Comment by lincolnquirk on What are your greatest one-shot life improvements? · 2020-05-16T23:42:19.133Z · LW · GW

Big if true!

Going to shower right now and try this (I needed a shower anyway). Will report back...

Edit: post shower, my feet feel tingly a little bit. My methodology was to rub my feet five times firmly with a wash cloth at the beginning and end of my shower. I do feel good about life right now, we’ll see how long that lasts. Results inconclusive.

Comment by lincolnquirk on Could someone please start a bright home lighting company? · 2020-05-13T10:48:45.637Z · LW · GW

Hey wow, neat company and I’m glad you posted about it here!

Unfortunately, I get the sense that your product is up in the Coelux range of pricing, because you don’t list the price. I think a lot of people here are going to immediately dismiss it as an option given that we can’t easily figure out how much it costs.

Your marketing is also aimed at businesses instead of homes. Especially given that my post was about home lighting, do you have anything you can share about home applications of your product?

(BTW, I remember reading an article in the 90s from a tech mag - like Wired or something - about, although I had no idea what you did, but the notable thing that stuck in my brain from that article was “why on earth would anyone name a company after a horrifically addictive drug?” I’d be curious if you know what article I’m talking about and whether you have a link to it!)

Comment by lincolnquirk on Why anything that can be for-profit, should be · 2020-04-29T21:20:05.705Z · LW · GW

Thank you for writing this! I've been harping on something along this axis for a long time to anyone who will listen to me. Now I have something to link them to, which explains this much better than I ever did :)