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PhilGoetz comments on SIAI - An Examination - Less Wrong

143 Post author: BrandonReinhart 02 May 2011 07:08AM

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Comment author: PhilGoetz 04 May 2011 10:11:30PM 7 points [-]

Michael Vassar isn't paying himself enough. $52K/yr is not much in either New York City or San Francisco. Or North Dakota, for that matter.

Comment author: Larks 04 May 2011 10:37:35PM 6 points [-]

This seems basically like a sub-problem of "SIAI doesn't have enough money", unless you think there's some other program that's being over-funded.

Comment author: thomblake 05 May 2011 02:50:17PM 2 points [-]

Coming from CT which is pretty expensive, programmer friends of mine who moved to SF have advised, "Don't take a job for less than $90k in SF, as it will feel like subsistence".

Comment author: LukeStebbing 05 May 2011 08:40:38AM 0 points [-]

$52k/yr is in line with Eliezer's salary if it's only covering one person instead of two, and judging from these comments, Eliezer's salary is reasonable.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 05 May 2011 04:44:39PM 1 point [-]

I'm confused by this in three ways. Unless I'm mistaken, in 2009

  • Eliezer was not married
  • Michael was married
  • Paying higher salaries to married than to single people is a questionable policy, and probably illegal
Comment author: LukeStebbing 05 May 2011 07:07:33PM 8 points [-]

SIAI seems to be paying the minimum amount that leaves each worker effective instead of scrambling to reduce expenses or find other sources of income. Presumably, SIAI has a maximum that it judges each worker to be worth, and Eliezer and Michael are both under their maximums. That leaves the question of where these salaries fall in that range.

I believe Michael and Eliezer are both being paid near their minimums because they know SIAI is financially constrained and very much want to see it succeed, and because their salaries seem consistent with at-cost living in the Bay Area.

I'm speculating on limited data, but the most likely explanation for the salary disparity is that Eliezer's minimum is higher, possibly because Michael's household has other sources of income. I don't think marriage factors into the question.

Comment author: jsalvatier 04 May 2011 11:26:41PM *  0 points [-]

I thought I read it was part-time; though I don't see that now.

Comment author: BrandonReinhart 04 May 2011 11:34:50PM *  1 point [-]

He is full time. According to the filings he reports 40 hours of work for the SIAI. (Form 990 2009, Part VII, Section A -- Page 7).

Comment author: PhilGoetz 05 May 2011 04:17:15PM 5 points [-]

From the fact that I can't talk to Michael on the phone for more than 10 minutes without another call coming in, I infer that he works more than 40 hours/week.

Comment author: katydee 05 May 2011 04:24:20PM 1 point [-]

I seem to recall someone saying that both Michael Vassar and Eliezer Yudkowsky basically worked 60-hour weeks.

Comment author: wedrifid 05 May 2011 04:00:20AM 0 points [-]

According to the filings he reports 40 hours of work for the SIAI.

I assume that is 40 hours of work per week.

Comment author: BrandonReinhart 05 May 2011 04:34:12AM 1 point [-]

Yes. 40 per week.