For people who want to follow our work closely, here is some more on our initial focus and priorities.
We are just getting started and we’d like to fund a lot of great projects quickly. So our primary goal for 2022 is to perform bold and decisive tests of highly scalable funding models. We think this is important for helping us make the most of our resources.
The initial strategies we’re testing are highly decentralized:
- The first strategy is to simply describe very clearly a broad range of projects we’d be excited to fund, and offer open applications for funding. We’re hoping this generates many exciting proposals for us to fund.
- The second strategy we’re testing is a regranting program. We hope this program will help us identify great grants that we would have missed, enable new people to launch exciting projects, and find and empower people who could be strong grantmakers.
- The third strategy we’re considering is offering large prizes for outputs we want to see. We hope to launch these later this year, though our approach and expectations here are less developed.
A fourth strategy we’d like to test is proactively recruiting founders for the projects that we’d like to see launched. This could well end up being our main focus for the year. Our ideas about how to pursue this are currently pretty early-stage, but we’re considering: organizing workshops, direct head-hunting, and incubating the projects in-house. Depending on how we approach this, it may be necessary to do some significant prioritization in order to decide where to start.
A few elaborations on our approach:
- We’re starting with highly decentralized approaches that seem like they can be tested quickly and seem like they can produce a lot of output with limited time investment from us, if they work. We also like the idea that these strategies give others opportunities to cover our blindspots.
- It’s important to us that we make it fast and easy for great projects to get funded. In addition to directly serving our mission, we think this will make our experiments more decisive. This may be challenging, and over this year we’ll keep iterating on our processes with that aim in mind.
- We don’t have dedicated program officers in any of our areas of interest, and we are keeping a broad focus for now. We’re making this decision in part because we think it will help with our learning. A major source of uncertainty we have is how many good project ideas we would find if we investigated these areas of interest more deeply. Before strongly selecting areas to specialize in, we like the idea of testing the waters.
We hope that after these tests are completed, we will have a strong sense of how well these funding models work. If they work well, we will continue or scale them. If bold experiments fail, we hope that will give us strong conviction that we should be trying something entirely different. If decentralized approaches fail, we’d also probably update in favor of more funder-led approaches to getting the projects we care about launched.