|May 20th, 2013|
|giving, earning_to_give [html]|
I have a question for people working in EA organizations, preferably those in high positions. If you had to pick one, would you say there's more a shortage of money or talent?Nick Beckstead's response was very good:
My background is that I'm on CEA's board of trustees, I was leading GWWC's research before Rob Wiblin was in that role, I worked for a couple months as an intern at GiveWell last year. I'm starting a new job at FHI in a couple of months. I'm familiar with CEA's finances and I've participated in their hiring process in the past.It sounds like if you're considering working for an organization like GiveWell or Giving What We Can and you can get things done without substantial external motivation, that's probably better than earning to give.
To elaborate on my comment, I'd say that a key thing that's missing is very good people who are self-directed enough to make progress on important problems without lots of managerial overhead. It's hard to have enough people like this, and I get more excited when I find more of them than when I find out that we have more money, at least for the time being. If you're talking about a smart person who is reliable but can't chart their own course and work on important problems that way, I feel more excited about getting money. I don't speak on behalf of GiveWell in any way, but my sense is that GiveWell has fairly limited room for more funding at this point, but could really additional employees, including some employees who would be less self-directed. 
Some people make arguments like "well, just spend extra money to find extra great people." But the trouble is that we are short on scalable methods of turning money into great people. That requires innovative strategies, and I think we need more great self-directed people to find and execute those.
Update 2013-05-28: Jonah Sinick weighs in.
 This goes along with what GiveWell posted in their self-evaluation.