What is this all about?
A large number of people are driven to move the needle on humanity's largest problems. Unfortunately, very few of them have life circumstances that allow them to really fulfill their potential. Many are forced into painful tradeoffs, in which keeping their day-to-day life running takes precedence over their broader goals.
Compounding this, communities of practice that could support and mentor such people have tended to form in cities with high living costs like San Fransisco and Oxford. Those who choose to live outside of the major hubs may have more flexibility and personal runway, but struggle to find intellectual peers and social support -- which are critical for growth and success.
The Accelerator Project aims to provide a low-cost environment, in which high-potential individuals can become more stable, productive, networked, and more capable of sustained and directed progress towards improving the world. We aim to both address the coordination problem (it makes more sense for a group of 50 people to live in a low cost country than for a single person to do the same), and to develop an intentional and evolving culture, in which effectively taking action to tackle important problems is the socially reinforced by peers and mentors.
What, exactly, will you offer?
A 3-6 month stay in the Accelerator, during which residents can focus on developing the foundations to make progress on the things they think are most important, while doing object level work in order to keep feedback loops going and flag issues as they build good habits.
- Removal of many of life's trivial inconveniences (shared meals, no commute, plenty of unplanned interaction).
- Social, emotional, and self-improvement support networks.
- Mentorship and meta-mentorship.
- Contact with others on similar life paths
How will this be funded?
Since we want to heavily modify the location (optimized living environments!) and drive long term marginal costs down, we intend to buy a location with room to expand, giving us high financial activation energy. However, several members of the founding team are putting forward significant amounts of money, the project has the interest of several notable philanthropists, and we expect to raise some money via crowdfunding, so we're hopeful that
Donations will be exchanged for rent tokens, which can be used to pay for the rent of people living at the accelerator (donations should not be considered an investment, exchange will be rate-limited, food/utility won't be coverable by tokens, and secondary markets for tokens may be not nonexistent or very shallow).
Longer term sources of income include residents doing remote work and people flowing through the accelerator self-funding or receiving scholarships from philanthropists.
Where will this be?
The current top contenders are in the Canary Islands, where several people are currently on the ground. Ireland and a few others still in the running. We've done basic research into lots of countries, and looked more closely at some of the more promising ones. The main criteria we've considered are cost (building, ongoing cost of living, flights from EU / US), safety (geopolitical, local, healthcare), convenience (visas, bureaucracy, languages), approximate proximity to existing hubs, and climate.
Where can I learn more about the project?
The Facebook group contains a good deal of discussion and logs from chat.
The missing step between Zero and Hero - Why this seems high-impact: EA has a surplus of high-potential people who want to help but don't have a good path to doing so.
A Whirlwind Tour - A tour of the accelerator set a year in.
Path to Acceleration - A sketch of how to get from here to there.
Arbital pages - More pages on Arbital.
Do you really think this will work?
We are aware of the scale of the challenge implied by trying to bring a diverse and intense group of people together for many months and have things go well. In order to succeed we will need both a carefully thought out plan informed by other groups, and an understanding that as a group we are learning and steering with every interaction. Despite this challenge, we have hope because the community this project is rooted in has a common goal, an uncommon focus on awareness of self and communication, and a demonstrated ability to intentionally develop culture with specific aims (e.g. truth-seeking discussion norms). We want to turn this creative potential, and the background data from every other intentional community project we can find, to the task of developing ways of interacting which are conducive to growing healthy, happy, productive, and awesome human beings.
tl;dr: Maybe, and it seems high value to try.
What's the timeline?
Eric is in the bay area until late April. He's hosting meetups and is available to talk (contact via facebook or email email@example.com)
Our current target for initial move-in is early 2018.
How can I get involved?
If you'd like to join the project, please take the survey and you’ll be added to the group chat.
There's lots of research to be done, ask in chat to see what's currently of interest. You could also apply for the June UK meetup, which will be a perfect opportunity to get to know other people working on the project, and figure out how you fit in.
Ask us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or in the chat